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Music and Deafness Research



Click the thumbnail above to view the Music to Young Ears Report online or download from the link below


Music4U carried out a research project focused on music making with deaf children under five. For the purposes of this report, the term 'deaf', as defined by the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS), refers to a child who is partially or wholly lacking hearing, either from birth or due to disease or trauma.

Started in September 2012, the research has been examining current levels of provision for young deaf children across the Music4U region and identifying examples of national and regional best practice. The project also seeks a better understanding of the benefits of musical engagement for deaf children and some of the new and emerging trends in provision, especially those that are technology-based and that are being developed in the academic sphere.

At the outset, Music4U identified two key outputs for the project: a practical event and a formal report, both of which would share learning and best practice beyond the partnership with wider audiences. The event took the form of a unique national conference which was hosted by the NCEM on 8 May 2013 during Deaf Awareness Week. For more information about the conference click here

The report, which can be downloaded above, provides an overview of the national and regional contexts for early years music provision and education, and identifies some of the issues deaf children and their families face when it comes to accessing music, health and education services. It also provides examples of national and regional best practice and an indication of musical provision currently available within the region. In addition, the report surveys recent academic and grey literature in order to better understand how deaf children can experience and benefit from music.

A set of recommendations for how Music4U and its partners can build on the research and help develop and deliver musical opportunities for young deaf children within the region has been put forward in the report. In the main, these recommendations advocate raising awareness about the value of music for deaf children, partnership working and active consultation with leaders in the field, the promotion of high quality training, a pilot project within the region, and the development of learning resources and a signposting service offered through the Music4U website.

The research is based on academic enquiry, observations and interviews with practitioners and professionals working in music, health and education. 'Music and deafness' is an under-researched area of music provision. For this reason, the report should be of interest to readers within and beyond Music4U's boundaries. The research endeavours to help its readers consider how music provision for deaf children may be developed, delivered and evaluated to best effect in their local area. Some of the key beneficiaries may include parents and carers of deaf children; arts development officers; music education hubs; music educators and community musicians (including students); delivery organisations, especially those focused on early years music and those catering to special needs; and early years practitioners (e.g. within local authorities and the NHS)

Music4U gratefully acknowledges the funding from Youth Music, which has enabled this research to be carried out and shared with wider audiences. Music4U thanks all of the individuals and organisations who supported the development of the report with their ideas, knowledge and experiences, and all those who participated in the conference and helped to make it a ground-breaking event.

To view the press release, click here