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DMU to support new citywide music network for children

Researchers from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are supporting a new citywide network to use music to support children’s development.

The Spark Arts for Children has been awarded £95,390 to launch the new Early Years Music Network.

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It will work with partners including DMU, Philharmonia Orchestra, Leicester City Council, the Mighty Creatives and Leicester-Shire Music Education Hub to deliver the programme.

Musicians and early years practitioners will be recruited to be ‘music champions’ to promote the role music plays in the development of children aged 0-4 years.

DMU’s Talent 25 programme works with babies and young children across Leicester to explore the effect regular art and creativity has on their learning.

Kay Hardiman, Director, Talent 25 added “Talent 25 is looking forward to being part of this exciting programme. The families who are part of our research study have told us how much they and their babies have enjoyed music sessions and would like more, particularly music and stories from different cultures.

“This project gives families an opportunity to work collaboratively with great musicians and expert early years practitioners, helping more children have really special musical experiences in their early lives.”

Across the UK nearly a third of children are not ‘school ready’ by the time they reach five, because they have not developed the necessary skills and behaviours.

This can have long term impact on a child, affecting future levels in reading, writing and maths.

Music can support children to learn and develop the necessary skills. In 2019, The Spark’s Tiny Sparks music project recorded 98% of participating children showed an improvement in their communication and language development on the register of Stages of Confident Speaking.

Liza Foster, The Spark Early Years Programme Manager, said “Music is a vital part of the learning of under 5s, supporting communication and language as well as personal, social and emotional development. Musical play experiences encourage the best early learning and ensure that children flourish. I strongly believe this programme will have a long lasting impact on Leicester/shire’s children and families.”

To champion learning through music the network will provide training and networking for both professional musicians and early years practitioners. The programme will partner 10 professional musicians - including 2 from the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Emerging Artist’s programme, with early years professionals working with pre-school children in nurseries, schools and libraries.

A programme of music workshops for under 5s will take place across the city and county between February-June 2022.

The partners working together to ensure the children under 5 who need music the most in their lives include The Spark Arts for Children, Leicester-Shire Music Education Hub, Leicester City  Council Neighbourhood Services, Leicester City Council Early Help Services, Talent25/DMU, Philharmonia Orchestra, The City Classroom and The Mighty Creatives.

This new network will give musicians and early years practitioners the opportunity to meet and share experiences and learning. Anyone interested in hearing more should contact Liza Foster at The Spark

Posted on Monday 19th October 2020

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