Lecture - Susan Young [Roehampton University, London] - If I Mention ‘Early Childhood Music’ in this Title, Who Will It Interest?
From long experience I know that children are often of not much interest to music students and academics whatever their background discipline, and that the younger the children, the less interesting they are likely to be. This low status and consequent neglect accorded to young children is a legacy of westernised perspectives which construct children as innocent, close to nature, immature and irrational. The scholarly study of musical childhoods as a historically placed and culturally constructed phenomenon is a relatively new area within academia. This area is notably interdisciplinary in its approach and combines elements from several theoretical sources, particularly from anthropology, sociology and socio-cultural theory.
In this talk I will challenge the romantic, the developmentalist and now, more recently, neuroscientific constructions of young children as musical and seek to replace these with images of musical childhoods built upon real-world examples of children’s musicality and musical activity. I will illustrate my talk with examples from my own wide-ranging research which includes studies of spontaneous music-making among young children, research into everyday musical activity of children around the world, and an interest in the influence of new technologies on young children’s musical activity.
Susan Young studied piano and musicology at the Royal College of Music, London, graduating with the prize for the most outstanding all-round student of her year. She was awarded a scholarship to study Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Switzerland and then trained as a secondary music teacher at the Institute of Education, London. Over several years she taught children of various ages in different types of schooling, including a specialist music school and general primary practice. She was then appointed to the music education faculty of Roehampton University, completing a PhD in the music-making of nursery age children. Later she joined Exeter University leading a childhood studies programme and initiating various research projects, including an EU funded project in music technology. On retirement she returned to university to study anthropology at Bristol, writing a thesis on Somali-born mothers now resident in Bristol and teaching voluntarily at the University of Hargeisa, Somaliland. She has written several books, and numerous articles and chapters and is frequently invited to speak to international and national audiences.
Free. Organised by FUAIM