Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


School of Music


Music Education

First Advisor

Wendy H Valerio


With intent of improving music acquisition understanding, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the nature ofjoint music attentionbetween toddlers and myself, an early childhood music teacher. Guiding research questions were (a) How do toddlers and I, a music teacher, exhibit signs of joint music attention when socially interacting using a music curriculum based on Gordon's music learning theory, (b) What teacher-initiated music activities encourage joint music attention between toddlers and a music teacher, (c) What toddler-initiated music activities encourage joint music attention between toddlers and a music teacher, (d) What music acquisition skills are exhibited by toddlers during joint music attention, and (e) What teacher-utilized materials or strategies encourage joint music attention?

Four adult participant observers and two music specialists provided observational data regarding music play sessions including nine toddlers and myself. To develop an initial codebook for analyzing the data, I synthesized Gordon's (2003) music learning theory, Vygotsky's (1930/1978, 1934/1986) sociocultural learning theories, and Bruner's (1995) joint attention theories. I revised the initial codes for applicability to joint music attention and identified three cultural domains of joint music attention: (a)shared music focus, (b)shared music interaction, and (c)shared music understanding.

I analyzed the data for emergent themes. Those themes included: (a) physical proximity influenced joint music attention, (b) toddlers and I each initiated reciprocal

music-making, (c) a social and music-making history was necessary for joint music attention, (d) purposeful silences encouraged joint music attention, (e) objects were useful for achieving joint music attention, and (f) play and playfulness encouraged joint music attention. Additionally, I provided rich descriptions of joint music attention via vignettes.

Early childhood music teachers may encourage joint music attention between young children and themselves. With increased occurrences of joint music attention, early childhood music teachers may enhance young children's acquisition of music skills.