Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


School of Music


Music Education

First Advisor

Wendy Valerio


With the intent of improving early childhood music development understanding, the purpose of this research was to examine young children’s music vocalizations. The guiding research question was: When a music teacher implemented purposeful silences while performing a song and a rhythm chant, what techniques encouraged vocalizations made by 2-year-old children as observed by music teachers and classroom teachers? I implemented a qualitative design utilizing participant observation techniques to investigate the research purpose and question of this study. Four teachers served as a panel of experts to provide observational data. I video recorded myself teaching music activities from Music Play (Valerio, Reynolds, Taggart, Bolton, & Gordon, 1998) to a class of 12 two-year-old children. I used purposeful silences during the criterion song “Ring the Bells” and its corresponding tonal patterns and the criterion rhythm chant “Rolling” and its corresponding rhythm patterns (Valerio, et al., 1998). I adapted cultural domains and taxonomies regarding instructional silences and vocalizations from Young Children’s Responses to Purposeful Silences During Music Activities (Willing, 2009). Then, I developed a codebook based on the cultural domains and taxonomies. After creating cultural domains, taxonomies, and coding the data, two themes emerged: (a) modeling instructional silences and vocalizations may have encouraged vocalizations from children, and (b) using interactive, imaginative play and props helped teachers elicit children’s vocalizations. I created a componential analysis to compare three teachers’ observations of children’s vocalizations to instructional silences and found more similarities than differences in the vocalizations that a music teacher and two classroom teachers noticed. Classroom teachers may assist music teachers in encouraging and interpreting music vocalizations from children. Early childhood music teachers should continue to build alliances with classroom teachers as they interpret and encourage young children’s vocalizations with regard to musical development. Together they should use interactive music making techniques, such as instructional silences, vocal modeling, imaginative play, and props to support children’s musical development.


© 2015, Kathryn Ward Reardon