Guided Music Play between 2-Year-Old Children and a Music Play Facilitator: A Case Study
With the intention of increasing social music interaction understanding, the purpose of this study was to investigate guided music play between 2-year-old children and a music play facilitator. The guiding research questions were (a) What play behaviors and roles emerged when the 2-year-old children and I, a music play facilitator, engaged in guided music play? (b) What music emerged when the 2-year-old children and I, a music play facilitator, engaged in guided music play?
I purposefully sampled six 2-year-old participants and their two classroom teachers and a music play assistant as passive participant observers, as well as an early childhood music development specialist as nonparticipant observer. I participated in this study as a complete participant observer. I facilitated five 20-minute music engagement sessions based on the tenets of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children (2013) and using Music Play: The Early Childhood Music Curriculum Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers (Valerio et al., 1998). I gathered data from the video-recorded music engagement sessions, music engagement plans, written observations and reflections, and audio-recorded think-aloud interviews. I transcribed all data for subsequent analysis. I coded the data and created a taxonomic analysis to organize cultural domains.
Three themes emerged. The children and I fluidly adopted the roles of observer, initiator, sustainer, and modifier to engage in social music interaction during guided music play; the children and I used pretend play scenarios and playful activities to initiate, sustain, and modify social music interaction during guided music play; and the children and I used speech, song, rhythm chant, and movement to initiate, sustain, and modify social music interaction during guided music play. I provide preliminary definitions and thick, rich descriptions of the roles and behaviors children and I adopted during guided music play. Implications with regard to social music interaction, music play facilitators, and early childhood music development specialists, as well as recommendations for future research, are discussed.