Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type



School of Music

Director of Thesis

Wendy Valerio

Second Reader

Gregory Springer


The purpose of this research was to examine the music play activities performed by a mother Dr. Smith, and her children, John (age 3) and Pam (age 6). The guiding research questions were (a) What types of music play activities did Dr. Smith and her children perform when they were not in music play classes?; (b) How did Dr. Smith describe those activities?; (c) What were Dr. Smith’s observations of her children’s music development and learning?; (d) How did Dr. Smith use and adapt music play activities learned in class for her children at home or elsewhere?; (e) How did Kat Arrasmith and Julia Beck, music play teachers of Dr. Smith’s children, describe and interpret the music play activities Dr. Smith and her children performed at home or elsewhere?; and (f) What recommendations does Dr. Smith have for parents of young children who want to engage their children in music at home or elsewhere? The following three themes emerged from think-aloud interview transcript analysis: (a) John’s music play at home included defiance; (b) Dr. Smith was a musical nurturer at home, and (3) Pam’s music play at home included leadership. Though John’s music play seemed defiant, it was often in the meter and the tempo of the music play activity in which he and his mom were in engaged. Dr. Smith was a musical nurturer in that she consistently provided positive feedback or praise to her children’s music making activities. She guided the children without trying to control the play. Pam executed her understanding of the social rules of the music play activities and was a leader by directing the playful activity by almost acting like a parent.

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