Type, function and musical features of preschool children's spontaneous songs

Peter Whiteman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reports aspects of a 3-year study of the singing of eight pre-schoolers. Monthly video recordings were made of the children's spontaneous singing during play. After transcription, these 443 songs and play episodes were coded for demographic, musical, and social aspects; the resultant dataset transferred to a qualitative software package (NUD-IST) for analysis and interpretation. Results exhibit some congruence with prior studies, especially those for which the social context of music making was considered important. The children used songs for specific purposes, but individual patterns of musical development were distinctly different. Findings expand previous developmentally based investigations by showing that conceptions based on a unidirectional model of musical development, closely linked to age, need to be refined to consider the diversity of social contexts and generative processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch perspectives
Subtitle of host publicationthought and practice in music education
EditorsLinda K. Thompson, Mark Robin Campbell
Place of PublicationCharlotte, NC
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781607520894
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameAdvances in music education research
PublisherInformation Age Publishing

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  • Cite this

    Whiteman, P. (2009). Type, function and musical features of preschool children's spontaneous songs. In L. K. Thompson, & M. R. Campbell (Eds.), Research perspectives: thought and practice in music education (pp. 37-62). (Advances in music education research). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.