The Family Music Hub – early childhood practitioners set to benefit from an exciting new initiative

Press release: May 2022

Early Education and Early Childhood Music practitioners Katie Neilson, Rosie Adediran and Nicola Burke are pleased to announce they have been awarded funding to develop a brand new initiative – The Family Music Hub.  This new initiative seeks to explore existing early childhood music (ECM) practice and collaboratively develop new ways of working musically with families and their young children.  This project is backed by Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

The ECM sector has grown rapidly in the past two decades, with music activities incorporated into practice in family centres, libraries, and toddler groups and also within private music classes and franchises. ECM practitioners include early years practitioners, volunteers, parents, library staff, and music specialists. The majority of practitioners are untrained and unsupported, and practice is often based on observation of peers, TV/YouTube, assumptions and guesswork. Furthermore, practice does not typically recognise children’s and families’ musical identities and heritage, or the rich musical worlds young children often enjoy at home.

The team’s vision is that The Family Music Hub will become the place to go for support for anyone working musically with families, enabling practitioners to offer families high quality music-making experiences. The aim is to support the diverse workforce of volunteers, practitioners, librarians, teachers and musicians who work with families with young children with resources and training, and to develop a community of support. The team’s approach supports practitioners to recognise the vital role of parents/carers in their young children’s musical development, heritage and musical identities.

Early Education’s Chief Executive, Beatrice Merrick, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Katie, Rosie and Nicola on this innovative project which will support the many different practitioners engaging in musical activities with young children.  Early Education is strongly committed to encouraging partnership with families and recognition of their diverse backgrounds and cultures, so the project fits well with our values.  We’re grateful to Youth Music for the chance to undertake this work, which will lay the groundwork for an important new resource for music in the early years.”

The funding will enable strategic development of The Family Music Hub, involving action research with practitioners, and organisational and vision development. Ultimately, the team believe The Family Music Hub will make a real difference to the musical lives of young children and their parents/carers from all walks of life, across the whole country.  

Project Outcomes:

1. Early Childhood practitioners develop a democratic and inclusive model of Early Childhood family music making practice.

2. The Family Music Hub initiative and strategy is developed. 

Contact for further enquiries

For further information please contact Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive, Early Education (07712 398672) or beatrice@early-education.org.uk  Anyone wanting to find out more information can make contact with The Family Music hub team at thefamilymusichub@gmail.com  

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Early Education

Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) is the leading independent national charity for early years practitioners and parents, campaigning for the right of all children to education of the highest quality.  Founded in 1923, it has members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and provides a national voice on early childhood education and care of young children from birth to eight.  The organisation supports the professional development of practitioners through training and resources. 

Early Education is registered as a charity in England and Wales (Registered Number 313082) and Scotland (Registered Number SC039472).

2. The Family Music Hub Team

Katie Neilson is a Music teacher with considerable experience in Early Childhood Music Education and Research.  In 2020, she completed her MA with CREC in which she explored musical parenting and new models of practice for family music classes. Katie has subsequently presented research at RiME 2021 and EUNet MERYC 2022.  Katie runs her own independent Early Childhood Music practice, Little Bees, but also works nationally as a freelance practitioner training and mentoring EY and Primary school teachers. Katie has worked with Voices Foundation since 2008 and, in 2016, Katie wrote their award winning book Inside Music: Early Years which is used extensively across the country.

Rosie Adediran is an early years and family music practitioner, singer and songwriter. She loves to create new music with family groups and under 3’s, with a special interest in working in perinatal mental health. She founded award-winning London Rhymes in 2015, an initiative that involves collaborating with families to create new songs and rhymes. She was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Ideas and Pioneers fund in 2019, conducting research into the state of music provision across the UK for families with under 3’s and is passionate about the role that music can play in the lives of families with young children.

Nicola Burke is an author, strategic leader, researcher and consultant. She is currently the strategic leader of large workforce development initiatives taking place across Leicestershire and Birmingham, involving a range of arts and music organisations and Early Childhood services. She created the award-winning Tune into Listening free online resource and in 2018 wrote Musical Development Matters in the Early Years, a free downloadable resource to complement the EYFS guidance material, Development Matters in the EYFS.  Nicola works nationally and internationally to strategically support organisations to develop their Early Childhood music programmes and initiatives.

3. About Youth Music

We believe that every young person should have the chance to change their life through music. Yet our research shows that many can’t because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through. Our insights, influence and investment in grassroots organisations and to young people themselves means that more 0–25-year-olds from can make, learn and earn in music. Youth Music is a national charity funded thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors.