The Oxford Dictionary online defines observation as “(1) the action or process of closely observing or monitoring something or someone; and (2) a statement based on something one has seen, heard, or noticed.” To observe is, therefore, to zone in (or, as I prefer to call it, “tune in”) to the people and the world around us through our senses. Teachers are particularly skilled in the art of observation. With their enlightened eyes, ears and hearts, these amazing professionals learn much about children’s lives—in and out of music—and about the best ways to work with them. Through meticulous observations of the children they teach, they also learn much about themselves; their beliefs, values, strengths and points for improvement.
This number of Perspectives is dedicated to the art of observing and learning from young children as they engage with music in multiple ways. In the first article, Alicia Mueller discusses an action research project that aimed at exploring how children develop melodic perception through movement-based instruction. In the next article, Catherine Ming Tu describes a study in which three children from the same family interacted with an iPad application that was musically rich. In Research Review, Diana Dansereau offers a critique of a study on uses of music with young children in care centers in Quebec, Canada. Taken together, these works lend support to the importance of observation in early childhood music education settings.
I would like to invite you to reflect on your own observations of children in music, and consider sharing them with ECMMA members at our forthcoming meeting. The call for submissions to our 2018 International Convention “Watch, Listen, Play, Create” in Buffalo, NY June 24-27 is included in this issue.
Enjoy your reading.