Introducing the International Journal of Music in Early Childhood
Diana R. Dansereau
ECMMA Director of Publications
Membership in ECMMA has always included a publication as a member benefit. In the early days when ECMMA was the Kindermusik Teachers Association (1986-1994), members received a publication/newsletter called The Path. When the Kindermusik Teachers Association became the Early Childhood Music Association (later to become ECMMA) this publication was called theECMMA News. ECMMA News was a quarterly newsletter which provided members with a network of communication, support, and information.
In 1994 ECMMA members began receiving Early Childhood Connections: Journal of Music and Movement-Based Learning, published by the Foundation for Music-Based Learning. This journal contained research studies, book reviews, and research to practice articles.
Early Childhood Connectionsceased publication in 2004 and the ECMMA News became Perspectives. Perspectives, under the dedicated leadership of Jan Boner, continued the focus of Early Childhood Connections by publishing articles on current research in the early childhood music & movement arena, along with book reviews, pedagogical information, and association news. Under the leadership of editors, Suzanne Burton, Angela Barker, and Beatriz Ilari, Perspectives evolved into the double-blind, peer-reviewed, research-to-practice journal that we read today. Along the way we got ISBN numbers, an international review board, and the more specific title Perspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association to distinguish our publication from the dozen or so other journals titled Perspectives.
Our publication is an important manifestation of ECMMA’s mission statement in providing resources and professional development to support early childhood music practitioners. Perspectivesis unique in that it is the only international, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the field of early childhood music and movement; however, since the inception of The Path 30 or so years ago, ECMMA’s publication has only been available to ECMMA members. There are problems with producing a journal that is only available to a relatively small number of people. First, navigating the finances associated with self-publication and producing a high-quality publication with limited resources is challenging. Second, because the journal does not reach a broad audience, it cannot have an impact factor. Many people who would typically write for our journal – such as those in higher education – work under a professional imperative to publish in high-impact journals. Consequently, we cannot attract as wide a pool as authors as we would like and as our readers deserve. But, perhaps most importantly, the content and ideas contained within Perspectives cannot reach a broader readership, and we are missing a crucial opportunity to broadcast our voices, advocate for quality musical experiences in early childhood, shape the discourse in our field, and spread the good work and ideas contained in our publication to a much wider audience who could benefit from the content. As the saying goes, ‘a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for’ - and limited accessibility to ideas is not what journals are built for.
In 2012, we began to seek a publisher for Perspectives. In 2013, based on the recommendation of one publishing house that we approached, ECMMA entered into partnership with EBSCOhost – an indexing and database service that allows Perspectives articles to be searchable online, and libraries could now subscribe to Perspectives by purchasing EBSCO’s Education Source Collection. In addition to our membership, our publication began to be read internationally. In 2015-2016, for example, we saw our content was accessed over 1,600 times by readers in 30 countries - a 40% growth from the previous year. This was positive growth; however, the EBSCO package in which Perspectives is featured is expensive for libraries, and we knew we could do even better.
In May of 2015, we approached Intellect Publishers about Perspectives. Intellect, is a UK-based independent academic publisher in the arts and humanities, that aims to provide a “space for widening critical debate in new and emerging subjects” (https://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/page/index,name=about/). They position themselves as different from other publishers in that they campaign for the author rather than producing a book or journal to fill a gap in the market.
We thought that Intellect’s interest in niche publications, especially within music, and its commitment to innovative ideas – might be a good fit for ECMMA.
Perspectives Editor, Beatriz Ilari, and I began the long process of proposing a new journal to Intellect and formulating an agreement. In September of 2015, Intellect asked that we guest edit an issue of one of their existing journals to allow them to gauge our work, the quality of authors we might attract, and the response to content on early childhood. The process of creating the guest issue took 20 months, and in October of 2017, Intellect published a special issue of the International Journal of Community Music on early childhood music. The issue features 8 content articles contributed by authors from Israel, UK, Australia, USA, Greece, Kenya, Germany, and the Czech Republic. It also contains an editorial, a book review, and a film review.
Happily, we received an offer of partnership from Intellect in December, 2017 and the ECMMA Board passed a motion to accept the agreement with Intellect.
This is the final issue of Perspectives, before Perspectives will become the International Journal of Music in Early Childhood (IJMEC). This title change allows us to better position the journal as the flagship publication for our field. It also reflects the high-quality content of the journal and improves our standing in internet search engines. The first issue of IJMEC will be published in June of 2019.
The International Journal of Music in Early Childhood will serve as an interdisciplinary forum directed at the study of music in early childhood (pre-birth to age 8). It will be published twice per year and will welcome contributions from fields such as music education, music therapy, community music, psychology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology, childhood studies, and others. Each issue of IJMEC will contain 6-8 feature articles which will include original research reports, best practice papers, spotlights on different programs from around the world, and literature reviews as well as book/media reviews.
The aims of the International Journal of Music in Early Childhood (IJMEC) are to:
- Improve the lives of young children through music by providing a source of professional development to those committed to this cause.
- Encourage dialogue regarding the conceptualization of childhood and music’s role in the life of the young child.
- Promote inter- and trans-disciplinary ideas around music in early childhood.
- Disseminate models of practice and the theories and research underpinning those practices.
- Reveal and reflect upon views and practices in early childhood music from different regions and cultures.
All ECMMA members will:
- Receive access to IJMEC as a member benefit.
- Have the option of receiving hard copies of the journal.
- Be able to access all past issues of Perspectives as well as IJMEC.
- Gain greater insights from a much wider range of authors who have new ideas and practices to share.
- Feel connected to early childhood music on a global level.
- Be proud of our organization for holding the only journal dedicated to early childhood music and movement!
Additionally, we will unlock the potential that comes when partnering with a publishing house. We have full publishing and production support from Intellect, access to their online submission platform, and we will benefit from their impressive marketing and advertising processes that will make institutional subscriptions to IJMEC available to libraries, as well as Intellect’s extensive distribution network. IJMEC is poised to reach a vast spectrum of individuals and institutions, including practitioners, students, academics and affiliated organizations in over 50 countries.
The journal will be led by a team of phenomenal editors which includes:
- Associate Editor for the Americas- Beatriz Ilari, University of Southern California, USA
- Associate Editor for Europe and the Middle East - Luc Nijs, Ghent University, Belgium
- Associate Editor for Australia and Asia- Margaret Barrett, University of Queensland, Australia
- Associate Editor for Africa- Elizabeth Andang’o, Kenyatta University, Kenya
- Reviews Editor- Claudia Gluschankof, Levinsky College of Education, Israel
- Online Editor- Kerry Renzoni, SUNY Buffalo State, USA
We have also formed an editorial board which currently has 21 members representing 13 countries.
One of the first tasks of the leadership team was to create – with Intellect – the cover art of the journal. The artwork had to be consistent with Intellect’s journal look which typically includes one picture representative of the journal’s topic. This proved to be an incredibly difficult task. How do you represent music in the lives of children from pre-birth to age 8 in a single picture? We elected instead to present a collage of photos that we hope shows children of different ages, races, and genders in various settings (schools, homes), contexts (informal engagement versus formal music lessons), children making music with adults and without adults, alone and in groups, outdoors and indoors, with parents – including dads – and without. We wanted to show children being active and moving. And at the center, we chose to place a child-created image of what music is like in her life – a reminder that at the heart and center of this journal is always the expression and musicianship of children.
We are dedicated to creating an ethos for this journal that reflects a commitment to developing our community and profession. We hope to include authors from underrepresented parts of the world and parts of our profession, and we will provide editorial support to any author who may be less comfortable writing in English than in their language of origin.
This is an exciting new chapter in ECMMA’s history and an amazing opportunity to create an international community of people concerned with improving the lives of young children through music.
On behalf of ECMMA, I would like to thank all who have worked on Perspectives over the years, including the editors, members of the editorial committee, members of the peer review board, ECMMA board members and contributing authors. And, I extend a warm invitation to you – our readers – to continue this journey with us by reading, supporting, and sharing news about the International Journal of Music in Early Childhood.