On my child’s first day of Kindergarten following the winter break, I was asked by a group of enthusiastic moms whether my daughter owned a cell phone or tablet. When I responded that she owned neither, one of the moms frowned upon me. Another began to explain how technology benefits children’s learning and urged me to buy one. Still others pitched in, and the conversation continued on, well after the children had marched to their respective classrooms. On my way home, I thought about this “maternal encounter” . As an early childhood researcher, I knew about the pervasiveness of new technologies in children’s lives. But as a mother of two young children, who is from a different generation, the question caught me completely off guard. I couldn’t help but wonder about the technological lives of my daughter and her friends. Did all children in her class have access to digital technologies? How much time did each child spend interacting with these devices on a daily basis? What did children get out of these experiences? And how did music feature in such technological encounters? These questions have been on my mind ever since.
This issue of Perspectives brings forward two articles by renowned European early childhood music educators, who have devoted a considerable amount of time to the study of digital technologies and early childhood music education. Dr. Susan Young, a leading early childhood music educator in the UK, invites us to imagine the musical future(s) of children. Having spent several years in early childhood settings in the capacity of educator and researcher, Dr. Young urges music educators to consider digitization as a central feature of contemporary musical childhoods, along with diversity and disparity. Her article raises many important questions that will likely generate much debate. I would be thrilled to receive some commentaries and responses to her thought-provoking piece.
The second article explores the MIROR (Musical Interaction Relying on Reflection) research project, which is being carried out by a large team of European researchers from a wide range of areas of expertise. Led by Dr. Anna Rita Addessi from the University of Bologna, Italy, this project is partially funded by the European Community, and has, as its main goal, the development of an innovative adaptive system for music learning in early childhood music education. Dr. Addessi and her team shed light on the roles of digital technologies in early music learning, with clear implications for practice. Readers are invited to learn more by visiting their website and contacting their research team.
In Research Review, Dr. Diana Dansereau examines a recent, longitudinal study on classroom music experiences of elementary students. Interestingly, study findings revealed much disparity in children’s classroom musical experiences, with diversity playing important roles. In Research within Reach, Dr. Angela Barker reviews three studies that speak to issues of diversity, digitization and disparity. I truly hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Perspectives and look forward to receiving your submissions in the near future.