Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Musical parenting: An ethnographic account of musical interactions of parents and young children
by Gibson, Rachel E., Ph.D., University of Washington, 2009, 209; 3377340
Abstract (Summary)

In this ethnographic study, the musical parenting of young children from infancy to age four was examined. The community under study consisted of families in residence at a university-owned and operated apartment complex, where at least one parent was enrolled in graduate studies. The study examined how parents created musical environments for their children and the factors that shaped musical parenting practices. Of interest were singing interactions, musical resources in the home, music gatherings within the complex, and child-oriented concerts and musical enrichments in the community at large.

Fieldwork techniques were employed over a period of nine months, and data were gathered through observations, interviews, surveys, and analysis of material culture. Fifty parents participated in the surveys, and twelve parents participated in in-person interviews. From this sample, six families were featured for gaining greater detail of the intimate musical interactions that happen in the home.

Within the university apartment complex, mothers and fathers reported and were observed to value singing as a constant in their interactions with their young children. There existed a common body of songs that parents drew from, many emanating from their own childhoods. Categories of songs within the families included lullabies, play songs, (songs with associated playful activities that include actions expressive of the lyrics and game-like qualities), religious songs, family songs (traditional songs transmitted and preserved by parents, and with which families identified as “their music”), and “made-up” songs. Parents sang spontaneously to their children, or repeated songs they had earlier created, as parenting tools for amusing their young children and teaching them daily routines and basic skills. Musical resources such as instruments, musical toys and books, and the mediated music of CDs, DVDs, and the internet, contributed to the musical environments of the families studied. Factors such as gender, education, religion, and parents' own memories of their childhoods defined the ways in which parents of the residential community musically raised their children. Questions arose as whether the values of university student families who musically enculturate young children are shared by parents of other lifestyles and socioeconomic circumstances.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Campbell, Patricia Shehan
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Music, Music education, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Early childhood music, Enculturation, Family repertoire, Musical parenting, Musical toys, Parent-child interactions, Singing interactions
Publication Number: 3377340
ISBN: 978-1-109-39582-2
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