Why music is important in working with young deaf children

A new conference will explore how children under five with hearing loss can enjoy and benefit from music.

The Music to Young Ears conference, which has been organised during Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May 2013), is the culmination of a music and hearing research project, which has looked at the provision of music opportunities for deaf children under five years old in York, the east Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, and Lincolnshire.

It is aimed at people who work in the early years sector, early years music provision and with deaf children under the age of five. Parents and carers of deaf children as well as students studying music, community music and music technology may also find it beneficial.

The conference will explore some of the ways professionals and practitioners can engage deaf children in music effectively and provide delegates with inspiration and information about why it is important to do so.

Douglas Lonie, research and evaluation manager for Youth Music, said, ‘There is an increasing evidence base demonstrating the importance of music making for young children, including the development of communication, language and motor skills. Children who are deaf deserve the same opportunities to develop in, and through music as all children and we have an obligation to develop our understanding and practice in this area. This research provides a fantastic opportunity to do just that.’

The conference is led by Music4U, a new music partnership in the area and is led by the National Centre for Early Music.

It features a range of guest speakers including:

  • Professor David Howard, head of the Department of Electronics, University of York, who will talk about how to make music electronically with early years;
    Dr Paul Whittaker, artistic director of music and the deaf, who will speak about the importance of music and singing for deaf children;
  • Bryony Parkes, arts and leisure officer at the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), who will share how they are helping arts and music providers to integrate deaf children into mainstream provision;
  • Danny Lane, from Music and the Deaf, who will lead an audience session to demonstrate how early years practitioners and musicians can engage deaf children with music and:
  • Sean Chandler, (pictured), a deaf trumpeter and member of Goldie’s Band, who will talk about what music has bought to his life and will also give a short performance.

Delma Tomlin, director of Music4U, said, ‘Music4U is committed to extending expertise, knowledge and skills, increase awareness about the value of high-quality music opportunities for young children and sharing learning and best practice. This conference enables us to do just that, because it will offer unique perspectives from key figures from the music community and from leading organisations for people with hearing loss.

It will also be an opportunity for Music4U to bring together people working in music, health and education who share a passion for enriching lives of young children through musical inclusion.’

The conference marketplace will showcase services and resources for deaf children and their families. It will be an opportunity to find out more about what is available within the region and nationally.

It will be held on Wednesday 8 May from 10am to 4pm at the National Centre for Early Music in York.

The delegate price for the conference is £35, but tickets booked before Friday 12 April will cost £30.For more information or to book a place, visit www.ncem.co.uk/hearing or contact the National Centre for Early Music on 01904 632220.

Music4U is working to provide opportunities for children and young people in challenging circumstances to progress through high-quality music-making. It is part of the Youth Music’s Musical Inclusion programme running until March 2014.

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