Find answers to common questions here

Mainly because they love it. so they attend to it and take an active part. As well as enriching their everyday lives, musical activities can help to prepare children for nursery and school, by building their social confidence and laying the foundations for literacy and numeracy.

Research on the effects of using music with very young children (aged 0-5) has shown that ‘taking part in regular, structured, active and creative music-making (rather than passive listening or watching), led by an expert musician with skills in working with this age group, over an extended period of time… does impact on several areas of these children’s development’. (From ‘Turning their ears on… keeping their ears open: exploring the impact of musical activities on the development of pre-school age children’. Summary of a research project commisioned by Youth Music in 2006)

Some areas of development that can be supported by music:
  • Concentrating and understanding
  • Watching, listening and imitating
  • Interacting, sharing and taking turns
  • Emotional development and a sense of self
  • Vocal control, speech and language
  • Early concepts and vocabulary
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Rhythm and rhyming
  • Counting and sequencing
  • Physical skills: coordination of whole body and fine finger movements.

I play an autoharp: I often shorten it to ‘harp’ when talking to the children. It’s a type of zither with automatic chord buttons, which are labelled. It’s really easy to play, though I have had to stop jumping, dancing, running and hopping whilst playing it, owing to a shoulder problem… I now use the ukulele for moving around, as it’s much lighter than the autoharp!

In the USA there are huge international autoharp contests and festivals. UK Autoharps provides information and courses in this country for everyone from beginners to advanced players.

If your child is turning 2, you should generally apply for an older group. Between 18 months and 2 years, they could be in either group. The older groups always have a few younger children in too; mainly siblings of the older ones. Some children with less confidence or additional needs may benefit from staying in either group for a bit longer – that’s fine, just talk to me!

I’m sorry but I can’t accommodate older siblings in the groups. I can’t let them join in because of numbers and insurance, and even if they are quiet and can occupy themselves, their presence is distracting for the children in the group. Please don’t create an awkward situation by turning up with an older child. Imagine if several people did it on the same day…

This isn’t my only work! As well as Early Years Music Groups, I am involved in the Speech, Sign and Song Club on Wednesdays and teach young children in my own home at Wendy’s Playful Piano.

I often play Songs for Under 5s, produced by the excellent Early Years Team at The Sage Gateshead. Several people have commented on how good they are. I also sometimes play Dreamland: World Lullabies and Soothing Songs, produced by Putumayo, and all the great CDs produced by Playsongs, with really good folk-style singers and instrumentalists.

There are several other musical activities available for children over three. Sue Lake runs Music Makers locally for 4 – 6 years, and Roma Seth does Rockabillies in Long Eaton/Toton for 0-5 years.

If you have further questions, email Wendy