An Investigation Into the Purpose and Function of Music Activities in Minnesota Preschools
The problem of this study was to discover if and how music education is incorporated and valued in the curriculum of established preschool programs in Minnesota. The purpose of the research was based on the belief that children can reach their greatest potential for musical growth, literacy, and appreciation through early exposure to music and development of musical behaviors. The sub-problems of this thesis focused on the amount of time children participate in music-specific activities, the activities included during music sessions, student assessment, teacher training, the available resources for educators, and reasons educators include musical activities in the curriculum.
The research took place among preschools in Ramsey County, Minnesota. A range of preschools was surveyed, including private and public institutions. The subjects were educators who teach music-related activities at these preschools. Administrators at each preschool were contacted and asked to pass the online survey link to the adult primarily responsible for music-related activities at their center. One hundred twelve preschools obtained from the Minnesota Department of Human Services Web site were contacted and invited to participate in the survey. Only non-residential child care centers and preschools licensed by the Department of Human Services were invited to participate in the study. The data were collected using an anonymous online survey through Survey Monkey. The survey was developed partially from Kimberly Golden’s survey, which was designed to collect information about the uses of music in licensed preschools of Ohio.
The results of the survey revealed a wide use of music in the surveyed preschools as well as a rich variety of recommended musical activities. It was clear that music is valued as a part of the preschool curriculum. The majority of adults leading these musical activities, however, seem to be using the activities to achieve extra-musical goals. Although it is disappointing that these educators do not see the potential musical activities can have on students’ musical future, their belief in music’s importance throughout the day provides early exposure to music needed for building a basic musical foundation in young children.