Are You Early Years Ready?

02 July 2019

What Happened at the Conference?

The day we all got together to discuss key issues in Early Childhood music education provision

On Thursday 20th June 2019, Take Art and Bristol Plays Music welcomed over 65 delegates across the country – from Music Services and Music Education Hubs, music facilitators, researchers, funders and strategic partners - to the Colston Hall in Bristol.   

This was a vital and lively event that took place at a key moment for Early Childhood music education provision, in light of recommendations by the sector that the DfE’s planned ‘refresh’ of the National Plan for Music Education include the 0-5 age phase.  

The aim of the day was to discuss current creative approaches for those already working within Early Years education, providing ideas and strategies to help Music Hubs and Services embed a sustainable programme of Early Childhood music education work into their roles and remits.

Jane Parker, Early Years Music Lead at Take Art said, "It was an honour to gather together such an incredible group of passionate people to share, support, provoke and challenge us. The focus of the day was on what actually is possible in these challenging times. Good practice is neither showy nor simplistic, it’s complex. It requires supportive strategic managers who can nurture Early Childhood music practitioners to develop a sound pedagogical knowledge so they can genuinely engage playfully with our youngest children on their musical terms.”


  • Dr Susan Young challenged our thinking with a keynote entitled Provocations, Purpose and Possibilities.  
  • Stuart Whatmore shared with us how the Tri-borough Music Hub became Early Years focused, including their future plans and challenges .  
  • Gina Westbrook introduced us to some of the Early Years Music Networks set up across the country; from the North West - NoteWeavers (Zoe Greenhalgh); from the East - Magic Acorns (Dr Jessica Pitt); from London - Tri-Music Together (Nicola Burke) and from the South West - The SoundWaves Network (Jane Parker).  
  • Cornwall Music Service Trust shared their journey embracing Early Years music. 

We continued to learn about what is possible and looked at current models of practice and resources including Musical Development Matters, SALT Music, First Thing Music and The SoundWaves Network model. The day came to an end with more possibility thinking in a World Café style discussion.  It was concluded by Bridget Whyte, CEO of Music Mark.

Graphic Documentation - Mind Maps from the Day

All presentations were graphically harvested by Jamie Colston and Liane Fredericks:


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