Thursday, 1 December 2011

ECME blog December 2012

ECME BLOG December 2011


Music: parents and children always love it! It looks "easy", "cute" and everybody has fun. But music education for young children needs professionalism, musicality, knowledge, flexibility, structure, …….


This is perhaps why we have a great amount of papers, workshops and poster proposals our next seminar at Corfu. Music and young children is the most fabulous job for many teachers. Also researchers realize that music and young children are very interesting.

So… the six ECME commission members have work to do and are reviewing all the submissions.


In my home country, The Netherlands, the interest in music education for children between 0-4 is still growing. The idea to stimulate innate musical possibilities before the children would enter elementary school arose "ages ago". Already in 1981 the Dutch Annie Langelaar – who stood at the cradle of general music education for children in the Netherlands – created the Foundation for Toddlers and Music (Stichting Peuters en Muziek). The aims were to investigate how musical influence in the first years of life could be of importance for future general development.  A second aim was to stimulate research in the field of early childhood music education, and to expand the gained knowledge.


Annie Langelaar wrote the following:

"Every child is born with a large number of very different talents, amongst which music. These talents need to be given the change to develop otherwise they will shrivel" (Langelaar, 1977, p. 14).

The quest anno 2012 has not changed a lot and music teachers want to develop the inherent capabilities of young children according to the children's own level of possibilities. We want to offer activities and songs that can be used in the home situation to continue the musical learning process. Activities that can be easily transferred to the home situation (like brushing your teeth) are a vital part of Early Childhood Music Education lessons.


I guess more countries have their "Annie's". People with vision, who are often "far ahead of time". Let's hope we can all share our knowledge during the next seminar and world conference in July 2012 and create more "master early childhood music teachers and researchers" for the benefit of all children all over the world!


Hope to see you in Greece.


The picture shows the activity belonging to the song "raindrops" and will be presented in Greece! Sing and play!


Margré van Gestel, chair ECME 2010-2012

Margré van Gestel
Chair Early Childhood Music Education (ISME)
Voorzitter Stichting Muziek op schoot
Secretaris Gehrels Muziek Educatie


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

ecme blog july 2011

ECME Blog July 2011


In about a year the Early Childhood Music Education seminar will be finished and we shall be enjoying the ISME world conference in Thessaloniki, July 15-20, 2012.


The visit to Greece opens a new musical window

and gives you the change to take a look in the world of art,

culture and music of many countries.


The conference venue is situated along the water

 and is a perfect place to stay. It has many possibilities for indoor and outdoor concerts.



Every musician or music pedagogue is very welcome to hear presentations about the role music plays in the development and talk about music environments and music teaching. As the international society of music Education exists for almost 60 years we will look back to the past of music education but also have lots op opportunities to make education "ready for the future".


The theme of the Early Childhood Music education seminar

at Corfu, 9-13 July 2012: "Passing on the Flame",

is closely related to the theme of the world conference:

 "Music Paedeia:

From Ancient Greek Philosophers

Towards Global Music Communities".


The first ECME commission seminars started in 1982.

In the beginning years it was an exchange of practise and knowledge linked to practise. During the years the amount of research presentations expanded. In the past years the commission formulated a vision and a mission and now it is the time to reflect on the past but also to create new organizational structures and perhaps to create new world wide special interest groups within ECME. 

Envisioning towards the future we would like to invite you to write a paper or send ECME a workshop proposal.

We would like to share research and best practise in the field of music with young children 0-8 years.


The programme of the seminar will give participants time to discuss, but there are also lots of moments to discover the island of Corfu: going to the beach, having a swim, enjoying the music from Corfu and having a wonderful time.


Don't be too late with registration!


There are many hotels in different price-brackets.

Next to the booking fee (this seminar to be paid by all the presenter and observers but which will be kept as low as possible)

the island of Corfu is a perfect place to stay.

Lovely restaurants, good food, lots of sun and nice places to be.

Bring your bathing suit, sunglasses, sunburn-lotion and a hat!


The seminar will be hosted in the IONIAN University and in the building of the Department of Music. The department is situated in a very special place: "the Old Fortress". Standing in front of the building of the IONIAN University you have a marvellous view over the sea and the old fortress.



The commission wants to promote and advocate for every child's right on music education in order to enhance the quality of children's live.

We hope to see your submission and registration and we are looking forward to see you July 2012 at Corfu and afterwards in Thessaloniki!


As the website is a perfect place to share stories about the importance of music in the lives of young children, I would like to invite you to send your stories to me to place them on the website.


Send your story to


Margré van Gestel, chair ECME 2010-2012




Monday, 17 January 2011

2011 January ECME BLOG 2

ECME BLOG January 17


"The use of music and songs of the culture

in early childhood music education".


Singing is a natural way of involvement with music. Children hear the melodies and structure of the language and because music is both performance and story, songs of the culture shape a musical and cultural identity. Music offers a sense of both self and others and social groups express in their cultural activities the agreed values. (Frith 2010)

Every nation "owns" songs from its culture. It helps children to integrate in society, teaches them social customs and order, thus contributing to general persistence and continuation of culture. (Kiilu 2010)

As songs from the culture are passed on by generations the core values of a nation are expressed in the songs.


In the Netherlands, as well as in other countries, we inherited a lot of songs from past generations that we currently sing with the "under fours". Traditional songs are always very popular in the parent child groups due to the fact that parents and grandparents remember these songs from their own childhood. Many CD's with children-songs contain traditional repertoire and we frequently hear traditional songs in kindergarten and nursery homes.

In the Dutch Music on the Lap courses we use songs with melodies, harmonies and rhythms based on Western cultural tradition and we pass on songs in the nation's language.  The use of words however is sometimes out of date: (i.e. : :  :    Twee emmertjes water halen ("Get two buckets of water"), and sometimes it is not easy to explain the exact meaning of the lyrics. The lyrics, however, are often linked to education, raising children, learning things about live, becoming clean, gender differences, or learning to cope with social emotional aspects of live. Parents don't realize the significance or the psychological impact of the songs but an early childhood music teacher can give meaning to songs by offering significant and interesting activities.

Traditional songs reflect a wide range of human experiences, patterns of tradition, and beliefs that parents and (great) grand parents learned in their lives. In the music on the lap course we sing and play the song "Zo gaat de molen".  It is a circle game. The mill (molen) is going round slowly but the wings (wieken) are going fast. Children three years old can sing the song it is a group event and we all like it very much.


From Latvia (Anna Liduma) I received a report with lots of photo's indicating the way ancient singing traditions are implemented in Early Childhood Music Education. They organize concerts where parents and children sing together and children participate in playful annual singing competitions for young children. 



 In the next blog I would like to share thoughts about:

Competences of ECME teachers.

You may send your reactions to

If you have photo's for publishing in the web-blog only jpg.files will be recognised!




Frith, S. (2010) Music and identity. Questions of cultural identity. P.108-127 London: Sage Publications Inc.

Kiilu, K. (2010) The development of the concept of music education in Estonian kindergartens, 1905-2008: A historical-critical overview. Helsinki: Department of teacher education Faculty of Behavioural Sciences

Gestel van. M. (2010) Building bridges between generations Proceedings of the 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, Beijing, China. 2010, ISME,


Margré van Gestel
Chair Early Childhood Music Education (ISME)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

ECME blog Happy New Year


filled with music (and) education

for the benefit of children all over the World.




We are very grateful ISME gave us the possibility

to publish an ECME blog on the ISME website.

A perfect way to share our experiences and ideas

and to be connected in between the conferences.


The content of the first official blog (with help of you all) will be:


"The use of music and songs of the culture

in early childhood music education".


As incoming chair of the ECME commission I would like to invite all music educators working with young children to exchange ideas regarding the various ways in which young children appreciate and participate in music off their own culture during music education classes.


I hope you are willing to share (short) stories.


If you have other news regarding ECME all over the world: let me know!


Hope to hear from you all!


You may send your submission to

before January 14 2011


A Happy new year!


 Margré van Gestel

Chair Early Childhood Music Education (ISME)