Research Findings on the Music Together® Preschool Program Model
by Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D.
Professor of Music Education, Rowan University; Director of Research, Music Together LLC
Published in "Center for Music and Young Children" on April 1, 2009
The Center for Music and Young Children, developer of the Music Together® early childhood music curriculum, has been deeply committed to bringing the excitement and developmental benefits of music and movement to those preschool children who may be considered academically challenged based on their family’s socio-economic situation. In the past five years, two large-scale studies have been undertaken to understand how the Music Together Preschool model supports overall learning in the preschool curriculum.
Action for Bridgeport Community Development
Most recently, a project was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the Music Together curriculum for preschool children in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, public schools (using Creative Curriculum Assessments). This study was funded by the Connecticut Assembly and the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with Action for Bridgeport Community Development (Charles Tisdale, director). Children in the Music Together experimental group scored better to a statistically significant degree on both the cognitive change and language development Creative Curriculum Assessments. The following was concluded (Michael Cohen Group, LLC, external evaluators, 2008):
Over the course of the ’07–’08 academic year, four-year-olds in preschool classrooms assigned to receive Total Learning’s Music Together program made significantly greater progress in the Cognitive, Language, and Physical developmental domains than did four-year-olds in classrooms that did not participate in the program.
In the area of social development, children in the Music Together experimental group also scored better, approaching but not meeting statistical significance.
• Four-year-olds in preschool classrooms assigned to receive Total Learning’s Music Together program also made greater gains in the Social-Emotional developmental domain (self-esteem, self-confidence) than did preschoolers in classrooms that did not participate in the program, p < .1.
Trenton, New Jersey: Music for the Very Young
In 2003, the Trenton Community Music School and Music Together LLC partnered with the Education Resources Group to design and implement a study in the Trenton Public Schools to understand the impact of the Music Together Preschool model both on preschool children’s school readiness (using Brigance Preschool Screen) and on their longterm literacy (using the Terra Nova Test).
Typical teacher reports include comments such as, “I don’t know how I taught before the Music Together Curriculm Model was introduced into my classroom. I use music for everything now.” According to the recent survey of classroom teachers who had participated in this project, a large majority report the continued use of Music Together teaching strategies and use of the materials one to two years after the conclusion of the project. Eighty-five percent of those teachers reported a desire for Music Together to return to their classrooms. They clearly found that Music Together enhanced their learning environments sufficiently to offset any “loss” of academic time, affirming the fundamental value of music and movement in the early childhood curriculum.