University Announces New Music Initiative

Posted on February 24th, 2016 by Emily Tomlinson

GUM1Averett University is excited to announce a new music initiative in early childhood education – Growing up Musically (GUM). The initiative, which was generously funded by benefactors and former Averett campaign co-chairs, Ben and Betty Davenport, began in January at local Head Start and Smart Beginnings’ childcare facilities. Dr. Janet Phillips, Averett’s assistant professor of music, is delivering a series of music programs for our area’s youngest students.

“Not only will the Growing Up Musically Program provide joy and music to our preschoolers, but our early childhood education teachers will expand their knowledge of how to instruct children in music and incorporate music, rhythm and movement into their teaching practices,” said Tara Martin, Executive/Head Start Director. “Our teachers are working closely with Averett’s faculty to develop their comfort level in instruction, and it has been a wonderful partnership.”

The specialized programming is pulled from Averett’s music department in order to deliver unique benefits to existing early education providers’ curricula and to the children. Research demonstrates that younger children’s early exposure to music provides the following benefits: fewer referrals for discipline, higher educational aspirations, and fewer absences from school. In addition, children exposed to music show higher levels of confidence, impulse control, self-identity, problem-solving, conflict resolution skills, empathy and social tolerance.

GUM also integrates service-learning for student-teachers in Averett’s education program. Student-teachers are working as interns to deliver the 12-session GUM program at childcare facilities and teach early childhood education (ECE) providers how to incorporate music and movement as part of their instruction.

Averett’s music faculty and education students are working directly with the children and instruments once a week at the various childcare sites. They leave daily lesson plans and tip sheets for ECE teachers to reinforce that session’s learning throughout the rest of the week during daily lessons and play. This strategy enhances early childhood development and teachers’ knowledge in a new delivery outreach model.

The goal of this new program is for a generation of preschoolers to develop an appreciation of music, experience making music themselves, and realize all the benefits music brings to learning: things like language and literacy, rhythm, attention and memory.