Leicester Mercury

£95,000 to help champion music for under-fives



AN arts charity has been granted more than £95,000 to promote the role of music in the developmen­t of young children.

Leicester charity, The Spark Arts for Children, has been awarded £95,390 from Youth Music to support musicians and early years practition­ers to be “music champions”.

The project, using funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, will promote the role music plays in the developmen­t of children up to four, through a newly created Leicester/shire Music Champions and Early Years Music Network.

There is strong evidence to suggest that music has a direct impact on a child’s communicat­ion and language developmen­t. In 2019, The Spark’s Tiny Sparks music project, supporting children from early years, revealed 98 per cent of participat­ing children showed an improvemen­t on the register of Stages of Confident Speaking.

Liza Foster, The Spark Early Years programme manager said: “Music is a vital part of the learning of under-fives, supporting communicat­ion and language, as well as personal, social and emotional developmen­t.

“Musical play experience­s encourage the best early learning and ensure children flourish. I strongly believe this programme will have a long lasting impact on Leicester/shire’s children and families.”

Kay Hardiman, director of Talent 25, one of the scheme’s partners, said: “The families who are part of our research study have told us how much they and their babies have enjoyed music sessions and would like more, particular­ly music and stories from different cultures.

“This project gives families an opportunit­y to work collaborat­ively with great musicians and expert early years practition­ers, helping more children have really special musical experience­s in their early lives.”

To champion learning through music the network will provide training and networking for both profession­al musicians and early years practition­ers. The programme will partner 10 profession­al musicians - including two from the Philharmon­ia Orchestra’s Emerging Artist’s programme, with early years profession­als working with preschool children in nurseries, schools and libraries.

A programme of workshops will take place across the city and county between February and June 2022. Other partners working to ensure children who need music most in their lives include the city council’s Neighbourh­ood Services, Philharmon­ia Orchestra and the Mighty Creatives.


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