Professor Adam Ockelford has had a lifelong fascination for music, as a composer, performer, teacher and researcher.
While attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adam started working with children with special needs – a number of whom, he noticed, had special musical abilities too – and he became interested in how we all intuitively make sense of music, without the need for formal education. Adam pursued this line of enquiry, and gained a PhD in music at Goldsmith’s College in London in 1993, in which he set out his ‘zygonic‘ theory of musical understanding. This theory has proved a valuable tool in music theory and analysis, in investigating musical development, and exploring interaction in music therapy and education.
Adam is now a Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton; the Chair of Soundabout, a charity which supports music provision for children and young people with complex needs; and founder of the AMBER Trust, which supports visually impaired children in their pursuit of music. He is also Secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE).
We’re delighted he will be joining us at the North West launch of Sounds of Intent in the Early Years to present the findings of his pioneering research into the musical development of children and young people. Here are Adam’s top five tips for teaching music to children – a short taster of the help and advice to come at the Sounds of Intent in the Early Years event.
1) Listen to the children!
2) Don’t talk to much – let the music speak.
3) Don’t be afraid to play or sing to the children – they’ll love it.
4) Be ambitious on their behalf – little children are far more musically advanced than you may think.
5) Let the children see and hear your enjoyment and enthusiasm.