The Importance of Music in the Early Years

The Importance of Music in the Early Years

At Sutton Music Trust, we are committed to making a difference in the lives of children through music and believe that no child is too young to start their musical journey. A high-quality music provision in Early Years settings is vital for all children from birth to age five. Read on to find out why.

"A strong foundation of music in the early years is vital for all children, but particularly for disadvantaged children or children with SEND."

A small child/ baby sits on the floor playing with a drum and xylophone.

All early years providers will know their education requirements in the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Music comes under expressive arts and design; the seventh early learning goal within the framework.

Spontaneous and planned music-making should be happening throughout the day. This could take the form of a singing circle, playing with musical instruments in the playground or dancing to children’s music videos on a YouTube playlist. All these forms of music making (and many more) will contribute greatly to a child’s natural development.  

It is important not to underestimate the power of singing to children. Studies have shown that singing to children prepares their ears, voice, and brain for language. Lullabies, songs and rhymes carry the ‘signature’ melodies and inflexions of a mother tongue. This applies across all cultures and languages, and this prepares a child’s ear, voice and brain for language.

Singing, playing musical instruments and moving to music have many other benefits for children in the early years:

What can Early Years settings do?

Evaluate your provision: We would encourage you to complete the Sutton Music Trust Self-evaluation Tool to assess the level of music-making in your setting (we are aware that not all scenarios may apply). You can find out how to use the self-evaluation tool and see the bronze, silver, and gold categories here: Self Evaluation Tool – Sutton Music Trust.

Let us know how we can help: Sutton Music Trust will be publishing resources, videos, and sharing CPD offers to help strengthen music-making in your setting. You can let us know more about what you need here, including your setting’s self-evaluation score:

Power of Music to Change Lives: a National Plan for Music Education (2022)

Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (