The play element in children's musical learning and creativity: NNMPF-conference [Nordisk nettverk for musikkpedagogisk forskning]

Bo Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Music in different forms is significant in young people's lives. In this presentation play is applied as a theoretical perspective to reach a deeper understanding of children’s musical learning and creativity. This presentation discusses findings from two empirical studies where children ages 6-8 years engage in musical activities: a doctoral a study (Nilsson, 2002) of nine 7-8-year-old Swedish children individually creating music with synthesiser and computer software and a study of children ages 6-8 years, participating in a music project where they collectively learned traditional Swedish songs and dance forms in the classroom (Nilsson, 2006). One of the main aims of these studies was to explore the musical learning and creative processes of the participants. A theoretical framework, called ecocultural perspective and developed by the author, was applied in the analysis. This perspective is based on four theoretical areas: (i) musical learning and creative activities in informal and everyday situations, (ii) oral practice, (iii) theories of play and flow, (iv) how these three areas are linked to chance, uncertainty and unpredictable events. In the analysis of the collected material it was in both studies found that children’s musical learning and creativity could be regarded as different forms of play. Findings also indicate that in some cases the children’s musical learning and creative processes could be described as flow experiences. In this presentation findings will be further demonstrated and discussed from the above mentioned ecocultural perspective, where play is considered especially important as a way of creating meaning in musical activities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Music
  • Pedagogy

Free keywords

  • Pedagogy
  • Pedagogik


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