A self-serving network for experienced music leaders working with very young children.


What are the goals of the work?

What is the context of the work?

What is the content of the work?

What are the key features of the teaching and learning approach?

How is the work being reviewed?

Sound Connection's London Early Years Music Network (LEYMN) was established in 2010 in recognition of the need to provide support for all those offering music making with babies, toddlers and young children. Made up of a core group of around fifteen expert music leaders and a wider network over of 350 members, the aims of the Network are to:

London Early Years Music Network Logo

  • encourage sharing of best practice, resources and information within the sector;
  • be a safe place to debate key issues referred from Network members and Sound Connections staff (such as related to pedagogic approach, quality of music, role of franchises and children's musical development);
  • be the first port-of-call for anyone looking for information on Early Years music making in London;
  • keep abreast of other Early Years music networks' activities regionally and nationally;
  • advise and be a critical friend to Sound Connections on its Early Years Music strategy (training, tenders and project delivery);
  • offer continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities and training;
  • organise an annual conference to debate, celebrate and challenge early years music practice; and
  • offer an annual LEYMN apprentice programme to support the continuing professional development (CPD) of emerging music practitioners and Early Years leaders.

By offering a platform for reflection, sharing of effective practice and debate, LEYMN seeks to support members' progress, draw on their knowledge and skills, and share it with the wider sector. In so doing, the ultimate goal is to enable more babies, toddlers and young children to engage with music and to reap its benefits.

LEYMN is committed to continue to understand the needs and opinions of the LEYMN membership. Our training needs survey is one example of a formal process of collating feedback and one that is designed to be repeated. The social media presence through LEYMN's Facebook group is another source of informal dialogue and feedback. Members report that participating on other pages suggests that there is still potential for this to grow and become more interactive.

The very nature of the LEYMN network means that practical approaches to working in Early Years are continually reviewed by the self-governing members. However, there is also a recognition that there are many different ways that musical activities can be shaped, facilitated and delivered and that all should be recognised if positive and effective. The Network does not seek to advocate one approach over another. Nevertheless, there is a principled belief that reflective, theory-based practice – that which considers how children learn and then is applied to practice – is at the heart of high quality musical experiences for children, and that there is a need to nurture an inclusive group of practitioners with complimentary expertise and expertise.

What are the positive outcomes for children/young people – are they some or all of musical, social, personal, educational - how and when can they be identified?

By offering a platform for reflection, sharing of effective practice and debate, the Network is designed to supports members' progress, draws on their knowledge and skills, and shares these with the wider sector. In so doing, the ultimate goal is to enable more babies, toddlers and young children to engage positively with music, to be open to music's potential benefits and to allow children in early years settings to meet their full potential for wider development and well-being. Research suggests that participation in regular, high-quality music making is likely to make a major contribution to young children's learning, social and personal development. The LEYMN Quality Principles resource outlines the fundamental building blocks that all practitioners, dedicated to supporting young children, are encouraged to recognise, agree with and can embed into the provision of high quality music making:

What are the key features of teacher/leader behaviour that are enabling those positive outcomes?

By bringing together those with a shared interest, the creation of a community of practice has multiple benefits for those that engage actively in its activities. The underlying philosophy is that, when you have a strong network, you have a support team—people you can turn to for guidance, advice or assistance. Together you can share best practices. You become as much a resource for them as they are for you. Networks can have a uniting and united voice, whilst also supporting healthy debate and difference of opinion. For those working in early years music, there is a need to create a strong community within the wider music learning sector and inform the larger picture of those working and caring for our young children.

How replicable or adaptable is it?

LEYMN has noted the creation of similar networks elsewhere in the country, such as South Yorkshire Early Years Music, and supports the replication of smaller localised groups, including in more rural, somewhat disparate communities where practitioners may feel relatively isolated in their practice.

Readers are encouraged to download the LEYMN 5-year review, which summarises the Network's history, recommendations and resource library. http://www.sound-connections.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/LEYMN-Five-Year-Review.pdf


Over the last five years, the LEYMN Network has created over 35 briefing papers, case studies, films and articles. These resources are free to download via the Sound Connections website:


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