Music can make a huge difference to young children in more ways than one: helping to develop their communication skills, literacy, numeracy and creativity among many other benefits. Cambridgeshire Music is part of a regional partnership, MusicNet East, which aims to improve access to music for young people and families, especially those in challenging circumstances.

One of the most recent MusicNet East activities was a weekly family Music Group at the North Cambridge Child and Family Centre. A total of 12 families took part, all with children aged between seven months and 21 months.

Over six weeks, the children were able to hear and play instruments including drums, guitars, an accordion and a ukulele, and there was also lots of singing with their parents and carers. Because the families had many different first languages, they also had favourite songs in these languages and shared these with the group ('Incy Wincy Spider' in French proved a particular favourite)!

The children quickly got used to joining in, with some even suggesting songs and others playing on the instruments or banging toys in time with the music. There was great feedback from parents, who picked up lots of tips for further music-making at home. Sally McGivern, Child and Family Centre Worker at North Cambridge Child and Family Centre, said: “The children really loved having hands-on experience with the instruments and singing in a group. This boosted their confidence and the families are much more comfortable making music together.”

You can find more information about the Family Music Service here

The MusicNet East project has got young families playing music together.