Children and instrumental music

Project author:

Project summary:

An observation and participatory observation study where a two-and-a-half-year-old child chooses and builds with my help, a musical instrument from everyday and recyclable materials, which he likes acoustically and reminds him of sounds of everyday life/reality.


This research aims to:

1) my own theoretical and practical research and learning, thoughts and feelings as a kindergarten teacher while organizing the theme of music and rhythm coming from a musical instrument made from everyday/recyclable materials

2) an understanding of the child’s personality and emotional world, which are necessary to conduct the research

3) how this particular activity can allow guided freedom

4) how participants will benefit from what we will learn from this research.



My reflection on the specific topic of my research starts from a long time ago. Although I have done my thesis at University on a related topic, I have seen countless literature and I have done similar research in the past with children in my previous workplace, I am always fascinated by the diversity of each child and how each child individually perceives process of a research topic. When I started this program, I was working in babysitting, making art activities, painting and reading a lot of books at the same time. I was also studying pedagogical policy issues according to this book: “Introduction to Pedagogical Science, Ioannis Pyrgiotakis”. Topics such as the pedagogical freedom of the teacher, the pedagogical couple and the position of Socrates and Pestalozzi, the teacher’s behavior and the impact it has on the students, etc.

My status on this particular research topic is open, I try to be flexible and any new data is welcome.

I am glad to be given the opportunity through this program to give “shape” and “life” to this particular subject.

I know the child with whom I carried out this research activity quite well. I didn’t meet him in the context of an educational structure, for example at school, but I was babysitting him at his house. His name is K. I know quite a lot about his personality, character and developmental stages because I was with him for a year. From when he was one year old until he was two years old. We spent several hours a day together and I taught him many things, just as he taught me many things. I decided to use participant observation as a method because I had thought of my research from the beginning with this method. If I see that this method is not working for us at that time, I will definitely switch to another method as an alternative. I thought of my activity, organized it and planned it as follows: First after we sit for half an hour in his space, relax, play or do the well-known activity of Greek kindergartens “free time”, then I can continue by introducing my topic and starting my first activity. My first activity involves a sheet of paper with four colors on it. Underneath each color is a word or symbol for the feeling. In this way, depending on which color he chooses, I can know K.’s feelings on that particular day. Then I will show him a book I have of improvised musical instruments “Recycled Music: Musical Instruments from Small Packages, Dimitris Sarris”. After we look at everything, he will choose what he likes and is possible to build, depending on the materials we will have (I will definitely have materials with me). At the end, we will play the musical instrument we made and guess which sound, music or rhythm it reminds us of from everyday life/reality and how it makes us feel.


First, I discussed with K’s parents. I explained everything about my research activity to them. I told them that in case they feel uncomfortable, they can be present the whole time or to participate if they want. I also mentioned to them that it would be good to have photographic material or if they want something more to offer for example a video, even better for my research. I also informed them about the paper they have to sign. They accepted what I told them with pleasure and told me that they are open to whatever new comes up. This made me feel positive and influenced my research activity very positively because there were no ethical restrictions.

“Our home joys are the most delightful earth affords, and the joy of parents in their children is the most holy joy of humanity” Pestalozzi.


The first activity involves recognizing emotions. K chose the blue category which is the sad face. I asked him a second time and he gave me the same answer. His mother told me that he is going through a phase of sad feelings. We talked a little about some of his daily behaviors and also mentioned the “terrible twos” theory. After looking through the book of musical instruments made from everyday/recyclable materials together, he told me that he wanted us to make something reminiscent of the sounds of the car repair shop below his house. I suggested the drums to him and he liked my idea. After he processed the materials, I had brought with me, we started making the drums. We made two. The materials we used were: two glass jars, cook baking paper, rubber band, rice and two plastic spoons. I put rice in a glass jar to see the difference in the sound. As we played with the drums, I was thinking that I had a different idea of the activity in my mind and it came out differently. This made me happy because I like it when alternative ideas come up. For example, I had thought to say at the end what sound our musical instrument reminds us of, while K chose this from the beginning. In the end he told me that he wants us to make maracas and play for fun. I had two cans with me, one small and one larger. We put some coffee in the small can and some rice in the other. We played for quite some time.


In conclusion what I know so far from my experience is that we make a plan of an activity and it almost always changes in practice. Of course, there are also cases where the activity went exactly as planned. In the end, it’s not so much about the plan. I believe this is needed to organize our thinking and to remind us not to escape the subject. More generally, the whole thing has to do with our interaction with the child and the most impressive thing is the discoveries we make together. Let’s not forget that each character is different and perceives things differently. What I’m thinking is that I won’t stop my research here. I will try my best to develop it. Through development, new data emerges and questions for future research arise.

Research implications

To be completed

Practitioner enquiry

To be completed

Leadership learning

To be completed

Author and role

To be completed

Comments from other network members

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