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Probing the Dynamics of Sibling Interactions in Relation to Musical Development

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Music in Early Childhood: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives and Inter-disciplinary Exchanges

Abstract

In considering the role of the family in early childhood music development and engagement, researchers have documented the parent-child relationship; however, sibling interactions also play a key role in musical development. From older children providing novel musical soundscapes for younger siblings, to younger siblings’ interest and admiration spurring older children in their musical achievement, to siblings purposefully distinguishing themselves from one another through musical preference and activity choices, siblings influence one another musically. In this chapter, we present three interdisciplinary frameworks to use in probing the dynamics of sibling relationships and influences on musical development. First is the interplay of complementary and reciprocal facets of sibling relationships described by Dunn in 1983, and utilized by subsequent researchers in analyzing the role of sibling interactions in various developmental arenas. Second is Minuchin’s (Families and family therapy. Tavistock, London, 1974) family systems theory as explored in the context of emotional understanding and regulation by Kramer (Early Educ Dev 25(2):160–184, 2014). Finally, we outline the theory of communicative musicality from Trevarthen and Malloch (Musicality and musical culture: sharing narratives of sound from early childhood. In: McPherson GE, Welch GF (eds) The Oxford handbook of music education, vol 1. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 248–260, 2012), frequently cited within music education research, and we critique the absence of work on siblings within this theory. Using these three frameworks, we share examples of musical interactions and influences of siblings drawn from fieldwork with three families over 10 years, arguing that sibling relationships exhibit similarities and differences to parent-child relationships and are crucial to understanding the musical development of children with siblings.

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Correspondence to Lisa Huisman Koops .

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Koops, L.H., Kuebel, C.R. (2019). Probing the Dynamics of Sibling Interactions in Relation to Musical Development. In: Young, S., Ilari, B. (eds) Music in Early Childhood: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives and Inter-disciplinary Exchanges. International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development, vol 27. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17791-1_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17791-1_3

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