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Title: Relationships between musical and linguistic skills in early development : the role of informal musical experience in the home
Author: Politimou, Nina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 8110
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2018
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Research on the relationship between formal musical training and cognitive abilities has been burgeoning over the last decade, with a specific focus on the relationship between language and music skills. However, a significant gap exists when looking at the start of the developmental path of the relationship between these abilities: whereas something is known about infants and a significant amount has been learned about school-aged children, very little is known about preschool children. Aiming to fill this gap, this research has moved along two interlocking paths: first, studying the early relationship between cognitive processing of both music and language, and second, evaluating a dimension so far unexplored: the influence of informal musical interaction and exposure in the home on musical and linguistic development. Using a correlational design and a set of novel age-appropriate musical abilities tasks, Study 1 examined the relationship between a range of musical skills and linguistic development in 3- and 4-year-old children. The second study investigated the contribution of informal musical experience in the home in the development of these skills. Based on the findings from Study 2, which suggested a significant association between informal musical experience in the home and the development of key language areas, Study 3 sought to develop a validated instrument with good psychometric properties for the assessment of informal musical experience. To this end, two online surveys were conducted, and factor analytical and confirmatory methods were used to explore and consolidate the factor structure of the new instrument (Music@Home Questionnaire). Reliability and validity of the new instrument were also investigated. Study 4 focused on a specific aspect of music and language processing namely, the processing of structure, and examined the hypothesis that these skills are related in 4- and 6-year-old children. Study 4 also investigated the impact of home experience with music, as assessed with the newly developed instrument, on language and music structural processing. The combined findings of the present thesis contribute towards a comprehensive account of the relationship between language and music from a developmental perspective. They also provide researchers with new tools to assess musical abilities in young children and with a novel parent-report instrument for the assessment of a largely unexplored area of environmental experience: i.e. informal musical experience in the home.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available