First Thing Music began as a research project investigating the impact of daily music on the development outcomes of young children.

The researchers at Durham University believe that this is the first ever study to explore teacher perceptions of a Kodály approach for training non-specialist teachers. 

The 2018/19 randomised control trial, joint funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Royal Society for the Arts, investigated the impact of daily 15 minute Kodály-inspired music sessions on the development outcomes of children aged 5-6 years. First Thing Music | Projects | Education Endowment Foundation | EEF  

Results showed an average of one month’s advantage in reading progress, and where in some cases, sessions were delivered at least 4 times per week, this impact rose to three months’ advantage in reading, (using the Proficiency in Reading Assessment test).

Ibbotson, L.; See, B.H. Delivering Music Education Training for Non-Specialist Teachers through Effective Partnership: A Kodály-Inspired Intervention to Improve Young Children’s Development Outcomes. Educ. Sci. 202111, 433.

Music in the early years: Pathways into the social world – Beatriz Ilari, 2016 ( – for discussion on development of social cognition, and how musical activities can support this.

Microsoft Word – 2707PhDMelissa_12345678_lay out.docx ( – What the Body Knows About Teaching Music, Bremmer, M. (2015) – researching Pedagogical Content Knowledge from an embodied cognition perspective.

What the Body Knows about Teaching Music

! 7!! Gestures 71! Gestures coexisting with speech in teaching 72 ! Gestures in musical performance 73 3.5.2 Body positioning and teaching 75 ! 3.5.3 Instructional sequence and teaching 75 3.6 Researching PCKg from an embodied cognition perspective 76

Fine Motor Skills and Language…..

Tool use and language skills are linked in the brain – and practising one improves the other (

This short video describes the Feasibility Study conducted in Teesside in 2018

For more information here is the complete presentation made for the British Education Research Association 2020 Webinar which took the place of their annual conference. We’ve posted it on the private youtube channel embedded here and also accessible through this link.