Emotional self-regulation through music in 3-8-year-old children
The current study explored the role of music in children’s emotional self-regulation. Music is shown to be a common and effective way of self-regulating emotions in adolescence and adulthood. It is also widely known that parents use music to regulate the emotions of their babies, for instance in calming them down by lullabies. However, very little is known about how children themselves use music for emotional needs, and how the self-regulatory emotional engagement develops. A survey study was conducted with parents of 63 children including 37 boys and 26 girls, aged between 2.9 to 8.1 years. The parents answered questions about their child’s musical activities, preferences, and emotion-regulatory uses of music. Open-ended questions had a significant role due to the exploratory nature of the study, and the answers were analyzed through qualitative content analysis. Four emotion-regulatory uses of music were identified: music helped the children to calm down, to keep concentrated and interested, to express and enhance happiness and energy level, and to fantasize through mental imagery. The emotional use of music developed from parent-directed regulation to the child’s self-directed regulation through family examples, learning, and self-development. The study provided preliminary information about the main functions and characteristics of emotional self-regulation through music in childhood, strengthening our understanding of how the foundations for the music-related emotional self-regulation are built. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009