Book Report: “Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children’s Lives”
The book entitled “Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children’s Lives” is written by Patricia Shehan Campbell and published in the year 2010. It was published by the Oxford University Press in New York. Besides being a requirement on the reading list, the book is much appealing to me because of the way it addresses a real life scenario concerning the implication of music. The author brings together a masterpiece that entangles various themes concerning the relationship between music and life. The plot of the story is also quite interesting and entertaining.
I found the book to be well written and thought out. The book, written by Patricia Campbell: "In Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children’s Lives" has answered all these questions regarding implication of music. Patricia Campbell has addressed all these issues while explaining very well how children of different ages, classes and even culture can use music in their every day of their lives. To her, music can be made as interesting as possible and as part of life. According to Patricia Campbell, one can become a pro in music even without stepping a class or even be in a formal school of music so long as she or he has the interest in music. She says that they can use music through cultural influences to shape their musical experiences. The book is segmented into three parts.
In part 3, it serves to be an additional section for the reflection and commentary, its primary intention is to investigate the patchwork that the children form together (Campbell, 2010). Through this section, the writer can give an explanation on how the recent technological development in the mass media industry has had an influence on the children. This is also the primary aspiration that led to the publishing of the second edition of the literature work. The author is very passionate about the changes in the current technologies; the writer goes ahead to say that the children of today are ‘digital,' this is to mean that they are born in the days that the world technology has gone a notch higher (Campbell, 2010). Although the current changes in the technology have been brought mostly be the western culture, the writer claims that no one is capable of being born digital. However, one adjusts himself or herself to the digital age. It is through the interaction with the trends in the technologies that makes one to be regarded as digital.
Body of the book review
Campbell has explored musical behaviors in various contextual settings. She explains how the advancement of technology has boosted music industry. This is because one can quickly learn a lot of instruments and even various techniques in music using technology. This book mainly explores the meaning and the values of music in children’s lives. The book is mainly based upon their expressed thoughts and even the actual behaviors in school and even plays. Through the blending of standard education field experiences and various ethno musicological techniques, Campbell has clearly demonstrated how music is personally and even socially meaningful to children. This is reflected in the values they place on a given musical styles, songs and even functions (Elliott, 2005).
Songs in Their Heads is very clear and engaging book that gives the discipline of education in music, ethnomusicology, and folklore. This book has been designed as a text for a variety of music education method courses. Music is great especially when apparently taught to children and they grow with it can become their profession when they grow. With well reference for music specialists and even classroom teachers, this book written by Campbell will undoubtedly appeal to parents who are interested in understanding and enhancing music to their children. Campbell has introduced her inspiration for the studies through a story of a very young boy in a schoolyard and every day wakes up with songs in his head.
The article has documented the natural musical engagement of children. Mainly with ethnographic field- based observation and also using the graphical musical notations. Most of the musical examples used in most of the text support the views and hence allows the reader to interpret clearly different transcriptions of rhythms, vocalization, songs and chants that Campbell audio or video taped. Campbell concludes that, through “music king” children “Kinesthetically expel their energy and make their music to fit movements and their imaginations” (Campbell, 2010).
Through valid support and descriptions, Campbell supports her suggestions and claims regarding intrinsic “musical doodling” in children (Aubert, 2007). Campbell has also ventured also far in her analysis of the rhythmic behaviors. In one example given in the book written by Campbell, Campbell (2010) describes a very young girl who charged the meter without unknowingly while singing a song. Campbell explained the metric shift and said she said that metric shifts in music “may be perceived by musicians who perform complex works . Here was a preschool child who had demonstrated the concept with ease and nonchalance, and with considerable feeling” (Campbell, 2010).
Further, the writer gives the concern on how the choice of the music may have an adverse impact on the young generation; Campbell gives a warning to the parent that the poor musical quality may have some negative effects on the development of the child. She then gives a suggestion that there should be a billboard consultation to check on what is considered to be popular. She goes ahead to suggest that there should be exposure of students to all the musical genres. Campbell also in her book has clearly described a young boy tapping his milk carton on the table in a “syncopated pattern” (p.37). The children have been described here as creating sounds in their activities and, this, Campbell has firmly attributed to the understanding of rhythmic behavior.
I found the book to be very useful and would readily recommend the book since it is clear that the intentions of the writer are to provide insight, perspective, and the knowledge of the children’s musical life. The writers go ahead to express her deterministic opinions which could be a beneficiary from future massaging. Some of the support that is external could also bring more regarding value to the literature. On top of the literature, the writer’s bibliography on both the educational background and music could also be of value so that one could be able to understand the circumstance that brought development in the philosophies she has embraced in the literature. Campbell is successful since she has been able to capture the musical behavior and perspective of the children.
Campbell, P. S. (2010). Songs in their heads: Music and its meaning in children's lives.
Aubert, L. (2007). The music of the other: New challenges for ethnomusicology in a global age. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.
Elliott, D. J. (2005). Music matters. New York: Oxford University Press.