International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 7 Number 9

December 9, 2006

Qualitative Investigation of Young Children's Music Preferences

Kathryn Roulston
The University of Georgia

Citation: Roulston, Kathryn. (2006). Qualitative investigation of young children's music preferences. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 7(9). Retrieved [data] from

This qualitative study examined young children’s music preferences through group conversations with children, interviews with parents, and nonparticipant observation of classroom settings in daycare and elementary classrooms. Data were analyzed inductively to generate themes, and revealed that (1) children expressed distinct preferences for an eclectic range of music from very early ages; (2) rock and popular music were frequently mentioned as preferred styles by parents and children, with movie and television soundtracks high in popularity; (3) music listening was characterized by a reliance on diverse technologies, with listening inextricably interwoven with viewing; and (4) music listening and experiences in the home described by children and parents varied considerably from what was offered in the school and daycare settings. Findings from this study contribute to an understanding of young children’s music preferences and listening habits in contemporary Western society.

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