From small stories: laying the foundations for narrative identities in and through music

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


How do musical identities begin? In what ways do infants and young children draw on music in their identity work and world-making? What role does music play in their identity work and world-making? These questions underpin the arguments presented in this chapter, focussing in particular on the ways in which musical narratives, in the form of invented and known song-making and performance may be employed in the identity work of infants and young children. When we acknowledge that identities may be performed as well as told, we also acknowledge that narration of self may be enacted and performed as well as spoken. Music provides a rich medium for the narrative construction and communication of identity. The chapter proposes young children’s early song and music-making may be viewed as “small” stories, which are employed as a means of constructing and “telling” identity to self and others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Musical Identities
EditorsRaymond MacDonald, David J. Hargreaves, Dorothy Miell
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780199679485
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Small stories
  • narrative identity
  • invented song-making
  • invented songs
  • motherese
  • parentese
  • communicative musicality

Cite this