Mutuality, belonging, and meaning-making: pathways to developing young boys’ competence and creativity in singing and song-making

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Singing would appear to be ubiquitous in human experience. From the earliest moments of life infants engage in vocalizations and song-life behaviours that may be viewed as the precursors to more developed singing behaviours. Whilst these early vocal behaviours are not necessarily differentiated by gender on the part of the infant, it has been noted that adult vocal behaviours in response to infants is shaped by knowledge of the gender of the infant. Gendered vocal behavior has been recorded in the singing of children in the early years of school. Generally this research has focused on children’s singing of known song. Little research has taken children’s invented song-making into account. In this chapter I propose that young children’s invented song-making plays a crucial role not only in their early musical development but also in their early world-making and identity work. Through a case study of the invented song-making of a 3 year old boy I explore the meaning and function of invented song-making in his life, and propose that through such activity he is engaged in creating a sense of mutuality and belonging with others, and making meaning of his world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Males and Singing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789400726604
ISBN (Print)9789400726598
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Song-making
  • Vocal behaviour

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