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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Beng Huat See

See, B.H. & Ibbotson, L. (2018). A feasibility study of the impact of the Kodály-inspired music programme on the developmental outcomes of four to five year olds in England. International Journal of Educational Research 89: 10-21.

Author(s) from Durham


The Kodaly approach to music is a fun and interactive way to introduce music to young children. There is currently some evidence suggesting that this approach to music training can have beneficial effects on children. No rigorous studies, however, have been conducted to test its effects on very young children. This paper presents the results of a pilot study investigating the impact of the Kodály approach to music on the developmental outcomes of 56 pre-school children in one school in the North East of England. Children were individually randomized to either the intervention or to a delayed control group. Progress was measured using the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) set out in the National Curriculum. Data collected across the ELGs over two terms indicate that on almost all measures the treatment children outperformed control children in terms of social-emotional and behavioural development (ES = +0.71 for behaviour; ES = 0.32 for self-confidence; ES = 0.43 for relations). No effects were observed for writing after one term (ES = 0). Small improvements were observed after two terms (ES = +0.4). For reading, intervention children performed worse than control after one term (ES = −0.16), but after two terms they caught up with the control children (ES = +0.03). Progress in number skills was maintained after two terms (ES = +0.3). The small sample weakens the conclusion that we can make, but the results suggest promise. The trial also shows that teachers can be effectively trained to deliver the programme.