Connections between children's feelings of social inclusion and their musical backgrounds

Tiija Rinta, Ross Purves, Graham Welch, Stephanie Stadler Elmer, Raffaela Bissig



Social inclusion is considered to be a key element in maintaining a balanced society (such as in preventing high rates of unemployment). Music and arts programmes in communities have been found to facilitate feelings of social inclusion in citizens, in particular amongst the youth. The exact influence of such activities on social inclusion is not known, however, nor are there any formal, empirically-tested comprehensive assessment instruments for the concept. The current study (see footnote 1) explored the connections between children’s musical backgrounds and their feelings of social inclusion, as well as developed and tested an instrument for assessing social inclusion with children. Data were gathered with 110  8-11year-old children in the UK and Finland. Statistical analysis was carried out on the social inclusion instrument in order to assess its reliability, validity and effectiveness. Statistical analysis was also conducted on potential connections between the children’s musical background factors and their feelings of social inclusion. The results indicated that the new instrument can be used in educational and clinical settings with children when assessing their feelings of social inclusion. In addition, children felt more socially included when they played a musical instrument or sang with their family or friends every few days.     


Key words: migrant children; musical activities; assessment instrument

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