Experiencing Folk Music in Children

Konstanca Zalar


Through everyday exposure to language and music, individuals within a nation become sensitive to the melodic and rhythmical structure of their folk musical culture. It represents improvisational abilities of individuals and groups as well. Despite all changes, it indisputably maintains all characteristic of music parameters as inheritance of past ages. Due to its social role, it appears throughout everyone’s life – and it also represents an important part of children’s life. In the study that was carried out with two groups of children between six and nine years of age, we were interested in determining how do children experience music making with elements of folk music and how it is possible to create the circumstances which can provide the spontaneity of folk music within the structured environment (like primary school). The research was designed as a phenomenological case study. This method allowed us to gather data which provided a deeper insight into the ways in which participants are able to play using elements of folk music and the way they feel while using such material. The results show that, contrary to the basic fact of spontaneity in folk music, 6 and 7 year old participants were not able to use music parameters to play with and had yet to learn how does the symbolic play on the basis of communication in musical language work out. The most natural way to bridge the gap between “learning” songs and experiencing individual musical expression in a manner of folk music in children seems to be a creative work with lyrics in Slovene language. We also found that children develop social competences of a great value, when they are involved in a symbolic play with folk music elements in the improvisational mode.


Key words: folk music; improvisation; music language; music making

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15516/cje.v22i0.3852


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