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A roundup of our Music & Storytelling campaign and the conclusions everyone came to

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Over the last four months we’ve held a wonderful campaign aiming to celebrate and explore the relationship between children, music and stories. We contacted experts in all kinds of areas such as authors, illustrators, teachers, and librarians as well as parents and asked them the same two questions:

What do you think about the role of music in children’s lives and its relationship to stories?
What song do you remember from your childhood?

We had a huge range of fantastic responses. Everyone had a lovely childhood memory of music and song to share, and everyone had something different to say about the role that music has in children’s lives, and how it relates to stories. So, to round-up this wonderful campaign, we wanted to share some of the things which came up again and again.

Without stories and pictures and music, children will starve

One of the most powerful messages of the campaign, was the sentiment we used from Philip Pullman, taken from an article on the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award website, to kick-start it. Art, music and stories provide nourishment for children’s souls. They need them just as much as they need everything else!

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. Many children in every part of the world are starved for something that feeds and nourishes their soul in a way that nothing else ever could or ever would. We say, correctly, that every child has a right to food and shelter, to education, to medical treatment, and so on. We must understand that every child has a right to the experience of culture. We must fully understand that without stories and poems and pictures and music, children will starve.

Philip Pullman

Music is a language we all understand 

Pippa Goodhart

But what is it that makes music so important? Well, with music, song and dance there are no barriers: they connect people from across the world. Music’s power to connect and unify us is something which quite a lot of the responses picked up on.

Just as with pictures, music is a language we can all access without having to understand a particular language.

Pippa Goodhart

Music doesn’t leave anyone out. This makes it perfect for allowing us to create powerful relationships with people who don’t speak the same language as us.

Music is a powerful magic, a universal language of the human soul.

Sophie Anderson

Music demolishes barriers to communication; no matter how young (or old) you are, it gives you a platform to express yourself. Unfettered by words to learn, and rules to follow, music allows pure expression of emotion. Perhaps that’s why so many people that we asked, felt that it was magical.

James Mayhew: this is me, narrating and illustrating a performance of Scheherazade with a live orchestra – that childhood love, led to a career!

Music is in all of us!  It is a universal language, reaching children in all cultures to tell potent stories, of history, fairy tale and legend!

James Mayhew

Music and memory 

The link between music and memory is already very well-established: music helps you to remember things. It also has the ability to transport you to another place or time. Hearing a song on the radio can bring back memories of hazy summers spent with family, or chilly winters full of celebration.

When I hear music from my childhood I can instantly remember the place I was, the room I was sitting, the wallpaper, the people I was with, the smells, and the feelings that I had back then.

David Litchfield

Lorna Gutierrez
Lorna Gutierrez

But what does music do for children? Music can be the place where memories are born. We asked everyone which song, or piece of music they most remembered from their childhood. Often these recollections weren’t limited to the song itself, but to the childhood attached to these memories. From the feeling of stacking ‘liquorice black disks’ into a turntable, to songs whose words have lost all meaning except for the memory of the sounds they made, there is a whole world encompassed in music.

Music often invokes memories in adults but, as children, it’s where many of the memories get cemented.

Lorna Gutierrez


Music helps children to love reading 

Not only do music and stories often go hand in hand; music can also help children to discover the joys of reading. They so often exist apart, but perhaps bringing some music and rhythm to story-time can bring boundless fun and creativity. Think of Shakespeare! So often we read his plays from a book in our heads, ignoring the beautiful sounds that the sentences make. Stories are meant to be sung, acted and, above all, felt.

Dom Conlon

As a poet, the importance of music in a child’s life is part of what helps them learn to enjoy reading.

Dom Conlon

We can’t ignore the rhythm and music of reading. To do, would be to miss out an a huge part of the magic. Music makes reading fun, and exciting, which is, perhaps, something that bedtime stories are sorely missing at times.

Putting music and stories together helps children to learn to love reading and books and can have a positive impact on the way they view reading; not just a chore at school but something fun, fantastic and magical.

Michelle Path

All the responses celebrate music and stories as something wonderful, that can bring infinite gifts to children. Everyone found the relationship between Music & Storytelling to be a powerful and interconnected one. We hope you enjoyed our Music & Storytelling campaign as much as we did.

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