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Reggio’s arpeggio : an autoethnographic tale of a music teacher’s explorations with Reggio Emilia Yanko, Matthew


The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education has been globally recognized by educators and researchers as the most exceptional example of quality early education (Gardner, 1999; Kantrowitz & Wingert, 1991). However, within this approach there is a strong emphasis on the visual arts that in turn has diminished opportunities for children to participate in music activities. Andress (1998) was the first to expose the lack of music in this approach, and her concern was echoed by Matthews (2000), O’Hagin (2007), Vuckovic & Nyland (2010), and Smith (2011). As a result of this void, the present investigation explores the philosophies and practices of the Reggio Emilia approach within a kindergarten to grade seven elementary school music program. Specifically, I examine the role of the child, the role of the teacher, the environment as a third teacher, multiple forms of knowing, the role of documentation, and the Atelier. I use an autoethnographic approach to implement, reflect, and document this experience. I not only discover that Reggio Emilia can be successful within a music classroom setting, but argue that these philosophies and practices are of great importance to understanding new ways in which music educators can benefit from this approach beyond the scope of traditional programs and approaches to music with children. By adapting this approach to a music setting in grades higher than the early childhood years, my research extends the current Reggio literature. I not only present my struggles during this experience, but also explain how to supersede challenges and draw from the strengths of this approach that were exposed within the scope of my music program.

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