"Music is Movement: A Study into Aspects of Movement Representation of Musical Activities among Preschool Children in a Dutch Music Education Setting". 2010
Musical activities are at the centre of Music on the Lap, a Dutch approach to early childhood music education. The present study takes an in-depth look at the role of movement in these musical activities and thereby focuses on the representation of musical elements through movement. This study has among its aims the raising of more awareness for the conscious use of movement in early childhood music education. Departing from an embodied approach within an interpretative design, the premise of the current study is that movement should be considered an important form of kinaesthetic representation through which preschool children can come to understand and learn different aspects of music. The musical movement responses of children aged 18 to 36 months in a regular Music on the Lap setting were investigated. The musical movement behaviour of the children, during specific musical activities, was captured on DVD and the individual responses of 27 children were analysed. Interviews with the participating teacher provided important additional information. Through microanalysis of the children’s movements, the study arrived at a theoretical interpretation: movement responses to music can be considered enactive symbols, creating direct and indirect representations of musical characteristics. To further musical learning the movements should be firmly based in a temporal framework of aural and verbal connotations in order to stimulate purposeful movement responses. This temporal framework should be structured by the teacher through a process of appropriate movement models and verbal guidance to arrive at meaningful movement actions, which can consequently generate implicit and explicit musical kinaesthetic and musical representational knowledge. In this process the children are actively participating to construct with body and mind their own musical knowledge.
2018 "Shaping Time". Presentation at the MERYC- England conference, Bristol. November 10th.
2017 “Children’s Home Musical Experiences Across the World” symposium June 12, Conference Sociology of Music Education, London. Beatriz Ilari, Theano Koutsoupidou, José Retra, Susan Young
2016 “Innovative collaboration” in early childhood music education.” Poster presentation PMEgroup - José Retra, Laura Habegger, Anna Pileri, Jessica Pitt. ECME 17 July - 22 July 2016, Ede, The Netherlands.
2016 “Art with a Big A.” Poster/concert presentation Ukkepuk concerten - José Retra & Margré van Gestel. ECME 17 July - 22 July 2016, Ede, The Netherlands.
2014 "Bringing Live Music to Young Children. Concerts for children aged 0 - 4 in the Netherlands." Co-author Margré van Gestel. Paper presented at the 16th Early Childhood Music education Seminar (ECME) 15 - 19 July 2014, Brasilia, Brazil.
2013 Co-editor with Jessica Pitt of the
“Proceedings of the 6th Conference of the European Network of Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children” (MERYC). The Hague, The Netherlands.
2013 "Making it tangible. A process of translating early childhood music education activities into contemporary designs." Paper presented by José Retra, Laura Habegger and Margré van Gestel at the 5th MERYC conference in The Hague, The Netherlands.
2012 "A Song - What's next?" Workshop with Margré van Gestel 30thISME World Conference July2012 Thessaloniki, Greece
2011 "Keeping the beat: Temporal representation in Early Childhood Music Education" Paper presentation at the 4th MERYC conference in Helsinki, Finland.
2009 "About Ducks and Hands and Feet" Demonstration at the 4th MERYC conference in Bologna, Italy
2009 "Movement Representation in Early Childhood Music Education" Poster presentation at the 4th MERYC conference in Bologna, Italy
2009 "Muziek is Beweging" Paper presented at the Derde conferentie Onderzoek in Cultuureducatie 22 juni, Nederland.
2008 "Music is Movement" Paper presentation at the Second European Conference on Developmental Psychology of Music, Roehampton University, UK
2008 "Music is Movement" Poster presentation at the 13th Early Childhood Music education Seminar (ECME) 14-19 July, Frascati, Rome, Italy
2007 "Closing the Gap: Connecting Practice and Research in Early Childhood Music Education with parent-child groups in the Netherlands" Presentation with Margré van Gestel MERYC Conference June 26th – 28th 2007 University of Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus.
2007 "Provisional results from a Study into the Developmental Aspects of Movement Representation of Musical Activities of Preschool Children in a Dutch Music Educational Setting." RIME conference Exeter April 10th - 14th 2007
2006 "Aspects of Musical Movement Representation in Dutch Early Childhood Music Education." ICMPC - 9th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. Bologna 22 Augustus - 26 Augustus.
2005 "Musical Movement Responses in Early Childhood Music Education Practice in The Netherlands." MERYC, Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children Conference 4 - 5 April at the University of Exeter.
2004 "Early childhood music education in the Netherlands: Music on the lap in relation to musical and emotional development." Conference Music in the Early Years: communication, cognition and the development of the self. Sept. 10th 2004 North Umbria University Newcastle
2003 “Why to conduct research in Early Childhood Music Education, in relation to the situation of Music on the Lap: Early Childhood Music courses in the Netherlands. MERYC inaugural conference Copenhagen.