The Active Musical Room: Fostering Sensorimotor Discoveries and Musical Creativity in Toddlers

Alicia Peñalba*, Lucio Martínez-Álvarez, Andrea Schiavio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the current study, we investigate the implementation of a musical workshop in an early childhood education setting. The workshop is based on a shared space for musical creativity (the Active Musical Room) comprising six different musically relevant objects, which toddlers were free to explore and play with. Inspired by Delalande’s Pedagogie musicale d’éveil, the workshop was facilitated by a teacher who developed strategies to help the toddlers’ musical engagement. Data sources for this case study included semistructured interviews with the teacher and school principal, video recordings of each session, field notes and observations made by nonparticipant observers, and questionnaires completed by parents of the toddlers. Categories concerning three interrelated dimensions of interest emerged from our analyses: the decisions of the teacher, the affordances of the objects in the room, and the creative potential of each toddler. Although generalizations cannot be proposed given the nature of the study, our results point to the recursive interplay between the exploratory drive of the toddlers, their sensorimotor ability, and the constraints afforded by the environment in which they are situated (i.e., teachers, objects).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-151
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • early infancy
  • embodied cognition
  • music education
  • musical creativity
  • musical development

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