Music and The Child

Genevieve Pastena

Book cover image depicts a black cover with yellow font color. On the lower left of the cover are music notes.

Sarrazin, N. (2016). Music and the Child .OpenSuny.

Reviewed by:  Genevieve Pastena, Lehman College


The OER I chose to evaluate is Music and the Child by Natalie Sarrazin Ph.D. (an Associate Professor of Music at the College of Brockport, SUNY). It was published by Open SUNY textbooks and made possible by a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant.

This textbook discusses the importance and benefits of music education in a child’s cognitive development. The book thoroughly explains how the implementation of music education in the classroom is vital for a child’s early stages of development as it enhances their overall language acquisition and pragmatic skills. The book goes on to demonstrate examples of diverse songs and music genres (for example, Mongolian throat singing) that can be culturally enriching for all children. It also considers children with disabilities and/or behavioral disorders and the benefits music education could have on their mental health. All in all, this book really forces one to consider and explore music as an asset and a vital tool in academic institutions.  It is licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC BY-NC-SA).


Content: Overall, this textbook is clear, concise, and easy to understand as it thoroughly explains the material without the usage of overly complex terminology. Thus, I would say that it is at a high school reading level. The content is accurate as there was much historical and scientific research that was involved in the overall development of this book. Natalie Sarrazin is also a music professor, thus, it is clear that she has some level of expertise in the topic of music and its overall effect on cognitive development. The research examples used were relevant and effective in stimulating a better understanding of the material given. There are big brightly colored images, images of musical notes in different songs with the accompanying lyrics, engaging activities in which the reader can participate, and youtube video links that demonstrate diverse singing styles. All of these elements are necessary and relevant to the main points the author is trying to make throughout the entire textbook. The book included methods on how to approach and instill musically-involved exercises. There was also research on the history of certain well-known children’s songs that are still commonly known today.

Structure, Organization, & Technical: The textbook is offered in a free Word document format and as a hard copy for $11.50 on Amazon (the link is provided in the description). As soon as the individual presses the “download” option, the Word document is automatically downloaded and can be saved on one’s computer or laptop. The textbook is divided into 13 chapters which are all provided, with their accompanying titles, in the table of contents. There is also an “about” section which gives a detailed description of what points the author will make throughout the textbook.

Images & Interactive Features: There is an abundance of pictures (some are black and white while others are brightly colored) and YouTube links provided. The images are big enough to be seen clearly and relate to the topics in which they are being discussed. However, some images are too large for the document, thus they look somewhat distorted, which is distracting for the reader as it makes it difficult to see clearly. Links for YouTube videos are provided and can all be easily watched when clicking the links (takes you directly to the videos). There are also some activities that the reader can engage in easily as they can type into the actual textbook since it is in a Word document format. This also means that the reader can also be more interactive within the text since they will be able to do things such as writing down notes and highlighting sentences they think are important. The author also poses questions, which allow the reader to think deeply and reflect.

Social Justice & Equity: The textbook provides a great array of diverse music genres and styles that are specifically suggested by the author to be studied and, overall, implemented in classrooms. Not only did the author discuss the different music styles and genres within diverse cultural groups, but she also provided examples of these styles, some of which are shown in the YouTube videos provided. One example of this is a YouTube video of a man teaching a class the art of “Khoomei” which is a type of “throat-singing” typically performed in the Turco-Mongolian culture. The author also provides quotes from global individuals and resources (one example is a verse from the Quran). The textbook also has a chapter devoted entirely to the overall discussion of multiculturalism and diversity. The textbook also addresses the differences in schooling approaches within diverse countries/cultures around the world. There is also research/information on how an educator can approach the implementation of musical exercises and activities for children with disabilities (ADHD, ADD, impulsive disorders, behavioral disorders, Autism, etc.) The author also recognizes her contributors and resources that were involved in the process of writing her textbook. She includes annotations of these contributors/resources throughout the textbook.

Accessibility: This textbook is only freely accessible for those with electronic devices at home as it can be easily downloaded as a Word document. However, once the Word document is downloaded, it can also be printed. The book is also available as a hard copy through Amazon and the price is not expensive ($11.50). However, one’s view of the price of the book is subjective to their own personal circumstances. The YouTube links and other links available would not work in a hard copy version making it potentially less useful for readers engaging with the text in a printed format. The Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-SA) is under the book’s information, which also shows that the work cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Supplemental Materials: The supplemental activities included seem to encourage a reader to think critically and independently. The activities are a great asset to the textbook overall. Some activities that are provided are guided thinking questions. For example, one question, in particular, asked, “How much do you know about your favorite children’s songs?” These types of questions allow the reader to think about music education in their own personal experience. The writer acknowledges that all individuals come from different cultural backgrounds, thus, the music we learn as children will vary as well. This is an extremely engaging and inclusive activity. Another example of an activity that was mentioned in the book are multiple-choice questions that test one’s knowledge of music. This is another engaging activity that allows the reader to thoroughly learn the diverse aspects of music.

Overall Review

I believe that this source is extremely informative and can be useful for any teacher who wants to advocate for the implementation of music/musical activities to stimulate cognitive development. Overall, I feel that this OER not only includes westernized examples of music/songs but also music styles from other parts of the world (Africa and Mongolia, for example), thus, advocating for inclusivity and acknowledgment of diverse cultural groups. However, it is unclear to me if all of the contributors to this book were from diverse backgrounds. If they were not, I believe that the author should ask for more input in order to confirm or adjust the information that is provided within the text. This OER is definitely easily accessible and can be easily maneuvered. However, if printed, I don’t feel the reader would be receiving the same experience in comparison to the experience one would receive if read on a Word document. This is because there are different YouTube links and other links/resources, in general, that are only accessible online. The source itself has both colored and black and white pictures that are largely displayed. However, there are some images that look distorted on the Word document. Despite some of the things lacking in this OER, I would recommend it to someone to consider it and read it to increase their knowledge about music and the child.



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Evaluating OER for Social Justice Copyright © 2022 by Genevieve Pastena is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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