2-2 | The Musical Playground: Global Tradition and Change in Children's Songs and Games

New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. References, appendices, notes, index. 448 pp. $29.95 paper. ISBN: 9780195308981
Victoria Stevens

In The Musical Playground, ethnomusicologist Kathryn Marsh issues a challenge to educators, music teachers, and all adults invested in the creative development of children, to question long-held, entrenched assumptions and beliefs about children's musical development, metacognitive abilities, and creativity and the importance of play. Marsh believes that the pervasive distinction between the playground and the classroom has had a negative effect on the full development of the creative potential of children and has resulted from adult-centered perceptions of child development that have created theoretical blinders. She presents a compelling case in general for taking the play of children seriously and in particular for recognizing the creative, cognitive, linguistic, and kinesthetic complexities of children's spontaneous musical play from all over the world. As evidence for her argument, Marsh presents carefully observed, documented, and analyzed data from her fifteen-year, cross-cultural study of children's musical play in schools both urban and rural from remote locations in Australia to sites in the United Kingdom, Norway, the United States, and South Korea.