Music and Human and Social Development


The Music and Human and Social Development curricular unit aims to:

1. Acquire knowledge related to theoretical proposals on musical development in early childhood;

2.Understand the relationship between music and language in early childhood;

3. Develop the ability to analyze vocalizations produced in the context of musical practice;

4. Acquire relevant skills for musical intervention with children with special educational needs.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mariana Barreiros Vences


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language



Not applicable.


Deliége, I. & Sloboda, J. (Eds.) (1996). Musical Beginnings: Origins and Development of Musical Competence. Oxford University Press.
Reigado, J. (2013). Desenvolvimento vocal na infância: análise acústica de vocalizações de bebés face a estímulos musicais e linguísticos durante o segundo ano de vida. Tese de Doutoramento em Ciências Musicais (orientação da Professora Helena Rodrigues). NOVA FCSH.
Reigado, J. & Rodrigues, H. (2018). Vocalizations produced in the second year of life in response to speaking and singing. Psychology of Music, 46 (5), 626-637.
Rodrigues, H. & Reigado, J. (2016). Voz cantada e voz falada no germinar da comunicação humana: Estudo sobre vocalizações de bebés no segundo ano de vida.  In Ecos de Opus Tutti - Arte para a Infância e Desenvolvimento Social e Humano, pp. 187 - 215. FCG.
Trehub, S. E., & Gudmundsdottir, H. R. (2015). Mothers as singing mentors for infants. In G. F. Welch, D. M. Howard, & J. Nix (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of singing. Oxford Uni Pr.

Teaching method

Theoretical-practical lessons. It is intended to provide students with general knowledge about psychological development in childhood and specific knowledge about musical development from 0 to 5 years old. Practical and dynamic group activities will also be proposed. The observation of videos reactive to musical interventions in childhood aims to develop students' ability to listen and analyze vocalizations, especially in early childhood. The observation (in a real context) of a musical intervention with children with special educational needs will also allow to consolidate specific knowledge and reflect on appropriate pedagogical practices.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Analysis of the interaction observed in an excert of a video from "Madrinhas de Colo" project.(50%), Critical analysis of the references indicated for each class (1-2 pages; to be delivered in the next class).(50%)

Subject matter

I. Musical Development in Early Childhood

  • Biological and cultural origins of children's musicality;

  • Theoretical proposals: Presentation, discussion and comparison.

II. Music, Cognition and Language

  • Perception of elements of speech and music in childhood;

  • Addressing issues related to special educational needs;

  • Practical examples of musical intervention with children with special educational needs.

III. Use of voice in early childhood

  • Characteristics of the first vocalizations;

  • Analysis of children's musical vocalizations;

  • Real-time observation;

  • Audio versus video discrimination;

  • Registration and encoding programs.