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The SALT Music Project

SALTMusic is an exciting action research project funded by children’s music charity Youth Music, which aims to explore shared practice between speech and language therapy and early years’ music practitioners.

Based at the Great Yarmouth Community Trust in Norfolk, our project has involved bringing these different practitioners together in sessions for young children with communication difficulties, to see how their practice could be shaped for the better. Multiple terms of musical and playful sessions have been held since the project started, which involved encouraging participants to express themselves in a relaxed environment where there is no pressure to speak.

Our work has been about exploring a shared repertoire; we are pursuing a joint enterprise where we are bravely negotiating new meaning in our community of practice (Wenger, 1998). It therefore naturally follows that much of our work has been experimental and has evolved as the team grew to understand each other’s practice. Structurally, it came about that our sessions were in two parts: a free-play and a more led group-time, and this music based practice was directly shaped by practitioner, parent, and child. Our cycles of plan-do-review were incredibly reflective; every week we would look in depth at every child’s behaviour, which directly guided our termly reflection.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

SALTMusic is ‘ALIVE’

We focus on the ALIVE acronym as a success criteria for children in our sessions:


Attention is a fundamental part of all practice and learning. One strategy for our practice that has arisen from ‘attention’ is OWL, which stands for Observe, Wait, Listen. Practitioners copy and extend children’s motifs through patience and pauses.



A form of release that appears to increase language development, which is encouraged through freeplay.


SALTMusic looks at how the child interacts with their peers, parents, and practitioners through both freeplay and group work.


We look at any manifestation of vocalisation, from single words, to singing, and symbolic noises.


Is anything such as natural gestures, single signs, rhythmic activity, and actions to song. Communication at this young age is expressed through bodily movement, as well as through sound.
We have recently developed this approach to success and we believe it can develop our project in an exciting way. We look forward to seeing where it will take us!

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