Published Date2020-01-01
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education, 2020-01-01, Volume 67 Find other publications in this journal
Author Info
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, USA


Collective music making has been associated with the emergence of prosocial behaviors in children and adults. Yet, the associations between participation in early childhood music education programs and prosocial skills in young children remain elusive. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine how children with varied amounts of music participation—in a formal program and in the home—performed in two prosocial tasks (i.e., instrumental helping and sharing) and how their parents rated their prosocial tendencies and interests for music. Thirty-six children (ages between 3 and 4 years) with varied amounts of participation in an early childhood music program completed prosocial tasks of instrumental helping and sharing. Results indicated that there were no significant age or sex differences in children’s prosocial responses. Instrumental sharing was positively correlated with time spent in the music program. Sharing scores, in turn, correlated with children’s active musical participation and parental prosocial ratings. These findings are discussed in light of theories of musical and prosocial development in childhood.