In this episode I chat with Allison Cameron, who is completing a PhD at the University of Wollongong. Her research has looked at the effects of a children’s music education program upon the language development of 4 and 5 year-olds. The music program is called Tuning In – it’s part of the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra, based in Nowra on the NSW south coast.

 Although Allison’s research focuses on preschool-aged children, there’s so much relevance in it to music teaching in the early primary years. She would love to be able to communicate about her research and the wider benefits of well-structured and implemented music programs. 


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Episode highlights: 

  • Allison’s research into the effects of a children’s music education program on language development  4 & 5 year olds.
  • The ‘Tuning-In’ program in the shoalhaven area – to increase pool of students playing instruments (to join orchestra)
  • Seeing language development problems in pre-school.
  • Developing a way to research the effects of a music program on preschool children.
  • 4 preschools – two of which became ‘Tuning in’ schools.
  • Testing for phonological awareness.
  • Improvements in communication.
  • Music making is a social practice and provides a framework for building relationships.
  • Playing music in a group is the ultimate team sport and builds self-esteem.
  • Telling stories with instruments.
  • Babies, language and singing.

About Allison

  • Allison Cameron has been a private and classroom music teacher but her career took an unplanned detour from education into the community sector running a supported playgroups program. In this role, Allison worked with many children with language development difficulties. The children’s responses to music sessions in the playgroups piqued her interest in researching this area by bringing together her passions for music, language and literacy. She commenced her PhD research at the University of Wollongong in 2016 and aims to finish writing up her thesis by the end of 2019.
    Allison has been involved with the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra in a range of roles for almost 15 years, and has taught in the orchestra’s Tuning In program since its inception in 2014. Allison teaches music in the Bachelor of Education (The Early Years) degree at UOW and is passionate that high quality music education should be available to every child from early childhood to primary and secondary schooling.

Allison Cameron – LinkedIn

Allison’s research: 



  • In short, yes, it appears it does!  

To read more, download the pdf here

If you’d like to know more please email me at 

©Allison Cameron 2019 4 

For discussions and info, visit

Or address us directly with questions, suggestions or hints & tips:

Hints & Tips from practicing teachers (free takeaway)

We have a great little rhythm game for you, recommended by Murray Scholtz, from South Australia. It’s called ‘Pass the Beat Around’ and it can be viewed here:


How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations?  Jane Swan


Eels with pasta – Giacomo Puccini 

By the time he was living in Torre del Lago, Puccini was a wealthy man. He formed a Club Bohème where he would cook pasta with eels for his male friends or roast them pheasant and partridge that he’d shot at the lakeside. One friend recorded that after much Toscano wine Puccini would organise farting competitions.

Ingredients (for 2 people) 

 – Eels (or substitute, 150 gr) 

– 5-6 cherry tomatoes 

– 3 garlic cloves 

– Laminated mushrooms (about 200 gr) 

– 1 red pepper 

– Pasta (your favorite choice) 

 Start cutting one red pepper in half, remove the threads and cut on to stripes. Cut the stripes in half. Add the red pepper on an oven tray, add salt and cook in the oven at 350ºF (180º C) for ½ hour.

The original idea was to use the liquid drop by the pepper while cooking on the oven for preparing remaining steps, but this pepper didn’t drop enough liquid. Once the pepper is cooked have a pot with boiling water and add olive oil in a pan.

When oil is hot add laminated and clean mushrooms in the pan, add salt and stir. Then add salt and the pasta in the pot. Stir the mushrooms frequently and add more oil if the pan gets dry.

After 5 minutes add 3 garlic cloves sliced, 5 – 6 cherry tomatoes cut in half and the eels and mix all.

Cook for 3 minutes, then add the red pepper mix well and drain the pasta. Add drained pasta on the pan mix well and you’re done. 


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