The allocation of free-play time in an early childhood curriculum provides opportunities for child-centred learning and gives children a chance to explore safely the world around them. However, previous literature suggests that the beneficial use background music during free-play time is contested and that further research would be useful. A specially designed survey was sent to teachers in Seoul, Kyoung-gi, and Choong-chung provinces in South Korea by e-mail and supplemented post-survey by n=12 in-depth interviews. Data from n=127 surveys were gathered for final analyses. The responses were divided into two main categories: the case for the use of background music during free-play time and the case against. The numbers of teachers in each category were similar. 54% of teachers reported using background music for children’s free-play time and transitions, both in accordance with children’s preferences and also to facilitate a musical sound environment for children’s play; however, 46% of teachers did not use background music because of a perception that it would create noise problems in the classroom. Selected background music tended to be of medium tempi, with or without lyrics, often calm and quiet, with medium or soft dynamics. Music choices related to the perceived mood of the music, children’s perceived preferences, and the music’s relationships to a chosen educational theme. The majority of teachers who used background music during free-play time reported that this was also helpful in the learning of songs or to support content-related curricular themes.
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