10 Reasons Why Music Belongs in Every Child’s Home

In a Kindermusik Family Time class, we start each class by singing: “We’re a musical family so clap along and sing with me…” We ARE a musical family and we think every family should be a musical family, too! We believe that because of the way that music impacts children in profound ways, for now and for life, but it’s also because music can be a go-to parenting tool throughout the day.

And by the way, creating a musical home doesn’t mean both parents have won Grammys, received a diploma from Julliard, or even know any of the top Broadway tunes. It simply means listening to music, appreciating and enjoying music, and actively engaging in musical activities throughout the day.

10 reasons why we think music belongs in every child’s home

1. Children naturally and instinctively express thoughts and feelings through movement and music. 

Watch your baby’s eyes light up as you dance and sing “Skinnamarink” to her. Or listen in on your child’s play time… chances are you might catch your little one singing or humming to themselves. For some entertainment, see what happens when you start playing some of your child’s favorite music. There will almost always be some kind of response!

2. Music provides children a method of communication long before they can speak.

This is an amazing video of a 3-month-old baby “singing” back to her mom. Wait for it… this little one really gets going once she gets warmed up!

baby singing video
3. Singing makes children (and grown-ups!) feel happy.

And it’s not just because you’re singing your favorite song. The act of singing actually releases “feel good” hormones in the brain. Singing also makes us feel good because it is usually a social activity – singing with family, singing with friends in a Kindermusik class, or even singing in a chorus or choir.

4. Music builds a child’s confidence.

Learning to sing, dance, and play instruments gives a child a confidence unlike any other activity. Perhaps it’s because music can be such personal self-expression or because making music with others feels so rewarding.  Either way, children who have taken music classes are more confident as individuals and as learners.

5. It’s good for their brains.

From language skills to early literacy skills to math skills, music supports healthy cognitive development with a proven positive impact when compared to children with less music in their lives.

6. Listening to a wide variety of musical styles and genres teaches children about the world around them.

As a reflection of ourselves and of our culture, music all around the world is distinct and diverse. But it also tells a story… the story of our past, our present, and even of our future.  Diversity in musical listening encourages children to be creative, open-minded, and inquisitive.

7. Music creates memories.

From quietly humming a lullaby to bouncing a child in time to the beat of a song to singing a certain tune at dinnertime to get a child to open up, music knits together those everyday family moments.

This morning routine repeats itself in bedrooms around the world—snuggling in bed and singing songs.

musical morning routine
8. Music supports a child’s fine and gross motor skills development.

Exploring and playing all kinds of instruments – from shaking and tapping baby-safe bells to grasping the mallets to play the glockenspiel – develops those fine motor skills so crucial for writing, tying shoes, or playing the violin someday. And what better way to learn to walk, jump, skip, or gallop than with music that inspires you to move in just those ways!

9. Music can create connections between the generations.

Musical styles may change from generation to generation, but a love for music never changes. Music is still the one thing we can all share and have in common. Music gives a way to be together, sing together, dance together, and make memories together.

10. Best of all… music and music-making is fun!

We must never overlook the obvious need for children (and families) to actively engage in joyous activities together, and there’s nothing like music to bring families together, put a smile on their faces, and happiness in their hearts.

Listz Music Education Quote
Want to bring more music into your home? Contact a local Kindermusik educator and visit a free class. All of our classes include materials for families to use together at home!

Music is a Laughing Matter

Children can easily find a reason to laugh—throwing a spoon on the floor, jumping into puddles, saying a made-up word, a dog eating popcorn. Hil-ar-ious!

You couldn’t help but laugh, right? Children literally bring more laughter into our lives by laughing 10x more each day than the average grown-up. (No wonder Peter Pan never wants to grow up!) All this laughter and silliness is actually teaching children what’s funny—and what isn’t. Support an older child’s growing sense of humor with these musical jokes. You might try the popcorn trick, too!

Musical Jokes to Put Kids on the Right Laugh Track

Why was the piano invented?
So the pianist would have a place to put her coffee.

What do you call a cow that can play a musical instrument?
A moo-sician

Music Joke What type of music are balloons scared of?
Pop music!

What makes music on your head?
A headband!

What part of the chicken is musical?
The drumstick!

Knock knock!
Who’s there?
Little old lady?
Little old lady who?
Wow! I didn’t know you could yodel!

Why did the singer climb a ladder?
She wanted to reach the high notes!

Looking for more ways to evoke laughter from kids? Try these silly Kindermusik songs! 

Put on Your Listening Ears!

Did you know the ear needs training in order to hear all of the different sounds? Auditory discrimination skills develop and sharpen through practice. It’s why in a Kindermusik class we may encourage children to listen intently to a certain sound and try to identify it. It’s one way to sharpen those listening skills!

Listening Game Exercises the Ear

This Listening Game activity from Kindermusik@Home will put those listening ears to the test…or at least give them a good workout! Get your listening ears ready—you’re going to need them! Listen to these short music clips and decide…are you hearing a solo, a duet, or a trio? By the way, the most challenging aspect of this activity isn’t understanding the concept of solo, duet, and trio. It’s actually hearing the different instruments within the musical piece.

Kindermusik@Home Listening Game

You can try this idea with other solo and duet musical pieces, too. First, identify whether you think one or two instruments are playing. Once you’ve strengthened that skill, it can be fun to try to identify the two different sounds in a duet. When choosing music for this extension activity, make selections that have very different instruments playing together. For example, a piano and a flute will be easier for your ear to separate than a cello and violin will be. The visual support provided by pictures (you can point at the piano while it plays, then point to the flute while it plays) will help a lot, too.

Kindermusik@HomeAll Kindermusik classes include activities and resources to extend the learning outside the classroom. Learn more about the educational activities created specifically for families to do together.

5 Common Misconceptions about Music

Before human beings spoke…before we defeated time and became immortal by drawing pictures on cave walls…we made music. Somewhere, one of our ancestors took a stick, hit a rock, and music was born. With this in mind, music is our birthright. But for some of us, we think it’s beyond our understanding or something we simply consume like popcorn at the movies. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about music…

1. Making music is for musicians only.

Well that’s just silly. The hardest step is always the first one. Can you bang on a can? Do Tone-Deafyou hum in the car or sing in the shower? Well – guess what? YOU are a musician! Just because you aren’t doing it for a living doesn’t mean you can consider yourself a musician. Think about it: Chorus America states there are about 42.6 million people singing approximately 270,000 choirs in the US. That is a lot of people. You could be one of them! If you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you can sing!

2. Music is a privilege.

No! Music is a necessity of the human condition – like food or breathing. Think about it – in some of our darkest moments – the concentration camps of WWII or slavery in the US – those people, just trying to survive – produced beautiful music! Music is not something for a select few simply because it’s fun (though the fun part is true). Music is a basic need, like food or water – it’s not a privilege. Music expresses that which can’t simply be said or written down – we need it. It crosses socio-economic and cultural divisions and brings people together. Remember this children’s orchestra in Paraguay? They play instruments made from recycled trash! Take a moment and imagine a world without music. No film scores…no songs on the radio…no rock bands…no singing in the shower. That is a boring, colorless world.

3. It’s too early to start learning about music – or too late!

Scientists constantly tell us the benefits of music – and it’s never too early get children involved. Take a look at how these 11 month old twins respond to their Dad’s guitar playing. They’re movin’, man! They are engaged! They are connected to each other and their parents through the music! Are your kids banging on pans? Let them! They are figuring out sounds and making neurological connections in their brains – real “science-y” stuff. But back to the kids – you can see them light up when the music starts. This is a no-brainer. Early is better but it’s never too late. (Here are the twins a year later, still dancing to the music with a more developed sense of steady beat!)

4. I’m tone deaf.

Lies and slander! Okay – there is an extremely small percentage – ridiculously small as to be statistically insignificant – that is biologically tone deaf. For you two people – you can be drummers! The rest of you just think you are tone deaf. We convince ourselves we can’t do it so we don’t. And when you don’t do something regularly, it becomes a bit harder to do it well! Do you drive a car with a standard transmission? Can you tell the difference between your brother and sister when they call on the phone? Guess what? You aren’t tone deaf!

5. Music is only something I can do alone.

Science warning!!! Did you know that when a group of people sing together, their heartbeats sync! Amazing! Making music builds community in amazing ways. Getting together in groups to make music may be beneficial for our health. It certainly helps with socialization for young kids. It gets them out of their shells, interacting with others, building new friendships, all while sharpening the mind! Music for music’s sake is wonderful, but the science is real: a mind engaged by music yields a host of benefits beyond the wonderful joy of the art itself. And group musical instruction does much to help kids connect to others in a fun environment. Kindermusik is the perfect prescription from this music doctor; their music classes can make a world of difference for kids from birth!

Music class drumConsider this story – a group of kindergarteners were asked, “Who here can sing?” They ALL put their hands up. “I can sing!”…”Me, too! I’m really good!” That same group, three years later – asked the same question. About 20% fewer kids said they could sing. The same group three years later? Another 20% decide they can’t sing. By the time that group is in high school? Less than 15% might say they sing well. Why? Well – most of the time, it’s lack of encouragement. Get them involved early and encourage artist exploration! Now is the time!

Contact Kindermusik to learn how you can be part of an amazing experience for your child.

Contributed by Dr. Mark A. Boyle, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Seton Hill University. He is sought after nationwide as a guest conductor, soloist, and clinician.Dr. Mark A. Boyle

New Research: Cochlear Implant Users Feel the Beat in Music

Yes, music can evoke various feelings when we listen to it. But, what about if you can’t hear it? Imagine experiencing music without hearing music. Take a look at a performance by this group of deaf percussionists from Singapore. They hear the music through their whole bodies as they experience the beat!

ExtraOrdinary Horizons plays us a beat
This is exactly what researchers hoped to confirm in a recent study conducted at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research in Montreal – that even those with cochlear implants “…can enjoy a myriad of musical benefits if the composition significantly emphasizes the beat…”

Previously, many who used cochlear implants for profound hearing loss were given very little, if any, exposure to music or musical movement because the implants are deficient in transmitting the pitch and tone quality of music, and all that was heard through the implants was noise.

Fast forward to the study led by Dr. Jessica Phillips-Silver.  Dr. Phillips-Silver’s premise proved correct.  By using music that emphasizes a beat, cochlear implant users experienced improvement not just in music perception, but also in language perception.  In writing about the research results, Dr. Phillips-Silver’s team asserted that not only could language use and understanding be improved by exposure to the beat in music, but there could also be corresponding improvement in “emotional and social quality of life.”

iStock_000003815422X girl clapping good beginning“We know that music training engages some brain plasticity — it refines the sense of rhythm, benefiting the perception of speech, so that may help them understand spoken language. But also there is so much enjoyment in music — a strong beat activates the joy of body movement,” Phillips-Silver says. “What we hear is what we feel and what we feel is what we hear.”

All of this supports research findings from this study done in 2007 which found that “…[c]hild implant users enjoy music more than adult implant users. Moreover, younger age at implantation increases children’s engagement with music, which may enhance their progress in other auditory domains.”

These exciting research findings confirm yet again the incredible power of music to touch not just our emotions, but to profoundly affect nearly every other part of our being – music is good for our brains, our bodies, our hearts, and our souls.

Here at Kindermusik, we believe that all children can – and should! – experience music.  Contact your local Kindermusik educator to learn more.  www.Kindermusik.com