Children’s Book Review: Music Is…

Children's Book Review

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With its bright, colorful cover, Music Is…, wonderful board book, grabs your attention even before you even open it and read it. In many ways, it is a simple book with very few words on each page, but it is a wonderful teaching book – the perfect at-home library complement to the concepts children are learning and the musical styles they are being exposed to in Kindermusik class.

Each two-page spread is a contrast, which is perfect because young children learn best in contrasts. So just like Kindermusik introduces contrasting musical concepts and styles in class, Music Is… introduces contrasting concepts, moods, and styles, one concept per page, making it easy for young children to begin to grasp and for older children and adults to enjoy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music is lo-fi and high-fi[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It teaches concepts such as…

music is quiet
music is LOUD

music is sad
music is happy

music is lo-fi
music is hi-fi
a capella
instrumental
acoustic
electric

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The really lovely thing is that as the book is teaching music concepts, it is also developing a basic music vocabulary for parents and children alike.  As the story unfolds, it is delightful to see children of all ethnic backgrounds making music and also playing with music.  There are instruments and music makers on every page.

It’s an entertaining read-aloud for younger children and an engaging conversation starter for older children.  For the sake of the non-musical adult, there’s even a basic glossary of musical terms on the very last page.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music is one music is many[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The simple story line is enhanced by whimsical and interesting illustrations that explain what music is and explore how music makes us feel. It’s the kind of fun, feel-good story book you don’t mind reading over and over again…which is a good thing since it’s sure to become a family favorite![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At the end, the author brings it all together in this profoundly beautiful conclusion:

music is old
music is new
music is for everyone
music is for you

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music Is… by author Brandon Stosuy and illustrator Amy Martin can be found at your favorite local book seller or online in both physical and digital formats.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, has been a happy advocate for the benefits of music for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music’s Effect on the Developmental Domains

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When we say that music is a powerful tool for learning, one of the biggest reasons is because music positively affects every area of a child’s development.  And for over 30 years, one of the strongest advocates for early childhood development through music and movement has been Kindermusik International.

With a music and movement curriculum entrenched in research and infused with joyful activities that make learning effortlessly fun, it’s no wonder that parents, experts, therapists, and doctors have recommended Kindermusik over and over again for an experience that inspires giggles, bonding, and learning in every critical area of a young child’s development.

But don’t just take our word for it.  For some enlightening and fascinating resources, here are the links to some of that incredible research that is at the core of all that Kindermusik was founded, created, and built upon – research that continues to be affirmed over and over by further research and advances in technology.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Cognitive Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-cognition-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222523817″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Language & Literacy Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-language-literacy-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222523998″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Math & Logic Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icon-Math-Logic-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524206″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Social-Emotional Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-social-emotional-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524484″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Physical Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-physical-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524639″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Creative Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-creative-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222524801″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Musical Development

Graphic-Learning-Domain-Icons-single-music-144x144[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222525015″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It doesn’t take an expert to see how every part of a child’s heart, soul, and mind can be powerfully impacted for a lifetime by early childhood music and movement classes.  That’s why so many of us believe in the power of music, and because of that, believe in everything that is completely delightful and utterly magical about Kindermusik.

Want to learn more? Download these research studies from Kindermusik International.


[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case, who’s been making a difference in the lives of children and families through her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina, for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sound First – Symbol Second

Music and reading

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s how we acquire any language – sound first – symbol second. We learn to speak before we learn to read. Music is the same way – we mimic what we hear before we can read it on the page. We learn by rote before we learn through understanding. Our last post talked about music’s positive impact on language learning. Well…music also has a positive impact on reading skill. Dr. Boyle explores the latest research on music and reading.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Think about your musical experiences as a child. Whether you realized it or not, you learned new words through music. In my main profession as a choral conductor, I learn new words through music regularly; poetry drives what I do. I keep a dictionary right by my piano so I am able to look up words I don’t know as I come across them. I am grateful for this extra gift music gives me.

We have shared research many times that point toward music’s role in increasing cognitive skills in children. Cognition, the ability to form and process memory, learn new information, also includes understanding written information. Music is about patterns, particularly music to which young children are often exposed. Lots of repetition is found in this type of music, and regularly singing this music helps kids recognize patterns elsewhere.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Research on Music and Reading

Studies conducted at the University of Toronto and Johns Hopkins have supported the concept that participation in musical activities increases cognitive skill. Drs. Nina Kraus and Samira Anderson of Northwestern University produced a study that indicated the ability to keep a steady beat related to reading readiness. In the study, subjects were separated through assessment into two groups: those who could keep a study beat (synchronizers) and those who found it challenging (non-synchronizers).

“The synchronizers also had higher pre-reading skills (phonological
processing, auditory short-term memory, and rapid
naming) compared with non-synchronizers. Overall, the results
supported the idea that accurate temporal processing is
important for developing the foundational skills needed in order
to learn how to read.”

– Beat-Keeping Ability Relates to Reading Readiness/Kraus and Anderson

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

What does this mean?

Developing musical skills early has a positive impact on reading ability. The reality is this: those non-synchronizers? It is completely possible to improve their rhythmic ability through regular musical activity. This then has a clear effect on cognitive skill and all that that encompasses.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

When is the right time to start?

Now! Start now! Get those kids involved in musical activities – and Kindermusik is a perfect place to start. In a recent articleDr. Robert A. Cutietta, Dean of the USC Thorton School of Music, lays it out plainly:

“There is a growing (and convincing) body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children. During this time, the mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime stages of development, making it of utmost importance to expose children in this age range to music.”

PBS Parents/Robert A. Cutietta

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]From birth to age nine! Don’t wait. Get them involved as soon as you feel comfortable doing so and your son or daughter will reap a host of benefits from their involvement, setting the stage for a lifetime of musical appreciation. Not everyone will go on to be the principal violinist of the New York Phil, or sing at Lollapalooza, but the stronger the musical foundation a child has, the more enjoyment will be found in the vast world of music.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1469711353415{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Science Center Stage: Music May Boost Language Learning in Babies

Language Learning

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In our regular science feature, Science Center Stage, Dr. Boyle explores music’s role in boosting language acquisition in infants. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]That first word! Parents wait for it and when it comes the world knows. We rush to Facebook and every other social media platform to share the news. I remember really reaching with our first. I stretched every sound out of that kid’s mouth into crazy multisyllabic words.

“I think he just said onomatopoeia!”

My wife was always the voice of reason.

“That was a burp, dear.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now, here’s the reality: our kids aren’t going to spout of titles of Dickens’s novels at nine months, but regular exposure to music early in life may have a positive impact on language acquisition. A recent study conducted at the University of Washington found that routine play sessions involving music had a positive impact on both music processing and recognizing new speech sounds.


“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech,” said lead author Christina Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at I-LABS.

“This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills,” Zhao said.

UW Today/Molly McAElroy

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whzxMNvHBD4&feature=youtu.be”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Other academics have chimed in on the study. Dr. Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas School of Music feels music classes are key to development.

 

“Music classes can be beneficial for parents and infants…These classes can build community and provide resources to parents to teach songs and music-based experiences to build comfort in using music within the home and everyday life.”

HealthDay/Randy Dotinga

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It doesn’t stop in infancy. A five year study at the Brain and Creativity Institute of the University of Southern California produced results that mirrored the UW study.

“The researchers began following 45 children, all from economically disadvantaged, bilingual households (most are Latino, one is Korean) in Southern California, starting when the children were 6 and 7. The initial group was split into three: One set of 13 students is receiving music instruction through the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, one group is playing soccer, and another is involved in no particular after-school activity…

Two years in, the students in the music group were more able to identify differences in musical pitch on a piano than other students. The brain scans also showed that these students had more-developed auditory pathways than their peers.

The authors write that this development in auditory processing also affects students’ ability to process speech and language—which means it could have an impact on students’ academic progress as well as their musical abilities.”

Education Week/Jackie Zubrzycki

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s very difficult to ignore this science, friends. Two separate studies indicate that exposing children of all ages to music has a positive impact on language acquisition and development. The key in both of these studies is regular participation in structured musical activities. So get them out there! And get them out there early. Remember, we have classes for kids starting from birth! When you’re ready, we’re here for you. [/vc_column_text][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1469449348470{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Baby Brains: Music and Speech

Baby Brains

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music is full of patterns. It’s why educators and researchers have pointed out for a long time now that music helps kids with math. And now, thanks to technological advances that help us “see” inside the brain, we’re starting to understand more and more of how music shapes and impacts cognitive development, therefore significantly impacting other areas of development such as language acquisition.

In the earliest years, a child’s ongoing cognitive development and experiences are a big part of his or her language development. The cognitive aspects of learning to speak and communicate have a great deal to do with memory, focus, and understanding patterns.

This is where early childhood music classes come in. Recent research has found that music and movement classes literally changed how the brain processed “both music and new speech sounds.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

NEW RESEARCH

The findings of this study were incredibly exciting to those of us who are so passionate about providing early childhood music enrichment experiences through our weekly Kindermusik classes.

“Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech,” said lead author Christina Zhao, a post-doctoral researcher at University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

“This means that early, engaging musical experiences can have a more global effect on cognitive skills.”

“In both the music and control groups, we gave babies experiences that were social, required their active involvement and included body movements – these are all characteristics that we know help people learn. The key difference between the play groups was whether the babies were moving to learn a musical rhythm.”

Music and movement classes like Kindermusik baby and toddler classes check all of these boxes and more – a rich social experience, delightfully engaging parent-child play and interaction, rhythmic experiences through instrument play and movement activities, an immersive language environment, and a beautiful, sequential curriculum. These curricula are thoughtfully and carefully designed, not only to be joyful and playful, but also meaningful and impactful on a child’s long term learning and development.

“This research reminds us that the effects of engaging in music go beyond music itself. Music experience has the potential to boost broader cognitive skills that enhance children’s abilities to detect, expect and react quickly to patterns in the world, which is highly relevant in today’s complex world.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now more than ever, we’re proud to confidently assure parents that one of the very best learning experiences you can give your little one are the delightful and developmentally rich experiences you will both have in a weekly music and movement class like Kindermusik.

And we promise, you’ll get the extra bonus of being a part of putting that adorable smile on her little face and that sweet song in his little heart…to stay.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Contributed by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in upstate South Carolina has been making a difference for children and families for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Getting the Rhythm of Language Development

Our speech is made up of sounds, patterns, and rhythms, so it makes sense that being in a environment of sounds and developing a strong sense of rhythm and steady beat in the earliest years of childhood can positively impact language development.  Some researchers even go so far as to make the bold claim that “[w]ithout the ability to hear musically, it would be impossible to learn to speak.”

Enter Kindermusik, where we too would agree that “…music is a special type of language” and where rhythms, songs, rhymes, and steady beat become almost as natural as breathing.  All throughout the Kindermusik experience, from birth to 7 years, children are immersed in a world of communication through sound, through musically being sung to and spoken to as infants and then invited to be participants in the sound-making by singing and speaking back.  In addition to singing, rhymes and steady beat activities also form some of the earliest experiences with music in this immersive environment.

Because of the process-based emphasis in Kindermusik, the learning is natural, easy, and fun.  Kids and parents love it, and it doesn’t take long to realize the depth and long-lasting impact of such a rich musical environment on the development of language.

Kindermusik and Language Development

Want to support your child’s early language and literacy development? Then find a local Kindermusik class!

Why Parents Repeating Themselves is Good for Babies

baby in bilibo

 

Every parent looks forward to hearing that first word.  That first sentence.  That first endearing conversation.  And now exciting new research gives insight into the kind of parent-baby verbal interaction that can best spur that language development on so that by the time the baby becomes a toddler, he/she actually has a larger vocabulary.  It’s not just talking more; it’s repetition that’s the key.

 

Parents who repeat words more often to their infants have children with better language skills a year and a half later,” said co-author Rochelle Newman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP). “A lot of recent focus has been on simply talking more to your child — but how you talk to your child matters. It isn’t just about the number of words.

 

Repetition has always been a cornerstone of Kindermusik’s approach to music and learning.  Songs and rhymes are repeated from week to week in class, not only because the children love them, but because repetition strengthens the brain, according to Dr. Jane Healy, educational psychologist and learning specialist.  Now researchers are also demonstrating just how much repetition strengthens language skills too!

The songs and rhymes used in Kindermusik classes have also been deliberately chosen because of the way that certain words and certain phrases within a particular song or rhyme are repeated.  A good example of this kind of repetition in a rhyme is “Jelly in the Bowl,” a kid-favorite and great fun in class and at home.

Our Kindermusik story time in every class also helps language skills be strengthened through repetition as the same book is usually repeated for at least four lessons.  The books in our Kindermusik library are also chosen with care, tying in to the unit theme but more importantly, reinforcing those budding language skills right from the start.

The most effective repetition in Kindermusik comes as parents bring activities home, engaging their children through the week by repeating the songs and activities throughout the week and making full use of the Kindermusik @Home Materials for further inspiration, enrichment and repetition.

Bottom line?  Kindermusik makes repetition FUN for kids, and EASY for parents – in class, at home, and on the go.

Are you attending the NAEYC? Stop by Kindermusik Internationals’ booth.  We’d love to meet you!

How a Violin Teaches Kids to Read

Matching sounds to a visual image is an extremely important early literacy skill. It is, in fact, the precursor skill to the alphabetic principle, or the understanding that there is a relationship between letters and sounds. Before children can explore letter-sound relationships and learn to decode words, they must first understand the connection between a sound they hear and an image they see.

This fun early literacy game from Kindermusik@Home features violins and provides kids lots of practice with associating a specific bit of audio with a specific bit of visual. While kids have no idea that this game is actually preparing them to read, YOU will know!

Kindermusik@Home Listening Game: Which Violin?

 

Kindermusik@Home Activity

This game also supports other important early childhood cognitive competences, including:

  • Selective Attention: The ability to selectively concentrate on one aspect of the environment while ignoring distractions.
  • Auditory Working Memory: The ability to retain information that has been presented orally (e.g., listening to a target sound and then matching the sound to its image).
  • Auditory Discrimination: The ability to discriminate between similar sounds.

Looking for more fun, musical learning ideas? Follow us on Pinterest.

Tips for Raising a Book Lover

Self Awareness Fairytale

Right this very moment my nine-year-old daughter CAN NOT put down Harry Potter and Kindermusik kids readingthe Sorcerer’s Stone. Her eyes gulp down the words while her imagination dives into the depths of the wizard world. It’s the 11th time she’s made the same journey not counting the first time we read the book out loud together last summer. To say she loves to read carries the same weight as she loves to breathe. She was not born a reader in the same way that she was, well, born to breathe. However, her love of reading began practically at birth and certainly long before she heard the name Harry Potter or even knew that those marks on a page meant anything!

To celebrate Book Lover’s Day, try integrating some of these reading tips with the young children in your life.

6 Family-Friendly Ideas for Raising a Reader

  1. Start reading early. Your child loves to hear the sound of your voice. So go ahead and snuggle with your newborn and a good picture book. Talk about what you see on the page. Let your child feel the pages. Board or bath books are ideal for young readers, who may prefer to “mouth” the book while listening.
  2. Let go of expectations. Reading to your child does not always usually look like you might think. A baby may prefer to stick a book in her mouth or a toddler may not sit in your lap, much less sit still. If your child loves to move, choose books that encourage it, such as From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, Wiggle by Doreen Cronin, or Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig. Children learn by moving so why not tap into it with the books you read!
  3. Read e-books together. Research shows that e-books can encourage even mom and young girl reading ebook togetherreluctant readers to love reading. Look for e-books that highlight the word as you read along. Check with your local library for a selection of e-books available. We also recommend the Reading Rainbow App with more than 500 e-books, including the Kindemrusik Music Mountain!
  4. Let your child pick out the book. Yes, this might mean reading (again and again) the same book or a gigantic book about dinosaurs or snakes or ballerinas who wear cowboy boots. Yes, we know it might not be what YOU want to read, but your child will love hearing it!
  5. Turn up the reading by turning on the music. Actively participating in musical activities supports early literacy development by increasing a child’s ability to process sound, introduces them to new vocabulary, imbeds the rhythm of spoken language, and boosts comprehension skills–all foundational reading skills.
  6. Eat Read Your Green Eggs and Ham. Being able to hear and identify words that rhyme is the earliest phonemic awareness ability. That is just a fancy way to say that you understand that words are made up of different sounds (phonemes). It is an essential skill to reading. So, go ahead and eat read your Green Eggs and Ham.

Looking for more recommendations and tips on reading with young children? Follow our “Books for Kids We Love” board on Pinterest.

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area. She loves passing on her love of reading to her two young daughters.

Two Simple Ideas for Supporting Children’s Vocabulary Development

Up, down, in, out, under… Those relational prepositions mean something very specific to us as adults.  But when toddlers hear a phrase like, “Put the block under the cup,” they’ll probably put the block in the cup, because it’s the obvious thing to do. Toddlers understand that they are supposed to do something with the block and the cup, but just what all those relationships are, and what they’re called, can take years to master. Typically, toddlers tune in to the words they know, like “block” and “cup”—and then make a good guess about what you’ve got in mind with the rest.

Language development, like all other developmental domains, is a process which can be nurtured in surprisingly simple, everyday interactions and activities.  Here are two ideas that will help support children’s vocabulary development:

#1 – Label and move.

There is a powerful connection between movement and learning that has an impact on language development too.  That’s because a child’s developing brain makes a connection based on what they experience.  The more you label the movements, the more your child will understand and be able to make the connection between the word and the movement or object.  Here’s a great example of moving and labeling:

Kindermusik bird song - using movment and labeling to improve vocabulary development
#2 – Practice and play.

Learning should be fun!  And here at Kindermusik, we like to make it hands-on, interactive, and engaging, particularly with our @Home Materials.  Here’s a playful way to help your child with their vocabulary development:

Way Up High - Toddler TalkLooking for more parenting ideas on how to support your child’s development? Visit a Kindermusik class.  Your first one is on us.