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]

Want to Teach Toddlers Math Skills? Better Get Moving!

Early intervention matters in all areas of child development…from speech and language, motor skills, early literacy skills, positive behavior, and more. The sooner a child receives help the greater the impact. As educators, therapists, doctors, and researchers learn more and more how to identify early markers for intervention needs, children at risk for delays receive early intervention strategies, well, earlier. Some of the indicators may seem unrelated at first. For example, new research gives guidance in identifying young children who may need extra mathematical help…all by looking at their motor skills!

Motor Skills as Early Predictor of Math Skills

A Norwegian study shows that two-year-olds with poor motor skills also exhibit poor mathematical skills. Teachers can use this information to identify children who may need extra help.

“It is important that teachers of small children are aware of these findings. It will be easier for them to identify children who may be at risk of having difficulties in understanding mathematics. This knowledge can ensure that teachers and staff are quicker to help and support such children with mathematics,” said Associate Professor Elin Reikerås of the Norwegian Reading Centre in a University of Stavanger press release.

In the study, the research team evaluated the motor skills of two-year-old children by assessing their abilities to complete jigsaw puzzles, eat with utensils, use scissors, walk around a room without bumping into things, playing on the playground, and throwing and catching balls. Based on their motor skills abilities, the team divided the children into three groups: poor, average, and strong.

Then, the team examined various mathematical abilities of the children, such as if the children were able to use their fingers to show how old they were, if they could use the shape sorter box, play picture lotto, sort toys or objects by color or size, demonstrate the difference between big and small through the use of body language or words, and use numerals.

“Children create experiences when they use their bodies. This is also important within mathematics. When children play, climb, crawl and hide outdoors, this contributes to the development of spatial awareness. Shapes and sizes are explored through drawing, painting and playing with blocks. Putting on clothes in the right order or sorting and tidying toys requires both logical reasoning and motor skills. Dealing with numbers, such as giving a cup to everyone and then pointing and saying the numbers, also involves connections with motor function,” Reikerås explains in the press release.

How Early Childhood Music Puts into Play this Research

In early childhood classrooms around the world, many teachers use music and movement to support the development of both gross and fine motor skills and early mathematical concepts, such as counting and spatial awareness. Take a look at how music and movement can teach children mathematical concepts by using their whole bodies.

What Do Music & Math Have to Do with One Another?

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.

One Small Change for Preschool Teachers, One Giant Leap for Preschoolers’ Math Abilities

Why Early Childhood Music

preschoolers and mathWhen a researcher sets out to understand how children learn, or better yet, don’t learn math, some interesting information comes to light, especially when the research focuses in on the early years when preschoolers are just beginning to be introduced to fundamental mathematical concepts.  Such was the case in a recent study conducted by Dr. Nicole McNeil and her team at the University of Notre Dame.

What the researchers found was interesting.  How the concepts were presented and labeled had a significant impact on how well the children understood and applied the concepts. 

Something minor, which in this study was giving the mathematical patterns an abstract label (i.e., A, B, A, B) instead of a concrete label (i.e., naming the colors in the pattern), was actually very major.  The children in the study who worked with the abstract levels solved more problems correctly than the children who worked with the concrete labels.

More than abstract or concrete labeling, the key finding in this study was this:

…[E]ven differences in relatively specific, microlevel factors can affect how children understand certain concepts. I think this means that we need to be very purposeful about structuring lessons and our instructional input to ensure that we are setting children up to construct an understanding of the most important concepts.

A small change in planning and presentation, but a giant leap indeed for children’s understanding and success in learning.

Want to learn more about learning and teaching math through music?  Take a look at our free e-books.

The One Thing that Can Prepare a Child for Success (It’s not what you think!)

Pew Research Center recently asked a national sample of adults which skills were most important for children to have in order to get ahead in today’s world. Out of the 10 skills from which they could choose, more respondents said communication skills were most important for success, followed by reading, math, and teamwork.

Much of the groundwork and preparation for successful development of these academic and life skills can be laid at a young age.  So where can parents and teachers find that one early childhood experience that delivers on developing all of these vital skills from a very early age?

Music… It’s all in here!

Music teaches communication skills. 
Learning to listen, singing back and forth, sharing non-verbal responses, creative movement responses to music, being part of an ensemble… all of these elements of communication are an integral part of music and music making.  And all are heightened by the experience to be had only in a group music class.

Music enhances literacy skills. 
Just as in reading, music symbols have meaning.  You read music from left to right just as you read words from left to right. Music involves rhythm, syntax, vocabulary, and expression just as reading does. Music is a form of communication just like the written word. Music improves phonological and phonemic awareness.  The list could go on.

Music promotes math skills. 
Numbers, patterns, proportions, ratios, spatial reasoning… sounds like a highly sophisticated list of skills. But all are skills that are mastered by musicians and mathematicians alike. And all of these are introduced to one degree or another even in an early childhood music program like Kindermusik (studio program) or ABC Music & Me (school program).

Music facilitates teamwork.
This is especially evident in a music class, where children share, listen, take turns, and make music together. There’s something about music and a music class that encourages children to work together, cooperate, and problem-solve. Perhaps it’s because in music class, differences are leveled out and there’s one common experience – the joy of making music together.

Watch carefully and you’ll see a delightful example of the ways that even in one activity, music (specifically, Kindermusik!) can teach aspects communication, vocabulary (reading), math (spatial development), and teamwork.

music teaches communication reading math and teamwork
Discover more about the rich benefits of music education with these free e-books.

 

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!

10 Reasons Why Music Belongs in Our Schools

This year we celebrate a significant milestone:  30 years of Music in Our Schools month. Thirty years ago music in schools meant recorders and “Hot Cross Buns.” Now, it still means recorders and “Hot Cross Buns,” but it also means English Language Arts, Math Class, Social Studies, and more. Here’s why we should be celebrating Music in Our Schools today… and 300 years from now!

30 years of Music in Our Schools Month

10 Ways Music Plays at School

Music & Math Class. Music teaches young children foundational math skills, including geometry, pattern recognition, and numbers. Watch these children read and repeat various music patterns.

Kindermusik rhythms
Music & Social Studies. Music teaches children about other cultures through songs and dances. Long before people could read or write, the culture of a nation or people was passed down through song. That tradition continues in the drum circles of the Native Americans, the Shakuhachi flutes of Japan, or an Irish jig. …

Music & Creativity & STEM. Music provides children a creative way to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions. That creativity spills over into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) classes as well, where young children are also encouraged to explore, question, and create solutions.

Why STEM should be changed to STEAM

Music & English Language Arts. Music supports phonological awareness needed in English Language Arts. In fact, our brains process language and music in similar ways. For example, understanding the spoken language requires a child to hear (and identify!) the individual phonemes combined with the intonation communicated through pitch. With music, a child must hear the individual notes along with their rhythmic value.

Music & Group Work. Singing together lowers stress and relieves anxiety. Plus, children gain practice working together to create something beautiful. Play along with this song…and try NOT to smile.

Music and group work
Music & Transitions. Musical cues teach children how to easily transition from one activity to another. Young children can struggle with transitioning from one activity to another as they also experience rapid—and turbulent—emotional development. Singing a song to signal the end of one activity and the start of another helps children navigate those feelings and learn how to move on to something else.

Music & Recess. A classroom dance party gets young children up and moving around on those days when it is too cold or wet to play outside for recess. Getting out those wiggles can help children be ready for whatever is next in the lesson. A quick song of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” or the “Hokey Pokey” can bring lots of giggles to the classroom, too!

Music & Language Development. Songs and rhymes teach children the rhythm of language, its construction, and its acquisition.  Singing songs and saying rhymes give children practice with words and sounds that not only help children learn to speak clearly, but also effectively, by teaching the vital skills of communication and conversation.

Music & Memory. Children who learn through movement show a marked improvement in memory.  That’s because movement wakes up the brain and gets it primed for learning.  But music can also aid memorization of facts… like learning U.S. states and capitols later on in elementary school.

music aids learning
Music & English Language Learners. When English Language Leaners clap their hands to the beat of English nursery rhymes or songs, they practice active listening and pattern recognition. Research shows that students who are better at recognizing patterns in language learn another language more quickly than those who do not.  Here’s an example of how clapping, tapping, and playing along with a music video from our Kindermusik @Home Materials gives fun practice with recognizing patterns.

Change-the-world-Facebook-Profile-Image1“Music in our Schools Month” is the perfect platform for the message to resonate – music matters!  And here at Kindermusik, we believe that music can change our world, one child and one family at a time.

Do you want to bring more music into your school? Learn how. http://www.kindermusik.com/schools/

9 Kids + 9 Hula Hoops = Math Lesson

Take a look at this video.  What do you see?

hula hoop
If you answered, “a room full of children and adults ‘driving’ around with hula hoops,” you would be right. But, if you said an early childhood music and movement activity teaching spatial awareness you would also be right! Children are using their whole bodies—and the whole room—to learn a vital math skill, the skill of spatial awareness. (Although they think they are just having fun driving around!)

So what is spatial awareness and why does it matter?

boy in hoopSpatial awareness is the knowledge of where you are in relationship to other people and objects in your environment.  To develop spatial awareness, children must be introduced to concepts such as direction, distance and location.

Studies have found a link between a well-developed sense of spatial awareness and artistic creativity, success in math, and the development of abstract thought.  But it’s that music-movement-math connection that many scientists and researchers are really starting to explore.

As highlighted in this study by Florian Krause at Radford University, there is a vital connection between the body and the brain.  This provides educators and parents with a powerful tool for helping children learn by giving them opportunities to make a connection from experiencing to understanding.

For over 30 years now, Kindermusik educators have been helping children jumpstart their growth and learning through the compelling combination of music and movement.  The research confirms… it simply adds up!

Learn more about using music and movement to support a young child’s early math development at http://www.kindermusik.com/about/benefits-of-music-for-children/.

Music: The Ultimate Playlist for School Readiness

Anyone around young children long enough soon realizes that a bulk of the time is spent getting them ready for something….ready for bed, ready for preschool, ready for a playdate/library/park, ready for bath, etc. But getting children ready for Kindergarten means more than just making sure they have everything on the school supply list. So what can early childhood educators and families do now to make sure kids are ready for one of the first major transitions in their lives?

You can find the solution in a music class!  Educators (and researchers!) agree that young children who start Kindergarten equipped with certain skills from day one tend to excel. When young children are actively engaged in music making with a group, they are also learning foundational school readiness skills. In fact, here at Kindermusik we call early childhood music and movement classes the ultimate playlist for school readiness.  Here are just a few of the reasons why we can make that claim.

Self-regulation – This vital skill has to do with the ability to control one’s own behavior, emotions, thoughts, and impulses.

Children who are given lots of practice with moving – and then stopping and re-starting their movement – are learning to control their bodies which in turn, leads to learning to control behavior and emotions.

Watch this delightful stop-and-go dance from the Kindermusik classroom at Kindermusik of Cleveland.

Toddler Stop and Go DanceListening – Not just hearing, but listening is a skill that must be learned and includes the ability to focus, discern, and distinguish sounds and meaning.

Children learn to listen, an intentional act, over time with lots of practice. In Kindermusik, we include Focused Listening (or active listening) in nearly every class.

Enjoy a little listening practice with this free Kindermusik Listening Game.

Can you guess what songSocial-Emotional Skills – These include the ability to share, take turns, be a helper, make friends, and wait patiently, just to name a few.

This list could describe much of what goes on in a group music class where we share instruments, wait for our turn to share an idea, help clean up our instruments, or make room on the Story Blanket for our classmate.

Watch what happens as this Kindermusik educator conducts an instrument demonstration of the slide whistle.

slide whistle demonstrationEarly Literacy Skills – Early literacy depends greatly on phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, auditory sequencing, and vocabulary development.

A music class is a rich sound environment that develops the listening skills and vocabulary skills so critical to literacy success.

Listen for all of the descriptive vocabulary words that are used in this Kindermusik video from Kathy’s Music.

teaching early literacy skills through musicEarly Math Skills – Success with math begins with developing an understanding of concepts like spatial awareness, counting by rote, and pattern recognition.

It might be surprising to discover all of the different ways that these concepts are explored and practiced in an early childhood music and movement class through hoop play, songs and finger plays, and all kinds of dances.

Watch how these children in Catherine Huang’s Kindermusik class are developing spatial awareness as they explore many different ways to play with the hoops.

hoop play teaches spatial awareness
Want to see for yourself how to use music to teach vital school readiness skills? Try these five musical learning activities with the children in your life. Or, learn more at www.kindermusik.com/schools and request a free demonstration at your school.

 

When it comes to math, music counts!

When you read an article title like “Why Math Might Be the Secret to School Success,” you stop and pay attention.

“We think math might be sort of a lever to improve outcomes for kids longer term,” lead researcher Pamela Morris said.

Now that’s a powerful statement.  But here’s a more sobering statement when one considers how closely connected math skills and academic performance are:

“[T]here’s a real lack of math learning in pre-K.”

We have the solution – music and movement classes.

when it comes to math music counts

In Kindermusik, children learn:

Geometry: Spaces and Shapes
Moving to music and playing instruments in creative ways causes children to become aware of the space around them, deepening their understanding of positional and spatial concepts.

music noteTry this at home – Rainy Day Playground
Encourage your child to climb over and under pillows, cardboard boxes and sheets turned into tunnels.  Talk about how his/her body fits in these new creative spaces!

Patterns
Movement games, circle dances, and instrument ensembles help children listen for and identify the patterns in music which also develops their ability to recognize patterns in math.

music noteTry this at home – Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Read a story with repetitive text.  Afterwards, playfully challenge your child to come up with new “pages” that match the repeating pattern.

Numbers and Measurement
Rhymes, songs, chants, and fingerplays give practice with one-to-correspondence, counting, ordering, sequencing, and comparing and deepen early math skills.

music noteTry this at home – Count It Out
Keep the numbers rolling with your child.  How many buttons on your shirt?  How many steps did we climb?  Did we use five blocks or four?

Kindermusik is where music and learning playTo learn more about how music lays the foundation for early math skills, download one of Kindermusik International’s “Music and Math” ebooks at www.Kindermusik.com.

Contributed by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case, whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is located in beautiful upstate South Carolina.

 

Leave the Detective Work to the Kids

The ability to think critically about a situationKIstock53_musicnotes_color is essential for all problem solving and academic learning. Deductive reasoning, the ability to reason from general premises to more specific premises, is one essential aspect of critical thinking. 

In fact, renowned educational researcher, Dr. Howard Gardner, includes deductive reasoning within one of his seven areas of intelligence—the Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. Dr. Gardner (and other researchers) argue that the ability to detect patterns, think logically, and to reason is critical for developing text comprehension, mathematical, and science skills later in school.

What might be surprising to some is that very young children are at the very tip of their capacity for deductive reasoning, but like many areas of development, the most effective growth in learning comes through practice – in this case, brain practice.

The Critical Thinking Co., puts it this way, “Deductive reasoning can be taught, but it is its regular practice that yields the benefits to students. The brain acts like a muscle and exercising it through logic, analysis, and critical thinking is what gives it the strength to question, to learn, and to discover.”

So… if your young child is at the tip of their capacity for deductive reasoning and practicing those skills is so vitally important for learning and discovery, how can a parent tip the cognitive development scale in a child’s favor?

Use this free Kindermusik@Home activity: “Who Could It Be?” to practice some deductive reasoning skills with your child.

Who Could It Be deductive reasoning development game

This activity may take some adult interaction and support—but then your child will be hooked! You’ll both delight in that first moment when your child figures out one of the answers on his/her own.

  • One way to reinforce a child’s growing deductive reasoning skills is for you to articulate your own reasoning for coming to a conclusion and then to ask your child to do the same. For example, in “Who Could It Be?,” you can clearly explain that you figured out that the sheep took the bunnies in his car because there were tire marks leaving the Pet Shop and only the sheep was driving a car. Then ask your child, “HOW do you know it was the monkey who made a mess at the ice cream cart?”
  • Predicting what comes next in a story is another way to develop deductive reasoning. For example, ask your child, “WHAT do you think will happen next? And WHY do you think that?”

It doesn’t take much to boost your child’s critical thinking skills, but it does take intentionality mixed with fun and engaging activities.  This is why Kindermusik has been such a favorite experience for parents for so many years – our class activities and @Home Materials give parents the time and the tools to make great parenting – including giving your child every possible cognitive and academic advantage – that much easier and that much more joyful.

To learn more about music supports the development of deductive reasoning skills, visit www.Kindermusik.com.