Singing in Choir Makes you Happier

choir

Mental health – thankfully, in recent years, it has become more acceptable to talk about it in public. The stigma of dealing with a mental health issue lessens with each day that passes. This is a good thing.

As it turns out, singing in groups has a very strong impact on mental health. Without question, we are not implying that singing is a replacement for seeking help from mental health professionals. Rather, we seek to simply highlight the positive effects this activity can have, and they are numerous. Let’s explore them together.

Continue reading “Singing in Choir Makes you Happier”

Kids Get It: Music is Magic

Music is Magic

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We’ve said it many times, and it’s kind of become my catchphrase…music is magic. We bring you lots of studies about music’s positive impact on learning domains, on brain development, and on academic achievement. We highlight these important aspects of an early childhood rich with musical experiences in many different ways – because we really want to hammer home the point: music should be a vital part of growing up.

But that’s really not what this article is about.

This article is about how kids often seem to get music’s magical nature without having it explained to them. They are open to being moved. They are fearless when it comes to displaying home music makes them feel, how music moves them. From birth, they have no obstacles in the way to be charmed by music’s magic. If anything changes them as they grow, it’s often us. As the important adults in our children’s lives, we have the power to reinforce this magic and encourage them to continue to be open to it as they grow. We can constantly support their connection to music and perhaps even become more aware of how much music impacts our own lives. We have to rediscover  – with the wonder of our young children – that music is magic.


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Beethoven Still Works – Over 200 Years Later

Many of you have probably watched this video – the young boy being moved to tears by a somewhat average performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (here’s a link to Wilhelm Kempf slaying the first movement). But the boy doesn’t care that it’s average and has some clunkers in it. HE. DOESN’T. CARE. And do you think he’s had any real emotional loss that he truly understands at this young age? Probably not. Do you think he is being affected by what German music critic, Ludwig Rellstab called the musical equivalent of moonlight shimmering off of a lake? YES! Now, this precious child might not be seeing moonlight in his head, but the music has reached inside his soul, his spirit, that thing inside each of us that isn’t able to be touched by anything else and made him feel. Watch it again – he is absolutely entranced by the sublime beauty of Beethoven’s music. Without having sonata form explained, without a knowledge of what c-sharp minor is,  without understanding what an accompaniment figuration is or what melody is – he understood what Beethoven was saying.

Beethoven may not have known it, but this is why he wrote Sonata No. 14 – so that this little boy could have this moment 2015 years later.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHUnLY1_PvM”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Conduct Like No One’s Watching

I’m a conductor. There are lots of conductor jokes that musicians make. One of my favorites is this. How many conductors does it take to screw in a light bulb? No one knows – no one watches conductors. It always makes me smile. It also makes me think of this little girl in our next clip. Ignore the description – she’s not actually conducting this Kyrgyz church choir – she’s responding to what she’s hearing. The choir is also not watching her. But that’s not the point. My guess is she has seen a conductor conduct and is mimicking what she has seen, but there is more than just copying physical gesture here. She is being moved by the music. She is physically representing what she is hearing. Watch her – there’s no fear here, no hesitation. This is musical joy represented in body movement. It doesn’t matter to her that no one is watching her. It doesn’t matter to her that she is being filmed. It doesn’t matter to her that she’s never had proper training in how to conduct effectively (and I’ll be honest – it’s pretty effective). What matters is that she is unapologetically in the moment and connected to the music. There’s no filter. There’s no worrying about whether she’s doing it right or not. Watch her face – watch how the emotion she displays changes with the intensity of the music. That’s magic.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE9r1LkRCV0″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Sleepy Jasmine’s No Longer Sleepy

Music moves us, but it also can make us move! How often have you found yourself tapping your foot to a song without realizing it? How often have you started unknowingly to sway to the beat? You aren’t alone. That’s music’s infectious quality. It can get a whole room full of people moving.

Meet Jasmine. Jasmine is a sleepy baby in this video. Mom and Dad are playing a random piece of music. It has no impact on Sleepy Jasmine.

But wait! They switch the song to Jasmine’s favorite bit of music…and she is helpless. Music’s magic has won the battle with the Sandman. She can’t help herself. First, she stiffens up and looks toward her parents. “She knows this song! Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness! THAT’S MY JAM!” thinks Jasmine. She recognizes it from the start. A smile takes over her face and the music takes over her body.

This is unfiltered happiness brought about by the intangible. You can’t touch the sound of music. It envelops you like warmth from a glowing fire. Jasmine is hooked. Her joy radiants into the room and hits her parents squarely in their hearts.

That is music’s magic.

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Music moves us. Music makes us laugh, makes us cry. We smile when we hear a tune associated with a special moment in our lives. We sing along in the car. We tap out drum beats on the steering wheel. It brings us so much joy. So it is for our little ones – doubly so, really. Their innocence allows them to receive the music without any of the burdens of adulthood that sometimes get in the way. They don’t have to worry about taxes or being on time or what outfit to wear because if they wear the wrong thing they’ll be judged. Two-year-olds aren’t vain creatures. They’re hungry for that next magical moment – that think that made them giggle or smile or open their eyes wide in wonderment. They are hungry for a hug and a kiss from mom or a tickle monster moment from dad. They are hungry for music’s magic.

Kindermusik is honored to be part of that magic for so many kids across the globe. Can you blame us for wanted to share that magic with as many boys and girls as possible?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ed Sheeran, Stuttering, and Rap Music

Ed Sheeran

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Few people in the western world don’t know who Ed Sheeran is. The 26-year-old English musician is an international superstar, selling out venues everywhere he goes.

As a child, Sheeran was bullied because of his red hair and thick glasses. He has said that kids will always find someone different to pick on. To complicate matters for the young musician, Sheeran had a port wine stain birthmark on the left side of his face. Over the course of two years, he had it lasered off. At one session, they forgot to put the anesthetic on. This messed with his nerves and he developed a stutter. Listen to Sheeran explain the story at the American Institute for Stuttering Gala:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTufwCG8Xeg”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Stuttering, Music, and the Brain

Mr. Sheeran is not alone. Music certainly can help with stuttering. Lazaro Arbos, an American Idol contestant, is another example. His stutter simply disappears when he sings. While he has some pitch issues (probably nerves!), the stutter is gone.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnBHuodrQPc”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Why does this happen? How does such a serious speech issue just vanish when the person suffering sings? Music has actually been used for years in the treatment of a range of speech disorders. Rep. Gabby Giffords used Melodic Intonation Therapy to help treat her aphasia, an inability to comprehend and formulate language, a result of her brain injury due to the attempt on her life.

But why can a stutter disappear for some folks when singing? The folks at the University of Iowa have some of the answers:

There are a few reasons why people who stutter don’t do so when they sing. One is called easy onset of speech, or easy voice, or smooth speech. This describes the way you sing. Think about it – you generally use a smoother and easier voice when you’re singing versus when you’re speaking. Speech therapists actually use the easy onset strategy when helping people who stutter.

Another reason why a person may not stutter while singing is because words are more prolonged (and less apt to be stumbled over) when they’re sung rather than spoken. Music is an activity in which you use the right side of the brain (language uses the left), so when you sing music, you’re no longer using your left brain (and probably no longer stuttering).

The bottom line is this: Whenever a child or adult who stutters talks differently than the way he usually does, he will be fluent. That includes using a stage voice or a foreign accent or dialect, whispering, singing, speaking to a rhythmic beat, using ‘baby talk’ and speaking at a lower or higher pitch than normal. Besides sounding and feeling unnatural, however, these ‘tricks’ rarely produce long-term fluency.

The Stuttering Research Lab of the University of Iowa

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There you have it, friends. Yet another example of music’s awesome power. Music Therapy is such a young field. Just wait; I predict more and more amazing stories from this little-known area. Keep your ears open and listen to the music![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Students + Music = Success

Success

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A failing school in the City of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England needed to do something. The staff was unsure what to do. Parents were not happy with the progress of their children. There were issues with funding. The surrounding area was one of the poorest in the area. What to do…what to do…


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Music to the Rescue

There were many choices that could have been made, but the folks at Feversham Primary Acadamy decided to add music – lots and lots of music – to the school day. Six hours of music instruction a week was added to the instructional day. The results were pretty amazing (though not surprising to anyone who is a music educator).

  • Feversham is now in the top 10% for student progress in reading, writing, and math.
  • 74% of students achieved the expected standards in reading, writing, and math, compared to the national average of 53%.
  • Feversham’s results for disadvantaged students are well above the national average.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This is pretty amazing stuff, considering all the obstacles Feversham had on its path to success. Besides being in a poor inner-city area, an amazing 99% of the student body does not speak English as the first language.

“Half [the student body] arrive at school unable to speak a word of English.” – Josh Halliday

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Naveed Idrees, the Headteacher at Feversham admits that the decision to infuse music into just about everything was risky, especially from an outsider’s viewpoint.

We were in special measures. We could have said we’re going to do more English, more maths, more booster classes. You might hit the results but the kids hate learning.Naveed Idrees

Adding more English or math or reading wasn’t the answer for Feversham. It was Music. It was the arts. And it has paid off in a big way.

Once the school’s end-of-year concert would be attended only by a handful of sceptical parents, now it sells out every year. The school’s attendance has increased to 98%, as the amount of music taught to each pupil has risen. Every child will get at least two hours of music a week. As a bare minimum, each child gets a 30-minute music lesson, a half-hour follow-up lesson, plus a one-hour music assembly with a guest musician and group singing. Songs are incorporated into other classes and pupils often sing about times tables, or history.

Josh Halliday, The Guardian

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Feversham students after singing for the Queen's birthday.
Feversham students after singing for the Queen’s birthday.

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Music for Music’s Sake…but also for Everything Else’s

It’s true. Music deserves to be studied for its own merits. Its intricacies are incredibly interesting and its development over human history is a fascinating story. In 1100 years, we went from Gregorian chant to Rock and Roll! But Feversham is a practical example of what Plato knew over 2400 years ago. He said:

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning”

That’s the truth. Music unlocks something inside of us. It lights a fire…it gives life meaning. Through the lens of music, learning becomes a technicolor wonder-show of possibility. Mr. Naveed and his 510 students are living proof of my oft-repeated adage…music is magic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you want to watch these kids having some fun, check out their 2017 Talent Show video below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_NtRvKwIrc&t=96s”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Success
The school’s motto – and we know how they make their best better – through music!

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4 Musical Resolutions for the New Year

Musical New Year

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about resolutions.  Losing weight.  Exercising.  Spending more time with family.  Working less.  The list goes on.

So we thought we’d put a musical twist on making resolutions and suggest four musical resolutions that are easy to make and stick to!


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Resolution #1 – Sing More with your Child

At first, you’ll almost need to plan this in until it becomes like second nature. But once it is second nature, you’ll find you can come up with – or make up! – a song for nearly every part of your day. Daily routines become a little easier, and even the unexpected becomes a little more manageable when you have a song or two to ease you and your child through.

And remember, whether you would ever sing in public or not, to your child, your voice is the most beautiful sound in the world. Filling your child’s heart now with special songs makes for really precious memories that your child will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Resolution #2 – Take Time Every Day for Cuddling and Dancing Together

This resolution will take some intentionality to successfully implement, but deliberately taking more time to cuddle and dance together will definitely bring you closer together. You’ll probably find that your own stress levels are reduced and that your child will have fewer meltdowns as a result of taking a little time for loving connection.

Easy times for getting in a few extra cuddles are before naps or bedtime. And dancing? Well, a spontaneous dance can happen anytime throughout the day.  Nothing gets rid of the grumps or brings a smile of delight more than a quick dance around the room – with or without recorded music![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Musical Resolutions[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Resolution #3 – Create Some Music Playlists for your Child

A musical environment comes from playing music. That’s easy to say, but not always to do. So our suggestions are simple. Take a few minutes to create some playlists of your child’s favorite music. Your Kindermusik library is a great place to start.

We recommend organizing and labeling those playlists according to the kind of music each playlist contains. For example, a playlist of those soft, sweet lullabies is great to play when your child is settling down for a nap or for bedtime. A playlist of fun, energetic music inspires your child to dance, move, and play… and expend a little energy! Or a sing-along playlist of your child’s favorite songs to sing helps errands in the car go so much more quickly and smoothly.

Resolution #4 – Make (or renew) your Commitment to Foster your Child’s Musical Development

Resolutions #1 through 3 will go a long way towards Resolution #4, but we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to encourage you that the window for benefitting from playing, making, and listening to music is open the widest in the very early years of childhood. And we all want our children to have every possible advantage – academically, socially, developmentally, and even musically.

Enrolling in weekly Kindermusik classes is certainly a wonderful way to stick to Resolution #4. Not only do you and your child benefit from the weekly classes together, but you also come home with a whole treasure-trove of resources, ideas, and music – from what you learn in class and from what you receive in your Kindermusik Materials. And we’re absolutely sure that you’ll love your Kindermusik classes as much as your child does!

So go ahead. Make these four musical resolutions.  Commit now to enjoying a more musical year with your child. We promise it will make your everyday routines a little easier and special memories a little more lasting. Music does it all![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Shared by Theresa Case who has been helping children and families make music a part of their lives for over 20 years now in her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music Matters – But Why?

Music matters

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I’m guessing that if you are here, reading this blog, that music is important to you. Your kids might take part in Kindermusik, or perhaps music lessons. You may attend concerts or listen to music on a regular basis. I probably don’t have to convince you about music’s power and its importance in the human experience. I’m not worried about you. It’s the folks that might not know what music can do – the impact it can have on a person’s life – those are the folks I want to reach.

You may know some folks that might not know the benefits of music education or the effect music has on the developing brain, particularly in young kids. So…I want to turn you all into advocacy experts. I want to provide you with knowledge you can pass on to others when they ask “why is this so important?”

Here we go.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Makes You Feel

I bet you’ve had this experience. You are at a concert or you are listening to the radio and a song comes on that you have never heard before. I have had many of these experiences – many of them on the podium while conducting. But the most intense instance was about a year after my father passed away. I was living in Hawai’i by myself. My wife had relocated back to the mainland in anticipation of my discharge from the Navy. I hadn’t really processed my father’s death. I hadn’t cried. I hadn’t really mourned.

As I was driving home from an event in Honolulu, Tracy Chapman’s The Promise came on the radio. Take a listen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnjegFZGBDk”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It was the combination of Tracy’s voice and the following lyric that got to me:

If you think of me
If you miss me once in a while
Then I’ll return to you
I’ll return and fill that space in your heart

I lost it. I actually had to pull over to the side of the interstate (yes, there are interstate highways in Hawai’i) as I couldn’t see the road through the tears. A year’s worth of bottled emotion all came flooding to the surface because of this song. The music released my previously padlocked feelings about my Dad. How? Music causes chemical changes in the brain. As far as emotion is concerned, music causes the nucleus accumbens, the amygdala, and the cerebellum to light up. These areas are related to emotion.

In this instance, music acted as a key to a lock for me. It was incredibly therapeutic.

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Music Builds Bridges

I’ve told stories about students at festivals sharing why they sing. The answers range from sweet and silly at the beginning of a festival to deep and complex toward the end. Recently, I was in Wisconsin conducting a middle school choral festival. These young musicians had just met each other – 100 seventh, eighth, and ninth graders came together to make music. During breaks, I would ask my question – why do you sing? These kids felt safe enough to share some very meaningful reasons:

“My grandfather passed away three years ago. We would sing together in church choir. It’s my way to stay close to him.”

“It’s the only place I feel like I can really be me.”

“Music makes me realize that I am powerful.”

“Music is my home.”

Last month, I conducted a county high school choral festival. One student wrote the following:

“Music has prevented me from making a decision that could have altered my life (multiple times). It has brought me pure happiness in times of endless sorrow.”

To share these things with folks you have just met doesn’t happen too often. Making music with others builds compassion and empathy. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.

Experiencing music at a young age starts this process. It helps with social development in ways that other activities do not.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you have a second, head over and read my friend Elliot Cole’s post about why music matters. He shares the story about a prison inmate letting his guard down because of music. It’s quite the tale.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]brain on music[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Music Fertilizes the Brain

Music for music’s sake should be reason enough as to why we should study music. John Adams gave us this gem in a letter to his wife, Abigal Adams:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

It’s right there – one of the United States’s founding fathers told us – music is a noble art and worthy of our time. But, in the interest of advocacy, music has a positive impact on how we learn other subjects. The National Association for Music Education provides a great list for music advocacy superheroes. Here is a selection:

  1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.
  2. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.
  3. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.
  4. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

National Association for Music Education

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Music Positively Impacts Health

Physical and mental health. Study after study reinforces the fact that music can have very strong, positive effects on our overall health.

The list goes on. Music can reduce recovery time after surgery and working out. It can improve cognitive brain function and help folks manage anxiety. I’ve said it before – music is magic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Go Forth and Advocate!

Now that you have the details – spread them far and wide! And if you are looking for more ways to pull music into your life, take a class! Get your kids involved with Kindermusik! Write a song! Don’t wait any longer – go see that band you’ve been wanting to see or maybe head to your local symphony.

Remember friends…music makes it meaningful.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Minneapolis Memories: Kindermusik Educators Take Over The City of Lakes

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Close to 200 Kindermusik Educators from across the globe gathered together at the mind-blowing Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 27-29 for three, fun-filled days of learning, connection, friendship, and, of course, shopping!

Wednesday evening Maestros were treated to a memorable reception at The Hard Rock Café joined by President and CEO, Scott Kinsey. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

State Representative Drew Christensen - former Kindermusik kid!
State Representative Drew Christensen – former Kindermusik kid!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Thursday morning special guest, former Kindermusik kid, and the youngest candidate to ever be elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives, Drew Christensen, opened the conference sharing how his Kindermusik experience attributed to his successful political career.

We were then introduced to Occupational Therapist, Paige Hays, who skillfully led us through The Brain Architecture Game, developed through a partnership of the Center on the Developing Child and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Look for an interview with Paige later this month![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Educators
Paige Hays

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A conference highlight was meeting Stephanie Johnson, educator, therapist, and author of Baby Bare: A Bottom Up Approach to Growing Strong Brains and Bodies. Her informative presentation explored the body’s role in early learning. Educators took away valuable insights to share with families.

Other conference highlights include: hearing from special guest and marketing guru, Kari Switala on the importance of storytelling in marketing, class demonstrations led by Robyn Pearce and Helen Peterson, and watching Kindermusik legend, Carol Penney, and Maestro Louise MacDonald’s powerful presentation on Intergenerational Learning.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Conference is about connection!
Conference is about connection!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Outside the conference, Minneapolis offered a relaxing retreat to Minnehaha Falls with breathtaking waterfalls.

We can’t wait until next year’s conference in the Big Easy – New Orleans! Hope to see many of you once again – and perhaps some new faces as well![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music as Medicine: Good for Mental Health

music as medicine

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You might know the classic song from Mary Poppins with the line, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”  Well, we’d like to propose that music can be wonderful medicine, especially when it comes to enhancing our mental health.  Let’s explore a few of the many reasons why music is so good for our minds and hearts.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLkp_Dx6VdI”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Increases Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that affects our emotions, behavior, attention, learning, feelings of pleasure and pain, and even our movements.  Research studies have demonstrated that listening to music can increase dopamine levels significantly, providing a documented link between the enjoyment of music and our overall well-being.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Provides an Outlet for Self-expression

The famous quote by Hans Christian Andersen says it best, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Music can help even young children understand how they feel and give them a way to express those feelings, even at a young age.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music makes us smile!
Music makes us smile!

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Music Can Help us Relax

In our fast-paced, busy lives, we all need to deliberately make time to just relax and do nothing.  This is especially true for young children and precisely why our Kindermusik classes include listening and quiet time activities with beautiful, gentle music.

Music Can Enhance our Ability to Focus

Sometimes tired or distracted minds just need a little boost, and the right kind of music can do just that.  Classical music and music with no lyrics playing softly in the background does wonders for increasing attention span and improving the brain’s processing efficiency.

Music Connects us with Others

Especially when you share a musical experience with others, like a Kindermusik class, music brings people together and creates opportunities for meaningful social interaction.  In Kindermusik, we purposely include Meet-and-Greet dances and Circle Songs to build a strong sense of friendship and belonging.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][blockquote cite=”Ludwig van Beethoven”]“Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit.” [/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music Motivates Us

When you’re feeling tired or unmotivated, or you have a child who has trouble getting going, turn on some lively, happy music so that you can help but feel energized! For young children, a routine of using music to get up and going or to make a car ride go faster can make all the difference.

The bottom line?  Music is great medicine! Music has the power to soothe, to inspire, to energize, and so much more, contributing significantly to the health of our mental and emotional well-being, both as children and as adults. The well-known classical composer Ludwig Beethoven put it beautifully, “Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit.”   [/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][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 Listening With Your Kids: Find the Center

Music Listening

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One afternoon, I walked into the living room and my very active 3-year-old daughter was just laying on the couch with a blanket. “What are you doing? Are you OK?” I asked her. “Yes mama, I’m just listening to the music,” she replied. And she stayed there for a good 20 minutes. Mind you, this is the child who barely sat down for more than 30 seconds at a time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Listening to music is something of a lost art. Taking the time to just LISTEN with your child can help you to reconnect after a long day and teaches them that listening to music can be the main activity and not just background noise. Babies and young children especially benefit from mindfully listening to music. We forget that they are also exposed to stressors during their day and that relaxation is a LEARNED skill that we need to teach. It doesn’t have to be very long, try listening to 1 or 2 songs, especially if your child is very young and on the move! The idea isn’t to get them to “sit down and listen,” but to create an environment where they are able to enjoy the music.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Music Listening[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

A Few Tips for Mindful Music Listening

  • Start the music and then put your phone and all other technology away and out of sight.
  • Make eye contact with your child and smile.
  • If your child needs movement, try rocking with them on your legs.
  • Add some intentional touch such as rubbing their back or ears, or massaging their feet.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Quietly talk about the music. What instruments are being used? Is it a man or a woman singing? Is the music fast or slow? Does it sound happy or sad? If there are words, what language are they speaking? Even babies and toddlers benefit from you labeling these sounds for them, and children in preschool and beyond will enjoy having a conversation about the music they are hearing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Make music listening a special part of your daily rituals, whether it’s when you come home from work, or before bedtime. Your entire family will benefit from a few minutes of mindful music listening![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Jessica Solares | Bucktown Music
The Solares family at their Chicago studio, Bucktown Music

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Jessica Solares and her husband Luis own Bucktown Music in Chicago, IL, which is recognized by Kindermusik International as one of the top studios in the world. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Elmhurst College and has been a licensed Kindermusik educator since 2008. She joined the Kindermusik University teacher training team in 2016 and is proudly sharing her expertise with the newest generation of Kindermusik educators![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reunited: A Short Film About Music and the Human Spirit

spirit

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Friends, I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll continue to say it: music is magic. Below, you’ll find a short, five-minute film about Edward Hardy, a retiree in Somerset, England, and Sam Kinsella, a young man looking for a few extra bucks. Sam’s search lead him to Mellifont Abbey, a residential care facility in Somerset and the position of activities coordinator. What happened next was nothing short of amazing, a word that gets tossed around a bit too casually for my taste. But for Sam and Mr. Hardy, no other word will do. Together, they discovered how music can heal the spirit.

Mr. Hardy had been suffering from dementia for some time. He would pound on the floor and call for help for no reason. His interaction with others was limited and strained. He was depressed and detached.

Sam eventually disclosed to Mr. Hardy that he was part of a band in Somerset. This bit of information seemed to pique Mr. Hardy’s interest. He told Sam that he played piano for years.

This gave Sam an idea. He had a keyboard brought in for Mr. Hardy. This was the beginning of a new light in the 93 year-old’s life. To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Hardy came out of his shell and played for everyone.

But Sam wasn’t done.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Spirit
Mr. Hardy plays with former bandmates.

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We’re Getting the Band Back Together!

Sam decided to seek out some local musicians so Mr. Hardy could make music with a group again. People came out of the woodwork to make music with Mr. Hardy. To Sam’s surprise, among them were some of the original members of Mr. Hardy’s band. They gladly came out to Mellifont Abbey for a jam session. You’ll see Mr. Hardy make music with them in the film, and the obvious joy on his face when he does.

This lead to the idea of having the newly reformed group give a concert at Mellifont. This not only brought joy to Mr. Hardy, but to the other residents as well.

Mr. Hardy’s story was featured on the BBC and other news sites across the UK. Music, that magical art form, is now a more regular part of life at Mellifont Abbey. And Mr. Hardy, he found a little bit of himself that was lost.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/Tp6c_oG1SBk”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1500644816485{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]