FOL Fridays: Cultivating Empathy

Empathy between children and the world is a main developmental objective for preschool children. They don’t differentiate between themselves and others. Cultivating relationships with animals, both real and imagined, is one of the best ways to foster empathy during childhood. Children want to run like deer, slither along like snakes, be clever as a fox, and quick like a rabbit (adapted from Sobel, David. 1999)

Ideas for parents: Looking for activities for 3 year olds – or older or younger siblings? Try playing a simple game of Animal Charades with the whole family. You can have lots of fun moving and making sounds like some of your favorite animals, and in this fun way, help your child

develop a greater capacity for empathy. And of course, we can’t help but mention that group activities for kids that support parent involvement in early childhood education, such as Kindermusik, are one of the best ways for music and learning about empathy to go hand-in-hand.

– Contributed by Theresa Case, whose Greenville, SC program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Kindermusik benefits parents too!

Village photo shoot 001 compressedWhat’s in a Kindermusik class… for parents??? Well, for starters, there’s music, singing, instruments, dancing, and together time with your child – the very kinds of music education activities your child will love too. The real secret is that you can enjoy letting out your inner child and everyone else will only be thinking what a wonderful and interactive parent you are!

But it really goes much deeper than that. Kindermusik educators are quite fond of explaining that Kindermusik classes are just as much for the parent as they are for the child during this critical window of early childhood development. While there are many benefits of Kindermusik enrollment for you and your child, one significant area is the social-emotional impact for the parents.

The social outlet

Kindermusik classes give you a vital social outlet, a place where you can make new friends and keep up with old friends too!

The support network

Kindermusik is a place where you can belong and be supported by other parents going through the same things with their children as you are with yours.

The emotional connections

Kindermusik classes are where emotional connections between you and your child are strengthened, and where what you learn and enjoy in class will spill over into even more bonding and memories together at home.

The window into your child

One of the unique features of Kindermusik is that you will glean tidbits and insights into that precious little

person that is your child. We use music as the vehicle to enhance every aspect of early childhood development, and to give you a peek into the wonders of the whys and hows of who your child is and what he is becoming.

The best choice

Knowing you have chosen one of the very best possible experiences for your child by enrolling her in Kindermusik makes you feel great – in class each week and at home all week long!

See for yourself why so many parents love Kindermusik – for their children and for themselves! Try a free class today.

– Written by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Upstate South Carolina

4 Significant Benefits of Music Education

baby playing drum
(article originally published at

baby playing drumMusic is a very powerful subject – It has been used since the Greek times for healing, communication, relaxation and for enjoyment. Even before birth we are aware of our mother’s heartbeat and during infancy are relaxed by the song of a lullaby. Every day everybody hears some form of musical pitch or rhythm and it can even be found in nature such as how birds communicate through a song-like speech.
Music is such a powerful force, it creates deep emotions in humans – it is played at weddings for happiness, in horror films and during war for fear and at home for happiness and because of this lends itself to relaxation, stress relief and health therapy – and the connection between music, body, and soul has even been shown to improve physical and mental health.
Skills such as working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, calmer attitudes, imagination, discipline, study skills and invention are learned and improved through the study of music and by focusing on the fact that young children are mostly highly receptive to pitch and rhythm – one of the main ways a child learns its language – that we can drive education in music to children to help them with benefits ranging success in society and in life.

Benefit One: Success in Society

“We believe the skills the arts teach -creative thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking, teamwork and communications – are precisely the tools the workforce of tomorrow will need. If we don’t encourage students to master these skills through quality arts instruction today, how can we ever expect them to succeed in their highly competitive business careers tomorrow?” -Richard Gurin Chief Executive Officer, Binney and Smith, maker of Crayola crayons
Music is a part of our society and a part of all communities – every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to developing greed and a selfish attitude, provides bridges across different cultures that lead to a respect of other races at an early age.
Music has a great value to our economy – it creates jobs, increase’s tax base, boosts tourism and spurs growth in related businesses. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace such as teamwork skills and discipline – during musical performances all members must work together to create the sounds they wish to achieve and for this regular practice is also required. Music favors working and ‘doing’ as opposed to observing, and these are the ethics employers are looking for.
Because of music’s ability to relax, calm and heal, and its optimal platform for emotions, the involvement with music helps to carve brighter attitudes – more optimism towards the future, less TV and non-productive activities, low use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs and desire to develop individual abilities.

Benefit Two: Success in School

Music requires study skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills and as these are learnt and developed they expand the student’s abilities in other academic areas and help them become better students. – Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation. – College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001.
The discipline of music, particularly through participation in ensembles, helps students learn to work effectively in the school environment without resorting to violent or inappropriate behavior – According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as “disruptive” (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as “disruptive.” – Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992.

Benefit three: Success in Developing Intelligence

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music in the brain. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music or those who play an instrument do better in school than those who don’t. Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain.
It can be shown that some measures of a child’s intelligence are increased with music instruction – a connection between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things) helps people to visualize and imagine solutions. This helps people to solve problems creatively and is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for solving mathematical problems and even general daily tasks.
“The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.” – Ratey John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.
Along with mental development music study can support the brains physical development – it has been indicated that musical training physically develops the parts of the brain known to be involved with processing language and reasoning, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Memory can be improved through the linking of familiar songs with objects just as linking images can – past memories and emotions can be triggered by audio.

Benefit four: Success in Life

“Why arts in education? Why education at all? The purpose of education is not simply to inform but to enrich and enlighten, to provide insights into life as it has been led and as it may be led. No element of the curriculum is better suited to that task than arts education.” -David Kearns Now retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation
Ideally we want our children to experience “success” throughout life itself. The benefits may be psychological, spiritual and physical and with the challenge of making life meaningful and fulfilled and to reach a higher state of development by participating in music we develop self-expression which in turn leads to self-esteem – ultimately helping us to succeed at these challenges.
“Casals says music fills him with the wonder of life and the ‘incredible marvel’ of being a human. Ives says it expands his mind and challenges him to be a true individual. Bernstein says it is enriching and ennobling. To me, that sounds like a good cause for making music an integral part of every child’s education. Studying music and the arts elevates children’s education, expands students’ horizons, and teaches them to appreciate the wonder of life.” – U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, July 1999.
Music is a powerful tool and as seen can dramatically improve and enrich everybody. It makes sense to push music education and to allow young generations to gain these wonderful benefits – higher intelligence through increased creative thinking, problem solving and physically stronger brains, a higher perception of life including better attitudes, strong desires to achieve and fulfill and higher self-esteem, better developed discipline, study skills, concentration, communication and team skills which transfer from education through to career and a better understanding of communities and society.
Edward Droscher is the founder of Real Music Production and works to develop music education systems privately and in schools.

Movement and the Brain

Multisensory Learning - Creative Arts Matter in Early Childhood Education

Anne Green Gilbert, author of “Teaching the Three-Rs: Through Movement Experiences” talks about how brain development is directly linked to movement.   For example, holding your baby in different positions actually helps develop new neural connections in the brain. In Kindermusik classes, we use musical concepts like “high” and “low” in our dances and chants to encourage changes of position, inspire creativity, and support brain development. Here’s a little about movement and the brain is incorporated for each of our Kindermusik age groups:


Move, move, and move some more!   In Village, our music class for babies, we move our little ones to learn, so they can learn to move and sooooo much more!  What a brilliant beginning . . .


In toddler music classes, we combine independent and interactive movement between parent and child. Both fine and gross motor are explored.


Ah!  Now the fruits of your playful labor in our babies’ music classes and toddlers’ music classes are exposed and expanded as your children begin to own their movements both large and small!


Just wait until you see what your home play has created.  Your child will be functioning on a much higher level reasoning plane, dealing with abstract notations, rhythms, and teamwork challenges – all skills that require coordination of movement.  These are also skills that your child will have for a lifetime – in school, at play, and later in the workplace.

It’s true… a good Kindermusik beginning never ends!

Find a Kindermusik Class near you!

Compiled by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Daycare teachers promote early literacy skills with music

If Shakespeare had developed daycare or preschool curriculum instead of sonnets and plays, he may have rewritten one of his most famous lines: “If music be the food of love literacy, play on.” Research continues to prove this sentiment, including a new University of Buffalo study published earlier this month.

Training equips preschool teachers to use music

Before conducting this study, professors from the University of Buffalo knew what the research said about music’s ability to greatly impact a child’s early literacy and language abilities. With their study, however, they specifically wanted to see if early childhood teachers, with little to no music background, could be trained to use music in developmentally appropriate ways to boost early literacy development.

Led by Maria Runfola, PhD, and Elisabeth Etopio, PhD, the team recruited 165 preschoolers to participate in music activities led by 11 daycare teachers. As part of the daycare curriculum, the preschool educators leading the music classes received training in musicianship skills and specific strategies for leading preschoolers’ music development. Prior to this early literacy study, these preschool teachers did not have any music training. The researchers found that participating preschoolers experienced a boost in oral vocabulary and understanding of grammar compared to students not enrolled in the preschool curriculum. Plus, children with lower initial literacy skills saw the biggest positive impact.

“First, we found that the musicianship of the early childhood teachers improved as did their ability to guide music activities in ways that enhanced student music development,” explained Runfola in a press release, Study Finds Link Between Music and Preschoolers Reading Readiness.

Since the preschool teachers did not come from a musical background, it was not surprising that participating children did not experience a significant boost to musicality, such as rhythm-pattern achievement. However, the researchers concluded that early childhood teachers without a music background could be trained to teach a daycare curriculum that uses music as a vehicle for early literacy and language development.

“Administrators need to better understand the importance of the arts to children’s development,” Runfola concluded in the press release. “We hope this research will help music educators and childhood educators support their requests for music time for the youngest of our students.  Children need daily appropriate music activity to stimulate their neural activity to develop tonal and rhythm audiation that in turn appears to help their emergent literacy skill.”

If music be the food of literacy, then play on indeed!

Preschool curriculum helps daycare teachers use music to boost early literacy

Created by Kindermusik International, ABC Music & Me is a daycare curriculum that uses music and movement activities to boost early literacy and language skills while also cultivating turn-taking and sharing, improving coordination, enhancing creativity, and more.

Through a robust classroom kit that includes Digital Teacher Guides, ABC Music & Me provides step-by-step planned out lessons so even educators with no musical experience can begin teaching this daycare curriculum immediately.

For more information about using ABC Music & Me as a supplemental daycare curriculum, email us at

Exercising the Brain


“Evidence suggests that long-term musical involvement reaps cognitive rewards–in language skills, reasoning and creativity–and boosts social adjustment.

Music exercises the brain. Playing an instrument, for instance, involves vision, hearing, touch, motor planning, emotion, symbol interpretation–all of which activate different brain systems.”

According to Norman M. Weinberger, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, musical experiences help to shape the brain, and “[depriving] children of [music’s] intellectual, personal and social benefits . . . by failing to foster musicality, our society is wasting its potential.”

It’s an oldie goldie, but you can read the rest of the original interview from September 2000.

Want to get your child more involved in music?
Find a Kindermusik Class today!

The Lifelong Benefits of Music – New Research

Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits

Music is great, music is fantastic, music is social —

let them enjoy it for what it really is.” said Ms. Parbery-Clark, a doctoral candidate in the Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University. Even the NYTimes is giving attention to the benefits of music for kids in their recent post; Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits.

Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits
Photo Credit: NYTimes | Joyce Hesselberth

As mentioned in this NYTimes post…research studies continue to show the correlation between musical training in childhood and strengthened auditory skills and language-based learning.

Researchers at Northwestern University recorded the auditory brainstem responses of college students — that is to say, their electrical brain waves — in response to complex sounds.

The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses — their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested.

And this was true even if the lessons had ended years ago.

At Kindermusik, we know it’s important to incorporate music into children’s lives for many reasons, including early childhood development. We see developmental milestones happen every day with so many children. As new research and studies are conducted, we continue to learn the importance and understand the lifelong effects and benefits of music – and look forward to incorporating this into our curriculum and share this knowledge with our Kindermusik students, families, and educators around the world.

Did you know Kindermusik is in over 70+ Countries?

Find a Class Near You!

A Little Bit of Music Goes a Long Way!

Music Makes you Smarter
Music Benefits the Brain

We know music has many benefits, especially for the way kids learn and how a child’s brain develops. So we get excited about supportive research like this study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience:

Even A Few Years Of Music Training Benefits The Brain.

A team of researchers at Northwestern University, including the well-known Nina Kraus, share findings on the benefits of early childhood music education.

“…Childhood music instruction has strong linguistic benefits and improves performance on everyday listening tasks. Since we live in an inherently noisy world, the better we are at focusing on sound and perceiving different sounds, the better. This can be particularly important for children with learning disorders or those for whom English is a second language.”

Through this study and other research, here are some known benefits of music training:

  • Improves hearing
  • Bolsters brain function
  • Strengthens reading skills
  • Increases math abilities
  • Improves social development
  • Helps people become better team players
  • Supports self-esteem

Our mission at Kindermusik, to instill a lifelong love of music and a foundation for learning in children, completely aligns with this research. We are especially thrilled about the quote from Nina Kraus, supporting the concept that even little exposure to music as can go a long way…

Based on what we already know about the ways that music helps shape the brain, the study suggests that short-term music lessons may enhance lifelong listening and learning,” said Kraus.

We encourage you to share your love for music & extend the benefits of music to others. Please invite your friends and family to Try a Free Kindermusik Class!

FOL Fridays: The Joy of Music

Music is unique to humans, and as basic as language to human development and existence. It is through music that a child gains insight into herself, into others, and into life itself. Perhaps most importantly, music is part of what enables a child to better develop and sustain her creativity and imagination. Because a day does not pass without hearing or participating in some kind of music, it is to a child’s advantage to understand music as thoroughly as she can.

As a result, she will learn to appreciate, listen to, and partake in music all the rest of her life (adapted from Gordon, 1990).

Ideas for parents:

It can be very simple to surround your child with music – the greater the variety, the better!

  • Singing simple songs together can get the morning off to a great start.
  • Child-safe instruments and some recorded music can provide happy times of self-entertainment or together time.
  • Quiet, soothing music before naps and bedtime establishes a wonderfully reassuring sleep time routine.
  • A dance around the kitchen can soothe the supper-time “fussies.”
  • A cuddle and a lullaby at the end of the day adds the sweetest and happiest of memorable moments.

– Contributed by Theresa Case, whose Greenville, SC program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

6 Compelling Reasons for Early Childhood Music Classes

If you think that music and movement classes for little children are just fluff, an article written by Autumn L. Zander in the Aug-Sep 2010 issue of American Music Teacher will make you think again.  According to Ms. Zander, early childhood music classes (like Kindermusik!) will:

1. Expose children to basic music fundamentals that will help them be successful when pursuing private lessons later

2. Introduce social skills

3.  Ease children into a nurturing learning environment

4.  Promote peer interaction in a setting in which they share, listen to others, and support their friends

5.  Help children discover that different learning styles abound

6.  Make music – and music lessons – a routine priority in their schedule, now and in the future

Ms. Zander stresses, “Caregivers play an enormous role in the support and commitment needed for children to succeed in private lessons. The musical foundation that teachers strive to introduce and create is nearly impossible to accomplish without the caregiver’s support. From the first day of classes, the joy of creating music in a classroom, as many of my own families share with me, continues on the car ride home, in line at the grocery store, at the park, before bed time … everywhere. What a wonderful foundation to build upon–one in which music is a vibrant and active part of a family’s daily life.”

Click HERE to read Ms. Zander’s insightful article in its entirety.

Compiled by Theresa Case, M.Ed., Kindermusik Maestro and owner of the Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC