Music Can do THAT? – Learning Languages Through Music

Music enriches our lives in so many ways, but for young children, music is also a very powerful tool for learning. Kindermusik’s English language learning program for young children, Kindermusik English & Me, has been an outstandingly successful and beautifully delightful of teaching children a second language through music, music, stories, rhymes, and more.


Kindermusik English and Me

Here are just a few of the amazing ways that music and a music class help children learn another language:

  • Music and movement literally wake up the brain, making it easy to take in, absorb, and remember even more new information.
  • A music class is an immersive environment like no other. The entire class time is filled with English vocabulary, phrases, and patterns of speaking.
  • Music activates more parts of the brain than just speaking can. In fact, music activates both the left and right sides of the brain and gets those neurons firing!
  • Songs and rhymes “stick” in the memory longer than anything else. Kindermusik classes are filled with repetition in class, and the @Home Materials allow parents to review, reinforce, and enjoy those same songs and rhymes at home throughout the week for an even more powerful learning experience.
  • Music acts like a glue that causes all the pieces of learning another language to not just stick, but also stay, together.
  • A music class like Kindermusik gives rich and varied opportunities for children to listen, listen, listen – which sets them up for greater success when they begin speaking the new language.
  • The combination of listening, speaking, and singing in the Kindermusik classroom increases fluency.
  • The joy and delight of an interactive children’s music class fosters a happy motivation to learn, therefore making learning the English language so much easier and more natural.

So whether your little one is just learning to speak or you have a young child who is an English language learner, one of the very best and most effective tools for learning is music.  And here’s a little secret… YOU as the parent will love your Kindermusik too!

Yes, music – and especially Kindermusik! – can do all that!

7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language

Je suis. Tu es. Il est. Nous sommes. If you studied a second language in high school or college, you probably know all about conjugating verbs. As teenagers or adults, learning the grammar rules of another language often form the foundation for second-language learning. However, teaching a second language to children looks completely different. After all, children under the age of 7 can’t read or write. However, young children are uniquely suited to learn another language. Here’s why:

7 reasons for children under 7 to learn another language

  1. Learning a second language under the age of 7 is cognitively as easy as learning a first language. Young children learn languages by listening to the sounds, structures, and intonation patterns around them. So young ELL students learn English the same way they learn their first language.
  2. Young English language learners learn to speak like a native speaker, without an accent.7 reasons for children under 7 to learn a second language
  3. Teaching English as a second language positively impacts the cognitive development in children. According to research, children who learn a second language experience better critical-thinking skills, enhanced spatial relations, and increased creativity when compared to their monolingual peers.
  4. Acquiring second-language fluency prepares children to live and work in a global society.
  5. Young English language learners experience a boost in the language and literacy abilities of their first language, including vocabulary development. Added bonus: this advantage continues to broaden as children grow older.
  6. Children who learn a second language exhibit enhanced attention skills when compared to monolingual peers.
  7. Learning a second language at an early age increases children’s confidence and teaches them to love learning. 

ESL curriculum uses English songs for kids (and more!)

Our ESL curriculum builds on our more than 35 years of teaching young children. Through English songs for kids, story time, movement activities, and puppets, young ELL students learn English in a fun and engaging environment using research-proven methods. Plus, enrollment includes access to Kindermusik@Home where parents can support the English language learning at home where a child can continue to naturally acquire language skills.
Kindermusik@Home ESL activityTry this sample Kindermusik@Home activity. The Just Me! music video incorporates a multi-sensory teaching approach to support visual, auditory, and tactile learning.

Learn more about Kindermusik’s English Language Learning curriculum, ABC English & Me. 

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


Music and language share common brain pathways


Athletes employ the benefits of music to boost overall performance. Science shows that specific types of music can really get the blood pumping and focus the mind on the task at hand—like 1-minute planks or running those last few miles. However, a new study also shows that music can get the blood pumping for language development, too.
Music and language development on the same path to learning
In two related studies, researchers from the University of Liverpool found that brief musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain—the same area of the brain responsible for language learning.
The initial study examined the brain activity patterns in musicians and non-musicians as they participated in musical activities and word generation tasks at the same time. The results showed that the musicians’ brains showed similar paths during the activities, but the non-musicians did not.
In the follow-up study, the researchers measured the brain activity patterns of non-musicians who participated in both a word generation task and music perception task. Then, the participants received 30 minutes of musical training and then completed the tasks again. After the musical training, significant similarities were found in the brain.
Amy Spray, who conducted the research, explained in a press release:  “The areas of our brain that process music and language are thought to be shared. Previous research has suggested that musical training can lead to the increased use of the left hemisphere of the brain. This study looked into the modulatory effects that musical training could have on the use of different sides of the brain when performing music and language tasks. It was fascinating to see that the similarities in blood flow signatures can be brought about after just 30 minutes of simple musical training.”
Music and young ELL students
ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicWhile the study above focused on adult participants, the results impact English language learners in the early childhood classroom, too.  ABC English & Me, our English Language Learners curriculum, uses ESL activities for kids, words with picture cards, puppets, and English songs for kids to teach young children English. From the first song at the start of each class to the last shake or tap of an instrument, children quickly become engaged in actively learning English through fun, games, and, of course, music!
Plus, we provide materials for families to use together at home. These monthly interactive materials support the classroom learning, while giving parents the tools they need to continue the English language learning at home through music.

Learn more about bringing ABC English & Me and the power of music to your school!

A whole new rhythm to English Language Learning

Brain on musicWe rock out in our early childhood music classes—literally and figuratively. From our classes for babies, toddlers, big kids or families to our early literacy and language program in preschools, Head Start programs, and daycares to our ELL curriculum, we use the benefits of music to engage children of all abilities in learning. And, we have a lot of fun in the process!
In the first several years of life, the cognitive development of children fires up. Connections in the brain are formed as children engage in new experiences—and repeated multi-sensory activities strengthen those connections. It’s one of the reasons research indicates that it is the critical period for teaching a child another language. Before age 8, children who learn another language are more likely to speak like a native speaker. In fact, young children who learn to speak another language, such as English as a second language, actually reshape the brain, and also strengthen their first language abilities (contrary to a previously debunked myth).

Take a peek inside the brain of bi-lingual children:


3 reasons to use music and movement in a bilingual curriculum

Musical activities engage all of the senses and stimulate development in every area of the brain. Regardless of a child’s first language, every child speaks music and research shows it positively impacts English language learning, including these three ways:

  1. Music stimulates language learning, builds phonological awareness, and enhances language skills.
  2. Children who learn through movement show a marked improvement in memory.
  3. It’s fun! (Never underestimate the power of fun—and music—when it comes to engaging children!)

Try this activity for young ELL students 

ELL students will love hearing the rhythmic language ofThis Little Car”—over and over Kindermusik@Home ABC Englishagain. And doing so will help them learn to speak, and later read, in English, because this video is full of opportunities for them to increase their English language phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate words, syllables, and sounds in oral language. Research has shown that phonological awareness is one of the strongest predictors of later reading success—in English as well as in many other languages.
ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through Music

Learn more about our bilingual curriculum…

that meets the EYFS framework in the UK, CEFR developed by the Council of Europe, and TESOL English Language Proficiency Standards for Pre-K.

5 reasons why family involvement in education matters to ELL students

Parental Involvement Supports Early Literacy Developement

Parental Involvement Supports Early Literacy DevelopementParent is another word for teacher—regardless of what any thesaurus says! (It’s also another word for nurse, doctor, chef, driver…) So, of course, parent involvement in early childhood matters. Studies continue to highlight the importance of family involvement in education, especially in regards to early language and literacy development. After all, we’ve said it before: a parent is a child’s first and best teacher.
However, unlike professional teachers, most parents do not have formal training in early childhood education or teaching English to children. Thankfully, parents do not need formal education in order to support their children learning English as a second language (or as a first!). They do need 20 minutes a day, English language books, and a comfortable place to read together. Here’s why:

5 reasons why parent involvement in education through reading makes a difference to English Language Learners

  1. Reading together promotes language and literacy development in both languages.
  2. Reading to children increases their vocabulary acquisition.
  3. Parents who read to their children improve their child’s chances of success in school-based literacy programs, including an ESL curriculum.
  4. Children’s reading achievement, vocabulary, and comprehension skills improve when their parents read to them. Plus, parents who are also learning English as a second language gain practice, too!
  5. Children develop a positive awareness of the structure of stories, the language of stories, the nature of reading behavior, and the sounds of the language.

ESL activities for children to do at home

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicDuring our ESL curriculum development, we intentionally created content for families to use together at home to support the classroom learning and parental involvement in early childhood education. ABC English & Me includes thematic 30-minute lessons for classroom teachers to use with English language learners between the ages of 2 and 6 years old. Children learn English vocabulary and expression in a musical environment that also connects the classroom learning with the learning at home through Kindermusik@Home. These monthly online home materials include ESL activities for children, a new English language eBook each month, English songs for kids, and more.

Get more information on teaching English to childrenaround the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.

5 ways to support young English Language Learners

Each year the number of English Language Learners enrolled in preschool continues to climb. In the United States, nearly one third of preschoolers under the age of 5 enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start programs live in homes where a language other than English is spoken. A new report, Dual Language Learners: Research Informing Policy, published by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute analyzes more than 200 studies to understand how ELL students learn best. The report includes insights, such as the five ways below, that can help early childhood educators, principals, policy makers, and other decision makers effectively reach and teach the growing ELL population.

5 ways to support the early literacy and language development of young ELL students

  1. Using the home language of young children, as well as English, can be pivotal for English Language Learners. The research shows that a young ELL’s home-language skills can decline if early childhood programs focus exclusively on English language and literacy development.
  2. Researchers found no negative social, linguistic, or cognitive consequences for young children who learn two languages simultaneously, but in fact, found the opposite to be true. So, when possible, incorporate both languages into the learning.
  3. Dual language learning happens within a social context at home and in the classroom. Early childhood teachers are uniquely suited to support linguistic, social, cognitive, and cultural growth, especially when the dual language learning happens within the daily routines and rituals of the school day.
  4. Parent involvement in early childhood education is key to connecting the classroom learning to the home environment.
  5. Recognize that young ELL students will take longer to reach proficiency in both languages than their monolingual peers.

“Young children really benefit when they are exposed to two languages, there is a good research base for that conclusion,” said Linda M. Espinosa in an interview about the report. “But children need to also be exposed to English in those early years.”

Use music to involve ELLs in early literacy and language development

ABC Music & Me uses music to teach early literacy and language development to English Language Learners and increase parent involvement in early childhood education. In addition to our “English Language Learners Strategies Guide” that provides unit-by-unit, lesson-by-lesson tips, ABC Music & Me includes materials in English and Spanish to support the common language spoken in the home and the way dual language learners best acquire early literacy and language development. Each child receives a monthly Student Kit with music from class and a Family Magazine (available in English and Spanish) filled with literacy activities.

For more information about ABC Music & Me, email us at

We're multi-lingual! ABC English & Me's app and tablet learning @Home



We’re multi-lingual! ABC English & Me can now speak nine languages, including English! We’re delighted to announce the new language translations in Kindermusik@Home for ABC English & Me.
Kindermusik@Home materials feature the interactive songs, stories, and activities from class — in an easily downloadable format for a variety of mobile and at-home computer devices.
And now, parents and caregivers can translate the Kindermusik@Home Web site into a preferred language:

  • Traditional Chinese
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Spanish

Step 1: Log on to

Parents and caregivers enrolled in ABC English & Me login to the @Home site at Here, you’ll find all the stories and songs from class, plus special activities you can do together at home.

Step 2: Select your language

Select your preferred language from the drop down menu.

Where do I find my materials?

When the Web site refreshes, you’ll see instructions on the Web site written in your preferred language. Explore the site!
Access the Kindermusik@Home materials in the lower right-hand corner. Click on each one of the four icons – music, lyrics, stories, and activities. Soon, your computer will download an archive zip file of all the activities featured in class.
Look for instructions in your preferred language and follow along.

What do the Kindermusik@Home materials include?

All the songs and stories from stories from class in the English language. Instructions on how to download the music to a computer will appear in the parent’s chosen language.

You can download the illustrated story from class – written in English – or simply read along together on your home computer, tablet or mobile device.
Extra activities you can play together at home – such as a memory game featuring animals or vocabulary words from that mont’s class.
Lyric sheets to all the songs from class.
Sing together the English-language nursery rhymes! Enjoy the music and movement activities from class and do them together at home. Listen to ABC English & Me’s wide variety of songs in a range of musical styles.

Would you like to know more about the research-based approach of ABC English & Me? Click here for more information. We’d love to show you how it works.

Recommendations for reaching Hispanic ELL preschoolers

As children, many of today’s preschool teachers probably picked up a Spanish word or two while watching Sesame Street. (Anyone else remember Luis looking for agua?)

Now, with people of Hispanic descent making up the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States, those same educators teaching a daycare or preschool curriculum probably can put those words to good use in the classroom. However, effectively teaching English Language Learners in preschool takes more than speaking one or two words in Spanish.

Hispanic ELL students in preschool


Longitudinal studies show the lasting effects of a quality preschool curriculum on at-risk students, including increasing the likelihood of graduating high school and attending college. While these studies primarily focus on at-risk children in general, many of today’s at-risk students are English Language Leaners. In fact, 21 percent of all children under the age of 5 are Hispanic (although not all are English Language Learners). A recent policy brief published by NIERR (National Institute for Early Education Research) asks whether or not today’s preschool curriculum is preparing Hispanic children in particular to succeed in school. The report outlines recommendations for decision makers to consider when evaluating or establishing a preschool curriculum or program.

4 recommendations for states to consider for Hispanic English Language Learners in public preschool, according to NIEER

  1. Evaluate preschool education policies with Hispanic children in mind. If ELL status is not a factor considered for targeted program eligibility, a consideration should be given to making it so.
  2. As future programs expand, conducting comparative analyses of targeted programs and PreK for all children may prove useful. Universal programs can cost less per child and resolve problems of eligibility.
  3. States should ensure programs have some support for ELL children in their home language. Research shows that preschool curriculum that also supports the language used at home improves cognitive, linguistic, and social outcomes.
  4. It should be a high priority at the state and federal levels to develop better reporting systems to ensure quality data for stronger research on Hispanic children and early education policies.

You can read the full policy brief here: “Is Public Pre-K Preparing Hispanic Children to Succeed in School?

Use music to teach ELLs early literacy and language development

Every child speaks music! ABC Music & Me uses music to teach early literacy and language development and school readiness skills to young children and engage families in their children’s education. The research-based curriculum can be especially beneficial for English Language Learners. In every unit of ABC Music & Me, children hear stories read aloud and sing songs that include new vocabulary words. Words essential to the unit’s theme are included on picture cards along with recommended instruction for ELL students, expanding the possibilities for vocabulary acquisition. Plus, ABC Music & Me aligns with Title III requirements and our “English Language Learners Strategies Guide” provides unit-by-unit, lesson-by-lesson tips.

According to the NIEER report, Hispanic families continue to encounter barriers to sending their children to preschool, including lack of parental education and language barriers. However, we build parental involvement right into our preschool curriculum, because we know that a parent is a child’s first and best teacher. ABC Music & Me includes materials in English and Spanish, including robust literacy activities, to increase parent involvement and support the common language spoken in the home.

For more information about using ABC Music & Me with English Language Learners or other young children as a preschool or toddler curriculum, email us at

Who ever heard of an impolite Teddy Bear? Nobody! Introducing Unit 4 of ABC English & Me, Hello Teddy

Is there such a thing as impolite Teddy Bear? No! This lovable toy provides a sense of comfort to every child — and every parent who was once a child. In this unit, Teddy Bear will help children learn polite greeting rituals, label different colors and clothes when he gets dressed for school, and he’ll help young children develop gross motor skills and learn to follow directions through simple games such as throwing and catching a ball. All while being huggably polite.

Additional movement activities help children develop an internal sense of control as they play instruments along to the music — stopping when the music stops, speeding up and slowing the tempo.

Target concepts

Following directions
Inhibitory control
Developing gross motor skills such as throwing and catching a ball
Polite rituals and greeting vocabulary

New and reinforced vocabulary words

bear, farm, horse, town, bus, car, bed, kitchen, tractor
teddy bear puts on…, t-shirt, jeans, shoes, socks, sweatshirt, green, blue, red, yellow, white, black, brown

New movement concepts

Turn around, touch the ground, show your shoe, dance on your toes
touch your nose, tap your head, go to bed, wake up now, take a bow
wave your hands, side-to-side, walk, tiptoe, skip, leap
sit down, tap your head, touch your nose, reach up high

Music activities

Playing with sandblocks: tap, up high, down low, fast, slowly, stop, “Let’s play with the music!”
The drum! Focused listening activities include counting and tapping the drum, as well as taking turns with the drum

Available now in the Digital Teacher’s Guides.
To learn more about digital teacher’s guides and Kindermusik, click here.