How Music Helps Children Listen, Share, & Cooperate

Kindermusik Friends

Kindermusik FriendsHappy.  Well-adjusted.  Confident.  Shows empathy.  Cooperates with peers.  Has good self-control.  Any parent would be delighted to hear this assessment of his or her child.  These words describe the social-emotional skills that are so closely tied to success in school and success in life.
For young children, social-emotional development can be enhanced through age-appropriate group musical experiences, like those in the Kindermusik classroom.

From music skills to life skills…

Here are just a few examples of how music and movement classes improve children’s listening skills and support social-emotional development:

  • Gathering time where the children informally explore instruments or play with special props gives lots of opportunity for practicing sharing… and resolving conflict when two children want the same instrument.
  • Kindermusik Class in ChinaEnsemble experiences help children to listen closely and work together as they play-along and sing-along together as a group.
  • Waiting for a turn to explore a special instrument or to share an idea helps children learn self-control.
  • Sitting on the Story Blanket during musical story time teaches children how to empathize (Where can Susie sit?), cooperate (Let’s make sure all of our friends can see.), and listen.
  • “Stop and go” activities also give opportunities for children to practice inhibitory control in a fun way – including using the ASL sign for “Stop!”

Improve Children's Listening Skills through Music

  • “Follow the leader” activities require children to listen and cooperate, take turns, and practice inhibitory control.  You can practice this at home with an impromptu musical parade around the house as you take turns being the band leader.
  • Circle dances require every one to move together in the same direction and at the same speed.  But they also inspire a sense of community, belonging, and self-esteem.
  • Listening to music, moving to music, and singing are ways children can communicate about their feelings, helping them begin to better self-regulate and providing them with a safe and creative outlet for self-expression.

Find out more about Kindermusik at

FOL Fridays – Stop… and GO!

Smiling Dancing Toddler GirlOne aspect of self-control is inhibitory control, or the ability to stop oneself and wait. Toddlers love stop-and-go games because they allow them to practice control over their physical bodies and to revel in their mastery of this control. Inhibitory control is important in social interactions where taking turns is involved, and as such is an important skill for success in school.
In fact, studies suggest that “children who learn that they have the capacity and opportunity to exert control over their actions early in life may be more likely to learn to accept responsibility for their actions as they mature.”
(Fostering Children’s Social Competence: The Teacher’s Role by Lilian G. Katz and Diane E. McClellan)
Tips for parents: Teach your child the ASL for “stop” as seen HERE. Giving your child something to do (i.e., making the sign for “stop”) helps them be able to stop more immediately, plus it’s a fun thing for kids to learn. It is also a good non-verbal communication tool for you to have handy when there’s a need for your child to stop. You can also play a simple stop-and-go game by singing and moving, stopping at the end of the song with the ASL “stop” sign, and going again with as many more verses as you can stand!

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

FOL Fridays: “Aaaand Stop!”

Musical learning at Kindermusik & at home

Musical learning at Kindermusik & at homeActivities that encourage a child to move or STOP moving in response to a cue help the child develop inhibitory control.

This ability to control one’s own body movements is an important first step toward developing both coordination and self-discipline.

Tips for parents:

One start/stop learning game for kids is to turn on a favorite recording or song and have your child dance until you push “pause”. Then start dancing again when the music starts up again.

Learning Through Sign Language

You can also teach your child this ASL sign for STOP. Sometimes giving children something to do, i.e., making the sign for stop themselves, helps them be able to stop their bodies.

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