Bringing musical learning to children in Beirut

With Kindermusik classes in more than 70 countries, we receive stories from parents and teachers from all over the world. While each story is unique, music—and the power of learning through music—connects them all.
Kindermusik Class in BeirutTake the story of children attending Kindermusik at Learn & Play in Beirut, Lebanon, for example. Last year this pioneer nursery in Lebanon began offering two Kindermusik curricula: ABC Music & Me  and ABC English & Me. Since then, the parents and teachers have loved seeing the children completely engaged in learning through songs and instruments while also gaining confidence in making their own music. Of course, the parents and teachers appreciate how the curricula use music and movement to teach children lifelong skills.
The ABC Music & Me music program for schools is specifically designed to support the development of the whole child from birth through school age. Teachers at Learn & Play notice that it combines children’s natural love of music, storytelling, and imaginative play while developing their attention skills, social skills, verbal memory, listening skills, and sound discrimination.
Kindermusik in BeirutLearn & Play teaches children French, Arabic, and English. Since using ABC English & Me to introduce young children to English as a second language, children can now count, sing, and name different parts of the body using English. Music is a great way to help children become familiar with English and the different visuals and animated stories used in ABC English & Me make it easy for children to interact and learn English.

Interested in bringing Kindermusik to your school? Visit for more information.

9 Ways Music Gives Us Something to Smile about on World Smile Day

Happy World Smile Day! Today is the day to smile…and pass it on. Mother Theresa said: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” Remember the first time a baby smiled at you? Your heart melted just a little bit didn’t it? Afterwards, you probably did everything you could to coax another smile!
Well, it should come as no surprise that we use music to bring smiles to children, families, teachers, and everyone else we can. So, we wanted to start World Smile Day off with a little music, of course. Take a listen…and try NOT to smile.
You smiled didn’t you? It’s hard not to smile when watching young children engaged in music. It’s an undeniable truth: Music gives us so many reasons to smile. Here are just a few.

9 Ways Music Gives Us Something to Smile About

1. Music causes children to move and dance and react in amazing ways. It really is impossible not to smile when seeing young children naturally respond to music. After all, you couldn’t help but smile when watching those babies’ faces light up and their bodies begin to dance when their dad started playing his guitar.
2. Music is a gateway to family fun. When families listen to music and then dance around in the living room, smiles and bursts of laughter blend in with the beat. Or  when families sing together in the car, they transform even the most mundane errands—or the longest road trip—into memories that last a lifetime. In the daily routines of family life, music brings fun.
One Kindermusik parent put it this way:
Kindermusik - Smile“Kindermusik started out as a way for our family to bond and a place for my daughters to express themselves long before they had words to communicate. Now it is a place for us to be silly, meet new families, and make lots of music together. We love Kindermusik!” ~Kindermusik Parent, Emily R
3. Music provides many health benefits. Listening to music makes us feel better, boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, encourages relaxation, and even releases pain-fighting endorphins.
baby mom smile4. Participating in musical activities supports cognitive development in children, including language and literacy, spatial-temporal reasoning, and mathematical abilities.
5. Playing music with others makes the world a better place by promoting a sense of community and belonging and fostering cooperation and helpful behavior.
6. Playing instruments or singing provides a creative outlet and opportunity to express thoughts and feelings in a unique way.
7. Music connects us to our past and creates new memories in the present. Hearing the music of our parents and grandparents helps us understand them just a little bit better and provides a bridge between the generations. This also happens when we sing the same lullaby to our children that our parents sang to us.
Kenyan children playing egg shakers8. Music is the one language in the world every single person speaks. We see this the world over. Bring in a basket of instruments to children in Ohio, South Africa, Italy, Australia, The Philippines, Mexico—and everywhere in between—and they will shake, scrape, tap, beat, and create beautiful music. No translation needed.
9. When our favorite song comes on, we can’t help but sing all the words, loudly. This phenomenon can happen in the grocery store, in an elevator, at the doctor’s office, in the car, anywhere. And, yes, it can happen even when the “kids’ music” unexpectedly comes on and you find yourself singing along…even when you are by yourself.
See, music gives us all something to smile about on World Smile Day. Now pass the love on!

Find more reasons why music gives us something to smile about at

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell a freelance writer living (and smiling!) in the Atlanta area.

New Music Standards – Focus on Preparing Children for Success

National Core Arts Standards 2014

New National Core Music Standards

The arts have always served as the distinctive vehicle for discovering who we are. Providing methods of thinking as disciplined as science or math, and as disparate as philosophy or literature, the arts are used by and have shaped every culture and individual on earth. The arts continue to infuse our lives on nearly all levels—generating a significant part of the creative and intellectual capital that drives our economy. The arts also impart our lives with meaning every time we experience: the joy of a well-remembered song, the flash of inspiration that comes with immersing ourselves in an artist’s sculpture, participating in a sublime dance, learning from an exciting animation, or being moved by a captivating play. (From: National Core Arts Standards, Custom Handbook).
National Core Arts Standards 2014As of June 2014, new music standards were created by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), and based on artistic processes; these include music standards prepared by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

Overview of Standards:

The new National Standards focus on improving each child’s music education experience, supporting educators with enhanced instructional strategies, and emphasizing the benefits of music education. You can visit their site to create your own Custom Handbook, based on discipline, process, and grade level.

Who the Standards are for:

Decision-makers from teachers, to superintendents, to parents, and policy makers, all will be able to utilize these standards as guidelines to improving music education and ultimately future success for our children.

Goals of the Standards are to enhance…

Music Literacy – meaning the ability to communicate through a medium and understand what is communicated. In our multimedia society, we need to prepare children to communicate visually, through sound, video, etc. and have literacy for each media.
Artistic Processes – there are 3-4 core areas these new music standards focus on:

  1. Creating (new music)
  2. Performing (also referred to as Presenting or Producing existing music)
  3. Responding (interpreting the performance/music and developing own opinions)
  4. Connecting (various art forms – this is embedded throughout the standards)

This 5 minute video from the NAfME Deputy Executive Director & COO provides an overview.

Kindermusik Programs Align with the New Music Standards

How Kindermusik Supports Music Literacy

Kindermusik_EarlyChildhoodMusicEducation_OnlinePortal_OutsideMyWindowAn important part of our curricula are the Family Engagement materials. Through real instruments, books, CDs, family activity guides – AND – video field trips, songs, math games, logic games, craft ideas and more within our online learning portal (Kindermusik@Home); we support hands-on learning and emerging technology. We provide families with a useful way to be involved in their children’s educations and expose them to various types of media and arts. This helps Kindermusik reach our mission of instilling a lifelong love of music and learning in children around the world.

How Kindermusik Supports Artistic Processes

EarlyChildhood_InstrumentSet_ABCMusic&Me_Wiggle&Grow_KindermusikInternationalCreating music is what we do in each class. We provide enough instruments for each child in the class to participate and make their own music. Through a variety of age-appropriate and kid-safe instruments, like egg shakers, jingle bells, chime balls, sand blocks, rhythm sticks, and many more, we allow children to be creative and come up with their own way of playing the instrument. We guide them with ideas, and allow kids to express themselves through music.
KindermusikClass_RhythmSticks_TeachChildrenImportantSkillsPerforming, presenting or producing music is also integrated into our classes. Although Kindermusik curriculum is based on process not performance, we do encourage children to present their ideas to class. For example, a teacher may ask, “Johnny, how do you want play your rhythm sticks; fast, slow, loud, or soft?” This allows each child to determine their own preferences and encourages them to play music to a group of their peers, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
ListeningGame_IHearASound_Kindermusik@HomeResponding to music is embedded into the Kindermusik curricula, and we encourage children to be effective audience members. For example, in the song “I Hear a Sound” from our Wiggle & Grow curriculum (for ages 2-3) children hear various instruments, and then have time to guess what instrument they just heard. This aligns with the new standards as we give children the opportunity to listen, analyze, and interpret what they hear.  Follow-up questions from the teacher such as, “Kaylee, what instrument did you like best?” allows children to evaluate what they’ve heard and make decisions based on their preferences – expressing themselves through music.
Connecting various art forms is actually a great way to describe a Kindermusik class. We incorporate: music; movement; dance; visuals; literature including children’s books, poems, and rhymes from many cultures around the world; opportunities for ensemble experiences; and so much more.
Kindermusik_SupportsAllLearningDomainsWe too recognize the importance of technology in education and so, we developed the Kindermusik@Home portal. Parents can login and enjoy with their children; fun educational games, activities, eBooks, videos, crafts and more, along with ideas for taking the learning offline. We include parenting resources to help them understand the importance behind these educational activities.
And we keep on top of the growing body of research on the benefits of music for children. The Kindermusik curriculum is more than a music class, it’s designed to promote school-readiness and stimulate development across all learning domains, supporting the future success of each child…and in turn…our world.
Other components, like the Opportunity-to-Learn Standards, are part of these new music standards and are still being developed. One call-out the Executive Director & COO of NAfME mentioned is the standards will likely include guidance that students should receive WEEKLY INSTRUCTION. Again, another way Kindermusik aligns. Our weekly lessons are flexible and provide concepts teachers can use throughout the day.
To learn more about the new music standards, please reference:
To learn more about Kindermusik, please visit:

4 Things You May Not Know About Kindermusik

Kindermusik is for parents tooKindermusik isn’t just for kids – it’s for parents too!
You’ll love the support and friendship you find amongst the other adults in the class.  The class activities are just as much fun for you as they are for your child – and no one cares how well you sing or dance.  It’s all about the kids!  Plus you’ll take home what you learn so that along with your Home Materials, you’ll have the tools and resources at your fingertips to extend the fun, music, and learning at home.
Kindermusik classes will become the highlight of your week.
Kindermusik isn’t just one more thing for your busy schedule, it’s the one thing that allows you time to slow down and savor those precious, fleeting years from newborn to age 7 years. Kindermusik classes give you uninterrupted quality time with your child and unique insights into your child’s development.  And there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that you (and Kindermusik!) just put that big smile on your child’s face and a happy song in his/her heart.
Kindermusik helps you influence your child’s early learning.
With Kindermusik, your young child has his/her first learning experiences in a group where the gentle, nurturing structure of the class is shaped not only by your caring, licensed educator, but more importantly, by your support and involvement in class.  It’s in the early years that brain activity is at its peak, and where the window of learning is open widest.  With carefully developed curricula enhanced by your Home Materials, Kindermusik helps you give your child an early learning advantage.  After all, you are your child’s first and best teacher!
A Kindermusik enrollment pays huge dividends.
It’s impossible to put a price tag on the long-term benefits of investing in Kindermusik for your child.  Kindermusik is truly the good beginning that never ends, nurturing your child’s total development, creating memories of the happiest moments, and fostering a lifelong love of music.  The bonding and together time contributes to healthy social-emotional development.  And the research continues to confirm a strong connection between music and academic achievement.  Even more studies are finding that the beneficial effects of early childhood music experiences extend even into the elderly years.
Kindermusik is where music and learning play
Want to learn more about Kindermusik?  Get started today with a free preview class on us.

From a cowboy community to the Kindermusik community

Music can both bring an existing community together and create a new community. Director, Musician, and Kindermusik Educator Amy Munsell understands the power of Amy Munsell 2music to make connections between people of all ages and all backgrounds.
When she opened her studio in Casper, Wyoming, late last year, many people in her area questioned the need for music classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. Now after growing from 20 families to over 200 (and still growing!), people no longer question it. Well, local pediatricians do. They contact her to find out what she teaches in Kindermusik class, because they can tell the developmental difference during well-child checkups!
“My studio, VIBES, is about putting good and positive vibes out into our community, allowing students to excel in music and the arts, and to expose students and families to new opportunities in the world,” explains Amy.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, a seasoned saxophone performer, and more than 10 years of music teaching experience, Amy researched various early childhood music programs before deciding to teach Kindermusik. “With my background, I looked for specific things in a curricula. I love how Kindermusik supports the educator as the guide and the parent a the most important teacher in a child’s life. Also, Kindermusik starts with newborns through 7, such as critical time in early childhood development,” Amy explains. “Plus, I immediately loved the sense of community Kindermusik portrays—from the training to the curriculum development to the classroom.”

Building community in the everyday moments with music

Amy Munsell 3Of course, music makes those big life occasions all the more memorable. What is a wedding without music to walk down the aisle or a graduation without a little “Pomp and Circumstance”? But, music also celebrates those everyday (and just as important!) moments.
“I was working so hard as a performer to share one big moment with an audience, but in teaching Kindermusik, I get to share so many little moments every day in the classroom,” confesses Amy. “And with babies and toddlers—especially—this is such an important time in their lives. Every moment is important.”
Each week in Kindermusik, Amy gets really silly in class.  “We have a little party every time,” explains Amy. “The parents, children, and I get to have so much fun through music and we secretly teach kids all at the same time. The magic of what I get to do and the moments that we share together is magical!” concludes Amy.

From the cowboy community to the Kindermusik community

Amy Munsell 3Casper, Wyoming, may be known as “cowboy country” but thanks to Amy Munsell—with the support of her husband, Lukas—it’s also now Kindermusik country. We know that the sense of community she and her Kindermusik families create is making a profound difference in the lives of children in Casper.

Are you interested in joining the Kindermusik community as a licensed Kindermusik educator or by enrolling your family in a class? Learn more!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer and believer in the power of Kindermusik to create community.

Leading Education Brands Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International Partner to Build Early Literacy Skills in Children

Partnership Combines the Power of Music with Digital Reading For Music in Our Schools Month and Read Across America Day

LOS ANGELES, CA & GREENSBORO, NC – February 18, 2014 – Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International, two of the most trusted brands in childhood education, today announced a partnership that combines Kindermusik International’s research-based musical learning curriculum with Reading Rainbow’s award-winning mobile reading service in a digital library available on tablet devices. New digital content will launch March 2, 2014, in time for Music in our Schools Month (MIOSM), and National Read Across America Day (RAAD).

Music Mountain Reading Rainbow“This partnership with Kindermusik emphasizes the important, proven connection between literacy and music,” said LeVar Burton, RRKidz/Reading Rainbow co-founder. “We know that when young children are engaged by music in age-appropriate ways, they can build skills that are the foundation for reading. By integrating the other arts and sciences, we aim to further inspire a lifelong love of learning.”

Reading Rainbow’s tablet-based reading service, hosted by Burton, guides children on a reading adventure to themed “islands,” each filled with hundreds of children’s books and video field trips. More than ten million books have been read and video field trips viewed since the mid-2012 launch. With the addition of Music Mountain Island, Kindermusik’s music-themed books and videos will be featured alongside other newly produced content from Reading Rainbow and their acclaimed partners.

“Our collaboration with Reading Rainbow reinforces what our own experience and the growing body of research clearly states, that there is a clear tie between music and literacy and language development,” explained Michael Dougherty, CEO at Kindermusik International. “We are thrilled to put our research-based content into some of the best development hands and are excited this new content area within Reading Rainbow will arrive in time to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month.”

While the partnership between these two brands is new, the links between music and reading are not. Research has shown music supports a child’s literacy development in many ways, including phonological awareness, vocabulary building, listening skills, reading accuracy, and prosody. Results from a 2012-2013 study of nearly 300 preschool children by independent research firm, SEG Measurement, indicated that students who utilized Kindermusik’s ABC Music & Me curriculum for just 30 minutes each week showed greater gains in literacy. The treatment group who utilized the music and movement curriculum showed a 32% higher gain in Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) scores over the control group.

The Music Mountain Island featuring Kindermusik’s content will be available in the Reading Rainbow app and the Kindle Fire app by March 2, 2014. The app is free to try and for an unlimited reading experience, parents can subscribe for $9.99 per month or $29.99 for a six-month subscription. Additional information about the Reading Rainbow iPad app can be found by visiting the iTunes App Store here.


About LeVar Burton:

Best known for his Reading Rainbow stewardship as well as his other

distinguished TV roles (most notably Kunta Kinte on Roots and Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation), LeVar Burton comes from a family of educators and is widely recognized for his lifelong advocacy of children’s literacy. He speaks passionately on the topics of early learning and technology and has been a keynote speaker at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, South by Southwest (SXSW) Edu and received the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media from Tufts University as well as The 2013 Children’s Media Award from Common Sense Media.

About RRKidz, Inc.:

Respected by millions and one of the most watched children’s television series in PBS history, Reading Rainbow has been connecting families to the joy of reading for over 30 years. In 2011, famed actor/producer/educational advocate LeVar Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, formed RRKidz. They hold the global rights to the Reading Rainbow brand through a partnership with series creator, WNED/Buffalo. RRKidz’s flagship product, the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, is a reading subscription service filled with a library of quality ebooks, kids videos, and educational games. New children’s books and reading activities are added every week encouraging children to “go anywhere, be anything.” Free to try, the educational app is available on the iPad ( and Kindle Fire (

About Kindermusik International:

Kindermusik International is the world’s leading provider of music, movement and literacy programs for young children, enjoyed by more than two million families in over 70 countries. For more than 35 years, Kindermusik has helped children and their families discover how music can enrich their lives and lay the foundation for a lifetime love of learning. Kindermusik offers developmentally-specific educational programs for children ages newborn to seven. Kindermusik curriculum is taught by the best educators in the best schools and studios world-wide. Visit to learn more about Kindermusik early childhood programs and music classes for kids.

Connect with Reading Rainbow:


Twitter: @readingrainbow




Connect with Kindermusik:




Twitter: @Kindermusik


Contacts for Reading Rainbow:

Julie Nathanson Teri Weigel

310.854.8191 310.854.8290

Contacts for Kindermusik

Jamie Sterling Lauren Burke

336.543.6218 410.975.9638


Music Makes Your Day

boy asleep with musicOne of Kindermusik’s core promises is to help make great parenting a little bit easier.  Without a doubt, music is one vital tool that parents can use not just for fun and bonding, but as way to make the daily routines go more smoothly with less tears and more joy.

Wake up with music

Singing your child’s favorite song can chase away the morning grumpies and coax that first smile of cooperation.  Try this free “Get up and Move” activity from Kindermusik @Home to get your morning off to a great start together.
Play some recorded music as you are getting your child ready for the day – quiet and soothing or happy and energetic – whatever your child responds best to.  With your Kindermusik music downloads and ever-expanding library, it’s easy to create playlists of favorite music to suit any mood.

Go places with music

Sing together in the car.  No one else will hear, and your child will love having the chance to make music together with you.
Utilize Kindermusik’s radio app or stream your class music so that you can have fun music with you wherever you go.

Take naps with music

There’s nothing more soothing than a playlist or CD of gentle lullaby sleepy-time music.  Or even just cuddling and singing a sweet quiet song before tucking your child in for a nap will make naptime that much easier.  Making music a part of the naptime routine will send your child off into the land of nod quicker than almost anything else.

Transition with music

Many children have difficulty transitioning from one thing to the next – they want to keep playing when it’s time to leave to pick up big sister from school.  Or they’re not quite ready to sit in the high chair for lunch.  You name it – there’s probably a way to turn that difficulty into something fun.  It’s easy to “piggyback” a song, replacing the words with words you make up.
Or how about that time in the day when everyone is hungry and supper isn’t ready yet?  Turn on a favorite recording and make an impromptu band using wooden spoons and plastic bowls (keeping safety and age-appropriateness in mind, of course!).

Splish splash with music

Yes, even tub time is more fun with some lively music playing in the background.  Your child may not be singing in the shower just yet, but the two of you can have lots of fun making bathtime a highlight of the day singing and listening to music in between all of the bubbles.

Music is one of the very best activities for kids at home and on the go!  And we promise, music can make the moments of your day easier and happier.

Need some musical inspiration and resources?  Try a Kindermusik class – free previews available!
– Written by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC

Behind the music on Kindermusik recordings: Howard Levy

Howard Levy is a featured musician on one of Kindermusik's recordings.

Musician Howard Levy has played with some of the world’s best musicians – from the innovative, future-forward stylings of banjoist Béla Fleck to Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, as well as symphony orchestra musicians around the world with his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra.
Howard is also a featured musician on two Kindermusik recordings: “Riding the Rails” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
Composer and arranger Jon Negus worked with Howard on the Away We Go! session. Here’s what Jon had to say about it:

When I was describing to Howard and the violinist (Peter La Bella) that “Riding the Rails” was going to be a duel between harmonica and violin, Peter said “Gee… I wonder who’s going to win that one….!”.
Howard was “off the charts” amazing even back then. A kind and gentle man who always educated while he played.

Musician, composer and arranger David Huff added this about the session:

Jon and I were completely awestruck by this man’s virtuosity. Though Howard got it in one take, Jon asked him to do it again just so we could repeat the experience of watching/hearing him play.

Howard is a world-touring musician, playing piano and harmonica. He’s also a dedicated educator teaching harmonica at the online school Artist Works. In this video, Howard talks about his musical beginnings.

Kindermusik's age-appropriate Hohner harmonicas

Want to play?
Harmonica is a featured instrument in Kindermusik’s Away We Go! music and movement program for toddlers.
Join the worldwide community of educators and musicians around the world — sharing the gift of musical learning with children and their loving caregivers.
If you’re ready to become a Kindermusik educator, our online training program provides a flexible, supportive learning environment.

Thanksgiving song and activities: Over the River and Through the Woods

Do you remember this song?

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

It’s hard to say when this famous American poem became so synonymous with the Christmas holiday, but the tune truly belongs to Thanksgiving.

Written by journalist, poet, and human rights advocate Lydia Maria Child, the poem first appeared in Child’s Flowers for Children, Volume 2, in 1844.

It was originally titled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day,” and celebrates Child’s childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather’s house.

As an advocate for Native American rights, anti-slavery laws, and women’s voting rights, Child raised her voice on many issues flaring in the in the 1840s, but refused to raise a fist. Her writings urged people to find a peaceful, non-violent way to progress.

The song can be a great holiday tradition for your family, too. We’ve put together a few simple ways to adapt the song to your child’s learning ability.

Learn more about helping families create musical traditions together in online Kindermusik Educator training. Click here to receive FREE information on becoming a Kindermusik Educator.

Baby (newborn to 2)

Hold your baby close and bounce in rhythm to the music, or pat the steady beat of the song on her back as you sing the song. Studies show a baby prefers the sound of her mother’s voice, and the sound of your voice paired with rhythm of the words – as you gently rock baby, or pat her on the back – helps your baby begin to identify the patterns of language.

Toddler (2 to 3 years)

The “giddy-up” tempo of this song makes it a great lap bounce for toddlers. Exaggerate the movement words, and make the weather and animal sounds mentioned in the lyrics to help your toddler better connect the vocabulary word to the physical movement.

Preschool (3 to 5 years)

Sing the song together and ask your preschooler to draw a picture of the story, and act it out: Pretend to ride a sled, ride through the wind, and ring bells!

Big Kids (5 to 7)

Engage your big kid’s active imagination and write your own lyrics about your family’s Thanksgiving tradition. Use the “Over the River” melody with lyrics about your own journey to Grandma’s house. What do you see? What does the weather do? Do you go over a river? Write your own lyrics.

Click here to see the long and short form of the lyrics.

Play Kindermusik @Home

Talk with your family about the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll find several folk and Americana songs in this collection of Kindermusik songs, “America the Musical Vol. 1 and 2.” Lydia Maria Child would have loved the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song used to help people find the Underground Railroad.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

The Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye