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 www.Kindermusik.com.

Give Your Brain a Work Out

Written by Kindermusik educator, Aimee Carter, as originally posted on her Delightful Sounds blog.  Amy offers Kindermusik classes through her program, Delightful Sounds, which is located in Brandon, Florida.
 
I was doing some research about the benefits of music study today and ran across an article about the effects of music study on the brain. I found the article particularly interesting because of the following quote: “The effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness and thus requires society to re-examine the role of music in shaping individual development.”

Simply put, music is great exercise for the brain, particularly in those areas which affect listening, reasoning, and language skills. Parents who expose their children to musical activities, such as our Kindermusik classes, are giving their children an early advantage for enhanced development and academic success. The developmental foundation that is established in these young minds will increase memory function, listening skills, and creative learning. It is also interesting to note that this study specifically referenced these same benefits for children with special needs who participate in music training.

You can read more by clicking HERE.

The beauty around us

Aesthetic awareness has been described as one of the defining qualities of being human. Becoming aware of the beauty of sound – a part of aesthetic awareness – requires key listening skills.

Sometimes the most unusual sounds and beautiful sights can strike a chord within us, and even within a precocious young child!  Learning to search for beauty, listen for beauty, and discuss beautiful sounds – these are the building blocks to developing an aesthetic awareness that lasts a lifetime.

As adults, it’s up to us to model an appreciation for loveliness  around us and also create environments to help awaken a child’s aesthetic senses. In order for a child to become a truly creative, authentic learner and creator herself, this awareness must first be developed and fostered.

Even simple Kindermusik activities like taking a pretend windy walk, reading about Michael Finnigan’s antics with the wind, or making wind chimes, are part of helping a child seek out and understand the aesthetic beauty around us. A nature walk, singing, painting, drawing, playing an instrument – all these activities are effective.

Here are a few tips to help your child continue to build aesthetic awareness:

1.  Expose your child to experiences that heighten his sense of the aesthetically pleasing – museums, concerts, nature walks, etc.

2.  Point out the beauty already around your child – in nature, fine art, and music.  Talk about what he likes, or doesn’t like, and why.

3.  Play good quality music in the home and/or in the car, surrounding your child with a variety of musical genres and styles.  Discuss what she is hearing and how it makes her feel.

4.  Encourage your child to express himself musically and artistically.  Let your child pick the music he listens to while doing a little project.  Keep kid-friendly art supplies within reach for those moments when inspiration strikes.

5.  Keep your child enrolled in Kindermusik!  From newborn up, Kindermusik is seven musical and magical years of preparation for a lifetime of aesthetic awareness.

Posted by Theresa Case whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.