The Importance of Intentional Play & Loving Connections in the Early Years

Nurture your baby with Kindermusik

It’s hard not to goo and coo and tickle and cuddle and play peek-a-boo with a cute little baby.  But science is now discovering just exactly how important those goos, coos, tickles, cuddles, and peek-a-boos are, demonstrating that while Nature has a hand in how the brain is pre-wired, the brain depends very heavily on environmental input, or nurture – those tickles, cuddles, and peek-a-boos we keep talking about – in order to wire itself further.  (Read more here.)  How intricately the brain gets wired has long-term impact on all seven areas of intelligence, how well a child does in school, and how they function socially and emotionally.

So how can a parent be intentional about the play and loving connections that are so crucial in the early years?  Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Make time for play.  It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of daily life.  So maybe your playtime with your child is just before leaving for work or just after supper before bath time.  Whatever time is best for you, make it a non-negotiable part of your day.
  • Get down on the floor with your child.  You can’t help but be a lot more engaged when you’re at their level.  The play and interaction will come more and more naturally as you spend more and more time in play with your child.
  • Be silly!  No one else is watching, so go ahead, and just take delight in what delights your child.  YouTube is full of silly parent-child videos that have gone viral.  You know the ones where the parent does something silly and unexpected only to be rewarded with the best belly laugh ever.
  • Talk to your child.  Tell her about your day.  Describe what you’re doing, even if it’s a mundane activity.  Or just try some nonsense baby talk.  Even if they can’t talk back, they’ll still be enthralled with hearing your voice.  And if you take a few conversational pauses, you might even get some goos and coos in response.
  • Dance with your child.  Your music or theirs.  It doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is the eye contact, the full attention, the love, and the joy of moving together.
  • Cuddle and sing lullabies.  There’s nothing that invites more loving connections than cuddling and singing to your child.  And don’t worry… to your child, your voice is the most beautiful sound in the whole wide world.

Need some inspiration for playing, singing, and interacting with your child?  Try a Kindermusik class.  We have tons of ideas and resources to share!

New Research Alert: Playing instruments boosts kids’ brainpower!

There’s a lot of buzz about the significant findings of some exciting research from the University of Vermont College of Medicine which has identified a direct link between “…playing a musical instrument and brain development.”

How music and the brain are linked

Analyzing brain scans, identifying cortical indicators, and factoring in the entirety of a child’s familial and social environment were key to uncovering the astounding evidence of the direct effect that music and music playing had on the brain.  Playing an instrument requires control, focus, and coordination, and utilizing these skills actually alters the motor areas of the brain.  Not only that, but making music can also cause changes in the “behavior-regulating areas of the brain,” according to this study.

“Such statistics, when taken in the context of our present neuroimaging results,” the [research] authors write, “underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.”

Beginning in childhood

This is precisely what excites Kindermusik educators the most – new and significant evidence that making music and playing instruments in early childhood is critical for brain development, and in particular, in developing executive function skills like focus, self-control, and emotional processing.

And why is executive function so important?

Author Amanda Morin summed it up this way, “Executive function is like the CEO of the brain.”  When you improve a child’s executive function skills, you impact a child’s potential for success – on the playground, in the classroom, and in life.

What your child needs when it matters most

Music is the one activity that has been proven over and over to have a compelling and long-lasting impact on a child’s overall development, especially brain development.  And before a child even knows what a violin is, there’s Kindermusik – a place where parents can intentionally and joyfully immerse their child in all of the rich benefits of music and music making, from newborn to age 7.Learn more about giving your young child all of the advantages of early music exposure and music making with Kindermusik at

Contributed by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case, whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is located in beautiful upstate South Carolina.

5 Reasons Why Music Classes are Good for Babies' Brains

BabyMusicClasses_KindermusikInternational_BannerEvery activity that your baby participates in contributes to his or her brain development, but the quality, variety, and nature of the activity shape the way neural circuits are designed.  Every experience stimulates certain neural circuits and leaves others idle.  Those that are consistently activated over time will be strengthened, while those that frequently left idle may be discarded.  (adapted from

That’s why…  The combination of a weekly Kindermusik class and utilizing the music and resources in your Kindermusik @Home Materials are so powerful.  Repetition strengthens the brain!

“…[O]ver time, the brain reacts to routine stimulus by lowering levels of stimulation.  Anything new causes the body to release adrenaline, and adrenaline acts a memory fixative.  According to Arnold Scheibel, Director of the Brain Research Institute as UCLA, ‘Unfamiliar activities are the brain’s best friend.’”  (from Smart Start!:  Building Brain Power in the Early Years, by Pam Schiller)

That’s why…  Kindermusik classes regularly include a mix of new and repeated activities.

Holding your little one in a variety of positions and moving him or her in different ways allows him/her to experience a variety of perspectives, which stimulates brain development.

That’s why… Your Kindermusik educator will give you lots of ideas for safe and enjoyable ways to move your baby, and your Kindermusik @Home Materials will give you a variety of music to move to at home.

Environments enriched with music and movement allow brain cells and neuropathways to be strengthened and expanded.  With more interconnections, the brain learns and remembers more effectively.

That’s why… Kindermusik, with the way it so effectively combines music and movement, is such a powerful way to stimulate learning and brain development.

Your baby must be emotionally involved in an activity to learn.  Incoming sensory stimulation is processed first through the brain’s non-rational, non-conscious limbic system, the seat of emotion, and only then goes to the neocortex, or rational brain.

That’s why… Your Kindermusik classes will give you lots of opportunities to connect and bond with your baby at deep and lasting emotional levels.

– Compiled and written by Theresa Case, who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC

Your Brain on Music

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but in this case, it’s an infographic that’s worth 1000 words, so we’ll keep this post brief and to the point.

At, the team explored the many effects of music on the brain, specifically those effects caused by playing and listening to music – things our Kindermusik families do every week in Kindermusik class and in their daily routines at home.

Music Stimulates 9 Parts of the Brain

Music is such an important part of every culture around the world that no one can argue with the impact or benefits of music.  But what this infographic illustrates so vividly are those specific parts of the brain that are affected.  According to these authors, there are nine parts of the brain (nine – count them!) that are stimulated while playing and listening to music.  Astounding!

There’s no doubt that music makes a difference cognitively, physically, and emotionally.  And experts tell us that the younger a child is exposed to music and music-making, the better.
That’s one of the reasons why the Kindermusik curricula are specifically designed to capitalize on those effects through a developmentally appropriate, whole-child based approach.  With that in mind, we leave you with this statement from psychologist Richard Davidson when he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin:

“The brain is the only organ designed to change in response to experience.  Musical training changes the structure of the brain and when it begins earlier in life the greater the influence.”

Want to get your child involved in music to help their brain development? Find a Kindermusik Class today!

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