Music Tunes Kids in for a Great Year

Music tunes kids in to learning from the very first day of life. After all, even babies in neonatal care experience reduced heart rates and deeper sleep when listening to live music. Research shows that musical activities stimulate development in every area of the brain: vision, balance, speech, behavior, sensation, skill, movement, and emotion. Music also impacts all learning domains (cognition, language and literacy, social and emotional, physical, creative, music). Music celebrates the unique joys of each year and developmental stage and prepares children for a lifetime of learning.

Musical activities to try at home or in the classroom that tune kids in to learning

For Babies: A baby cooing and babbling and imitating a lullaby being sung is learning how language works while also bonding with a caregiver. Gently swaying with the baby in time to the music adds vestibular development, pivotal to balance, coordination, eye control, and movement.
Music activities for kidsFor Toddlers: Toddlers who march, stomp, jump, and tiptoe to a steady beat tapped on rhythm sticks are discovering new ways to move their bodies—and gaining confidence and an understanding of spatial awareness, too. Instructing children to stop when the beat stops (and moving when the beat starts again) includes inhibitory control development as toddlers learn to control their bodies.
For Preschoolers: In a Preschool class when children experience musical rhythm patterns through movement, they also lay an early foundation for reading music and words on a page. When preschoolers play instruments along to the rhythms in a song, they also practice active listening and pattern recognition—with strong correlations to word recognition, speaking, reading, writing, and even math.
For Big Kids: When children intently listen for the sounds of a specific instrument in a song, use wood blocks to produce a staccato sound, or move smoothly with scarves when they hear the music change from staccato to legato, children practice active listening. Considering that school children spend an estimated 50 to 75 percent of classroom time listening to the teacher, to other students, or to media, developing strong active listening skills prepares kids for classroom learning.

Musical learning: The ultimate multi-tasker

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), “Any activity that stimulates one area of development automatically influences others. Good curriculum design must recognize and plan for this integration.” Activity by activity, every lesson in Kindermusik is designed to address multiple areas of development—and to tap into a variety of individual learning styles. Kindermusik’s carefully crafted activities and deliberately integrated sequences set the stage for optimal, multi-sensory learning experiences.
For example, children exploring the concepts of fast and slow might hear music that alternates between the two tempos. They may practice moving or playing instruments in time with what they hear. They could hear a story about a slow snail and a fast cheetah. In short, they explore and internalize the new concepts more effectively through multiple senses and activity types. (Not to mention, such an activity cluster also hones listening skills, self-control, expressive movement proprioception, coordination, and other skills!)

YC boy with new logoFind out more about Kindermusik at

Music Education Prepares Children for Future Careers & Problem Solving

We sing about the benefits of music a lot. Some might even call us melomaniacs—people who are passionate about music. (By the way, we are!) After all, we never hesitate to explain how music helps children develop listening skills, supports early language and literacy, builds social and emotional skills, and even boosts balance and coordination. We even belt out a song or two—or twenty—at random times throughout the day. We can’t stop ourselves! We love music.

Survey Says! Music education prepares kids for successful careers.

Music_Education_Prepares_KidsApparently, most Americans love music, too, at least when it comes to music preparing them for successful careers. According to a new Harris Interactive Poll of 2,286 adults, 71 percent of Americans say that the teachings and habits from music education equip them to be better team players in their careers and two-thirds confess that music education prepares people with a disciplined approach to problem solving and prepares someone to manage tasks on their job more successfully. Other attributes learned in music classes applicable to successful careers include working as part of a team toward a common goal, striving for individual excellence in a group setting, and flexibility in a work situation.

Ready for the future, celebrating the moment

Children respond to music in profound ways. Music literally lights up all areas—on both hemispheres—of the brain. In our classes, we know that playing music together is more than, well, playing the individual instruments, singing the words, or moving together in a circle dance. It is learning how to work as a group, how to share, how to listen and respond to others, and it’s even about learning that every child’s ideas hold value. Creating music together also imbeds lifelong memories into the banks of our children’s thoughts. So, whether singing a lullaby to your infant each night to signal bedtime, combining music with movement to enhance motor skills and muscle development in a Head Start or Preschool program, or singing the songs together as a family in the car, participating in music classes celebrates the beauty of childhood and gives children skills applicable as an adult in the working world.

Find out more about Kindermusik at

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in Atlanta, Georgia.

4 Cool Music Facts

4 Cool Music FactsWhen young children are consistently engaged by music in an age-appropriate, socially accepting environment, they benefit at so many levels. Learning through music literally lights up every area of a child’s brain and teaches little ones to love learning. So, in our music education classes for babies, big kids, toddlers, preschoolers, and families when we recite a nursery rhyme, participate in a circle dance or movement activity, play a vocal game, and explore instruments, children develop skills in early literacy and language, spatial-temporal and reasoning skills, physical development, and creativity.

4 Cool Music Facts

1. Making music together connects brains.

Researchers in Germany conducted a study with trained guitarists in which they attached electrodes to their heads while they played a duet. During the study, they found that the brain waves coordinated between the two guitarists while they played the duet together. This also applies to choral groups, orchestras, small ensembles, and yes, even music education classes for kids.

2. Singing (and dancing) the Hokey Pokey helps children learn to read, walk around the room, and understand geometry.

When young children explore the directions up and down during a fingerplay or put their left hands in and take their left hands out, they gain a greater understanding of spatial awareness. Spatial awareness is the ability to be mindful of where you are in space and to see two or more objects in relation to each other and to yourself. This eventually helps young children to safely navigate around a room, tell the difference between letters and group them together on a page to recognize words, and understand geometry.

3. Music and movement experiences in a group teach children how to be a good friend.

Actively participating in a music class class for babies, toddlers, big kids or families, impacts all seven areas of social-emotional development, including confidence, curiosity, intentionality, self-control, relatedness, capacity to communicate, cooperativeness. All key skills needed to be a good friend.

4. Steady beat gives children the ability to walk effortlessly, speak expressively, and even regulate repeated motions such as riding a bicycle, brushing teeth, or dribbling a ball.

Through music, children experience and respond to steady beat during lap bounces, instrument play, and by dancing. While children move to the beat with their bodies instinctively, learning to control those movements, and to follow—or create—is an essential component of a child’s early development.

Need more? Join a Kindermusik class near you! We’ve been making music together with families all around the world for 40 years, and we’d love to sing, dance, and refine those critical skills with you. 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer and former Kindermusik parent, who loves seeing the long-term impact of Kindermusik classes on her children.

Celebrate Inventors Month with the benefits of music

Benefits of Play for Children

Happy Inventors Month! In 1998, the United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), the Academy of Applied Science, and Inventors’ Digest magazine started Inventor’s Month as a way to celebrate the various contributions of inventors. Inventors make our lives easier from electricity to indoor plumbing to modern medicine to peanut better.
The list of top inventors probably includes Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, every childBenefits of Play for Children. Wait. “Every child?” Yes! Children make great inventors. Think about it. An inventor is someone who creates some new process, appliance, machine, or thing. To a child, everything is a new process—from learning how to eat, roll over, stand, walk, talk, roll a ball, and more. Children also discover new uses for everyday objects. A laundry basket becomes a turtle shell, a stack of pillows turns into a mountain worth exploring,  a baby spoon makes a great instrument, and blocks become, well, just about anything!

3 ways to encourage children as inventors

  1. Participate in the arts. Research indicates that STEM graduates (those majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics fields) showed an increased involvement in visual arts, acting, dance, and creative writing. Even better, 93 percent of those graduates participated in music classes as a child.
  2. Combine music and learning. Music is more than, well, music. The benefits of music include supporting the social-emotional, physical, and the cognitive development of children. New research found that science-themed music videos boost scientific learning. We already learn our ABCs through song, so why not learn about gravity, phases of the moon, the life cycles of frogs, and all about magnets, too?
  3. Play together. Children learn through play. Provide the children in your life with hands-on playtime with caring, loving adults. Playing together helps children learn about their world and their place in it.  One of the greatest inventors of all time, Albert Einstein, understood the benefits of play. After all, he said, “Play is the highest form of research.”

4 musical activities to celebrate Inventor’s Month

Kindermusik@HomeFor Babies: (From Cuddle & Bounce, “Bluebird, Bluebird”—Crinkly, Furry, Bumpy, Strange)
Touch, squeeze, feel, pat. Babies explore their worlds with their hands (and sometimes mouths). With an adult there to exercise diligent supervision, of course, there are plenty of ways to introduce new and interesting textures and sensations to a baby.
For Young Toddlers: (From Sing & Play “Family All Around Me”—Fill & Empty)
Fill it up, dump it out. Fill it up, dump it out. Sound familiar? Fill and empty is an enduring ‘play scheme’ among toddlers, and there are so many variations on the theme! Here are a few fresh ideas that will engage toddlers.
For Older Toddlers: (From Wiggle & Grow “Beach Days”—Let’s Make…A Beach in a Bottle! 
Kindermusik@HomeYou know that feeling, when you’ve spent a great day at the beach and you just wish you could bottle it and bring it home with you…?
For Preschoolers: (From Laugh & Learn “Outside My Window”—Be a Sound Inventor: Weather Sounds)
You won’t believe how easy it is to make these weather sound effects! This friendly tutorial teaches you how to imitate the sounds of light rain, heavy rain, thunder, and wind.

Do you want to bring the power of music to your child and family? Find a local Kindermusik educator today! 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, whose oldest daughter learned about the phases of the moon through song.  


Where are the future scientists? In a music class for kids!

Future scientist?
Future scientist?

At first glance, music classes for kids might not seem like the best place to look for future scientists, technology experts, engineers, or mathematicians. Well, look again! New research indicates that an early childhood music class is exactly where we should look.
Researchers from Michigan State University recently published a study that found that 93 percent of STEM graduates (college students who majored in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) reported musical training as a child compared to only 34 percent of the average adult. STEM graduates also showed an increased involvement in the visual arts, acting, dance, and creative writing.

Benefits of music for children continue through adulthood

“The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities,” said Rex LaMore, director of MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development, in a press release. “If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you’re more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover.”
According to the research team, participation in the arts, such as music classes for kids, encourages “out-of-the-box thinking.” The STEM graduates reported using those skills they learned in music or art classes—such as analogies, playing, and imagination—to solve complex scientific problems.

Music and learning in early childhood education

3_why_music_rectangle_yellowIn Kindermusik, we know children also use exploration and problem solving to learn what an object does and how it works. We call that process epistemic play. In our early childhood curriculum, we provide many opportunities for children to explore objects in order to better understand how they work. While trying out all the ways to tap, shake, or roll an instrument or stomp, tap, tiptoe our feet, children gain a foundational understanding of how things work. Plus, all this epistemic play supports a child’s overall cognitive development.

Learn more about using music in the early childhood classroom to support the cognitive development in children, including early math, science, literacy, and language skills.

To experience the benefits of music with your child, find a local Kindermusik educator in your area. 

Music Makes Kids Hungry For Learning (And Reading!)

Check out Kindermusik’s guest post, featured on the Reading Rainbow blog!


(As we close out “Music In Our Schools” month we’d like to share this very special guest post by our partners at Kindermusik. We hope after reading this you’ll be inspired to check out some of the GREAT books and videos on our new “Music Mountain” island in the Reading Rainbow App! If you haven’t gotten hooked on it already, that is…)

At Kindermusik, we like to say that music and reading go together like milk and cookies or like peanut butter and jelly. Think about it. How many of us learned the alphabet through song, or to count syllables by clapping our hands, or even about the rhythm of language thanks to nursery rhymes?

Reading with children—even infants—20 minutes a day can be one of the most important activities parents do to support literacy development. Being held by a parent during story time promotes bonding, helps young children connect the sounds of words with pictures, and models for children how to read a book. However, early literacy development extends beyond the lap of a parent. It also involves the growth of other key skills such as phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, active listening, and print awareness. Music naturally builds those skills (and more!) in children and makes them hungry for learning and reading!


4 ways music builds early literacy skills

“In our more than 35 years of teaching young children through music, we get the privilege of seeing how music actively engages children of all abilities in the learning process,” explains Michael G. Dougherty, Chairman and CEO of Kindermusik International. “Now, in the past couple of decades, the research is catching up to what we’ve experienced: music impacts literacy development in profound ways. In fact, a new independent study showed that children participating in our own early literacy curriculum for just 30 minutes a week experience a 32 percent literacy gain.”

Take a look at four of the many ways music supports early literacy development.

1. Music supports phonological awareness

In learning how to read, young children need to understand that words are made up of discrete sounds and that these sounds can be used to read and build words. Children with phonological and phonemic awareness show greater success at learning to read. Research indicates that our brains process music and language in similar ways because they share fundamental connections. Consider:

  • Spoken language is comprised of a stream of connected phonemes.
  • Music is comprised of a series of discrete musical notes or tones.
  • Understanding a spoken sentence requires the successful auditory processing of the individual phonemes combined with the intonation communicated by pitch.
  • Hearing music requires listening for the individual notes combined with their rhythmic values.

Musical activity: Read favorite nursery rhymes together. Take turns clapping to the rhythms of the words. This helps your child listen for and recognize that words are made up of different sounds.

2. Children practice auditory discrimination through music.

Related to phonological awareness, the ability to sort and categorize sounds strengthens children’s listening acuity or their ability to hear and understand clearly. Music gives children many opportunities to practice auditory discrimination. For example, by exploring the different sounds of drums and labeling them loud or soft, or by dancing fast or slow when the music changes tempo, children practice sorting and categorizing sounds. All this practice ultimately leads to better phonemic awareness and boosts reading abilities.

Musical activity: Using instruments around the house—even wooden spoons and plastic containers—take turns playing loud and soft, fast and slow, or short and long sounds. Label what you hear. Next, put on some music and dance fast or slow. Turn the music up. How would you dance “loud”? How would you dance “soft”?

3. Music promotes active listening.

Children need to learn how to identify and discriminate between sounds and tune into those sounds that matter most. During the school years, children will spend an estimated 50 to

75 percent of classroom time listening to the teacher, to other students, or to media. Developing strong active listening skills prepares children for school readiness, including language and literacy development. Musical activities such as listening for the sounds of the pipe organ in a Bach piece, using the wood blocks to produce a staccato sound, or moving smoothly when the music changes from staccato to legato, helps children practice active listening.

Musical activity: While listening to music together, try to identify all of the instruments in a song. Is that a drum, guitar, violin? What instrument was that? Try this activity using letter sounds. Make the M sound. Ask your child to identify the letter and name an animal that starts with that letter. Take turns.

4. Music classes build print awareness.

Learning how to recognize and read signs and symbols correctly takes practice and is an early step to knowing the letters and corresponding sounds of the alphabet. Both music and reading literacy depend upon a child’s ability to make those connections. Learning to read musical notation uses a similar set of cognitive skills and pattern recognition to those found in reading. In music, a child might explore graphic notation or the relationship between printed symbols and the associated sounds when they see a picture of a large dot and hear or play a loud sound, or when they see a picture of dashes and hear or play quiet sounds.

Musical activity: Put on your favorite songs and draw pictures together to represent what you hear. Ask your child to talk about each creation, including color choices and shapes. The drawings represent the notes heard in much the same way letter sounds correspond to words.

Experience for yourself how music supports early literacy development. Find a local Kindermusik class at You can also visit the Music Mountain island—featuring Kindermusik content—in the Reading Rainbow app!


Music & Movement Benefits: Rhymers Will Be Readers

Today is World Poetry Day. And while your child may not be up to appreciating Robert Frost or Elizabeth Barrett Browning

just yet, he/she does benefit significantly by learning (and enjoying!) children’s rhymes and poems. Why are rhyming songs and chants so vital to a young child’s development? Reading expert and author Mem Fox explains why:

“The importance of getting rhymes and songs into children’s head’s can’t be overestimated. Rhymers will be readers: it’s that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, pg. 85-86)

Experts agree. Music is a powerful vehicle for learning and enhancing development in every area. As an educator, one of the things I love most about Kindermusik is the way that it inspires children – and parents – to learn together in ways that benefit the child now and for the rest of his life.

So the moral of this story is… If you can’t quite remember those rhyming songs, chants, and Mother Goose rhymes from your childhood, take a Kindermusik class! Remember… rhymers will be readers.

– Special thanks to Theresa Case for this post. Theresa’s Kindermusik program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios, is in the top 1% of all Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Educators in Italy speak the language of music and learning

Italy trainingWith educators in over 70 countries, you can imagine we speak a lot of languages when we get together! Thankfully, we do share one common language: music and learning. A group of  VYL ELL teachers in Italy recently experienced this common language at a one-day training session hosted by Kindermusik.
Danny Berryman and Laura D’Abbondanza, Kindermusik project leaders and Teacher Trainers in Italy, brought together this group of VYL ELL teachers from Lingua Point in Reggio Emilia and The Victoria Company in Recanati and Jesi for a one-day training session using ABC English & Me, Kindermusik’s English Language Learning curriculum. Lingua Point and The Victoria Company are both authorized Cambridge ESOL examination centers, recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and Members of the Italian Association of Language Schools (AISLI), founded in 1979 to promote excellent teaching standards.
And, even though we know “We Love Kindermusik” Week officially ended last week, we didn’t want to wait until next year to share with you why these VYL ELL teachers in Italy love Kindermusik! Here’s what some of them had to say about the experience.

Why VYL ELL teachers in Italy love Kindermusik…

Italy ESL training“I’ve really enjoyed this ABC English & Me Training day. It was very informative and gave us many opportunities to try out this comprehensive and effective way of teaching. I was pleased to see that it is based on strong research and feel it is something that will surely help me develop, both professionally and personally. I am confident that this method of teaching will successfully bring a whole new way of language learning to this school that can only benefit our students.” ~ Kate Letts – Lingua Point
“During the workshop, we learned an innovative method for teaching English to children aged 2 to 7 years old. This method, Kindermusik, combines music and movement for language acquisition; and is loaded with lots of fun! We also had a great time by emerging ourselves in the method with the techniques learned in class during role-play sessions.”  ~ Julia Stegmann – Lingua Point
“Danny Berryman and Laura D’Abbondanza, Kindermusik project leaders and Teacher Trainers here in Italy, gave Lingua Point the opportunity to get to know and experience an engaging and alternative teaching approach for our most precious clients: kids! The training combined didactics, marketing, and the sharing of ideas. The above, along with a nice lunch and many laughs, were the ingredients of a day that was full of ideas and energy. It is always nice to invest in projects that make you grow! From now on, English learning for our kids from 3 to 6 is going to be set to music.”  ~ Enrichetta Antichi, school co-founder – Lingua Point
“This day gave me a new perspective when it comes to teaching English to young children. This method is dynamic, rich and most importantly, fun! It offers structure and more material than a teacher could desire while at the same time not limiting the teacher’s imagination in the education process.  It is truly interesting and one to try out!” ~ Oana Alexandra Samolia –The Victoria Company 
Italy ESL trainingThis training was very useful. In reality, putting the method into practice is much simpler than it seems with the help of the Kindermusik site and digital teachers guides. I have no doubt that the children will find the lesson activities engaging and fun. On the other hand, the teachers can find all the support necessary on the website and through the music provided.” ~ Sara Verducci – The Victoria Company
“It was a beautiful experience that not only answered questions with words, but in a concrete and practical way also. This training has motivated me even greater and I am certain that both the teachers and children are going to be enthusiastic about this project. Parents will have a real chance to take part in the development of their children as they see the method and fall in in love with it just like myself. ~ Ilaria Mandolini – The Victoria Company

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicLearn more about bringing ABC English & Me to your school!

Music & Movement Benefits: "Scaffolding" Your Child's Learning

mom and child playing drums in KindermusikThe term scaffolding evokes the image of a temporary support structure in a construction site.  The process of scaffolding in an educational sense is much like the traditional definition of scaffolding as a temporary support system used until a task is complete and a building stands without support. That sounds a lot like our job as parents, doesn’t it?  We provide a temporary support system for our children until they can stand on their own in the world.
Scaffolding occurs all the time in our Kindermusik classes as parents and children play with instruments, props, your voices, and movement and discover ways to adapt activities to their own style and their child’s unique interests and abilities.  Kindermusik combines this educational strategy (scaffolding) with music and learning activities as just another way to enhance the child’s whole development – cognitive development, emotional development, language development, and more!
Helps for Parents:  Be on the lookout for scaffolding opportunities at home, at the park, the grocery store…anywhere at all. Three easy directives to remember (while you’re providing that “temporary platform” for life): Ask questions, make observations (eye-to-eye, imitate & label), and give challenges – and before you know it, that little “building” will be standing with no support.
Learn how to scaffold with us – try a free Kindermusik class today!
Compiled by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.