Music and Memory – Helping Stroke and Dementia Patients


Sometimes I apologize in advance to my Kindermusik families for how many times we repeat a song in class.  But then I cheerily remind them that experts tell us that repetition strengthens the brain – especially musical repetition!

Kindermusik songs that stay in your head may be a little annoying to parents, even though the kids love it!  But it turns out that having songs in our heads – and hearts – may actually help us later on if we eventually suffer from a stroke or develop a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Just do a search – the videos out there will bring tears as you watch how an almost unresponsive elderly person suddenly lights up when hearing music or being sung to.

Scientists still cannot tell us how the same brain that loses its ability to retain memory will still retain and respond to lyrics and music, but as the author of this article describes it, it’s as if the music “tickles the brain circuits,” the same neural circuits that “…may help restore speech and cognition circuits” lost by Alzheimer and dementia patients or stroke victims.  But best of all, listening and singing old songs makes these patients happy and for some, responsive on some level once again.  It’s as if music brings them to life again, and it’s only music that has had that effect in study after study.

This is the power of music – the same power that makes such a difference in the mind and heart of the very young.  And one of the reasons that I believe so strongly in the power of Kindermusik to change lives – for now and for life.

Contributed by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in upstate South Carolina has been building musical memories with children and families for over 20 years now.

How Music Class Helps Parents Nurture a Child’s Development

A Baby's Brain Needs Love to Develop

Turns out that nature does need a little nurturing after all, especially when it comes to the development of the brain.  The “Philadelphia study,” as it’s been called, was the first to establish a clear connection between childhood experience and how the brain develops.

Despite coming prewired with mind-boggling capacities, the brain depends heavily on environmental input to wire itself further. Scientists are now discovering precisely how that development is molded by the interplay between nature and nurture.

In the early years, much of the “environmental input” that’s so critical for brain development is directly facilitated by a child’s parents and the kind of interactions and experiences they provide for a child.  That’s why Kindermusik has always asserted that parents are a child’s first, and best, teacher.  One of the best kinds of early experiences a parent can provide is in a music class, especially one that offers a rich, multi-sensory and developmentally appropriate experience, supported by Home Materials that take the joy, learning, and bonding into the home and throughout the week in between classes.

Five ways a music class like Kindermusik helps parents nurture a child’s development

  • A music class gives parents the time and inspiration for the kind of one-on-one attention and nurturing that can result in higher IQs.
  • A music class helps parents give their child an opportunity for social development in a warm and welcoming environment.
  • A music class strengthens emotional bonds through lots of cuddling, dancing, loving touch, and playful connection.
  • A music class encourages language development through singing, rhyming, vocal play, and conversation.
  • A music class supplies parents with ideas and resources for play and together time at home.

The more scientists find out about how children acquire the capacity for language, numbers, and emotional understanding during this period, the more they realize that the baby brain is an incredible learning machine. Its future—to a great extent—is in our hands.

Find a local Kindermusik class and experience firsthand how music classes can support your parenting and your child’s development.

*Quotes taken from this National Geographic article.

4 Benefits of Music for Big Kids

Mom sings to and sways her baby during one of Kindermusik's baby music classes.

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Growing up, but not all grown up yet – thankfully!  The early years of childhood pass so quickly, and before you know it, your child has officially earned “big kid” status.  The turbulence of the toddler years and the exuberance of the preschool years are past, and your big kid can mostly be described as composed, calm, cheerful, and capable.  Big kids are eager, curious learners, and they love to share their ideas.
For a big kid, self-esteem, feeling capable, and doing things the “right way” all go hand-in-hand.  They thrive on structure and affirmation, but they still need time to play and have fun.  Big kids love being part of a group, and they crave friendship and acceptance from their peers, preferring to play and interact with others than to be by themselves.  And while their thinking can be black-and-white, cognitively, they have made huge leaps in their ability to problem-solve and think more abstractly.  Big kids tend to ask alot of “why” and “how” questions because they love to know a lot of facts.  They love simple games, and having lots of time for creative play is very important.  Movements are much more poised and controlled, and big kids loving showing off their new-found physical skills.
It is truly the age of opportunity for these learners-in-waiting.  But it also a time not to be rushed through or passed over.  The big kids years are a special time to settle in and enjoy the last phase of early childhood and to provide your child with experiences and opportunities that will set him up for success in school, in music, and in life.
That’s where Kindermusik comes in, providing a weekly class that satisfies the need to be part of a group, to learn new things, to play games, and to express oneself through music and movement.  And in the middle of all of the fun and music-making, a very strong foundation is being laid for a successful transition to music lessons a little later on.
Here are four invaluable benefits of music for big kids:
1. Music exposes big kids to big, new ideas.
At this age, these eager learners are ready to be introduced to rhythms and rhythm patterns, music symbols, keyboards and dulcimers, and writing and composing their own music through hands-on and developmentally appropriate experiences.  They can follow the story line of a work like “Peter and the Wolf” and identify the various motifs and instruments that are the hallmark of this beloved musical tale.
2. Music teaches big kids to be good listeners.
Focused listening and discriminatory listening are a big part of music.  Listening for certain things in music or to certain music sounds as well as being able to distinguish between musical sounds and instruments develop listening skills. And while being a good listener is a musical skill, it’s also an extremely valuable life skill.
3. Music helps make the cognitive connections needed for nearly every kind of intelligence.
We all want our kids to be smart and to be successful, and music is the one common contributing factor in almost all of the nine types of intelligence.  According to articles like this one and this one, it’s early experiences with music that best spark the brain connections and neural networks that actually shape the brain and impact how it will function later in life.
4. Music is one thing that stays in a child’s heart for forever.
There are lots of choices for early childhood – dance, sports, gymnastics, and more!  But music is the one love, the one ability, that a child has the potential to carry with them all the way through their entire lives.  Developing in your child a love and appreciation for music at an early age is a life-long gift you can give, and it’s something that will also carry with it special memories of the loved ones who made that gift possible.
BenefitsOfKindermusik_BigKidsMusicClasses_InfographicFor parents…
You want to give your child every advantage, and there’s truly no greater advantage you can give than music, especially in a program like Kindermusik.  It’s the right activity at the right time, when your child is poised and ready to soak it all in and be enable to apply that knowledge to music lessons and musical experiences in the future.  Kindermusik truly is the perfect foundation for lifelong learning.
And yet as profoundly as Kindermusik affects your child’s musical development, the musical learning is fun, pressure-free, and exactly what your child needs at a time when they can benefit from it the most.
“Music develops the appetite for learning and creates habits of self-discipline and personal tenacity which carry over into every facet of school.  Young musicians are skilled at concentration, alertness, memory, and self-control.  These attributes are basic for success in higher education, but more importantly, in succeeding at life.”
 The Joy of Inspired Teaching, by Tim Lautzenheiser, p. 55

Young Child students play glockenspiel dulcimer drum and recorder
Expose your child to the benefits of Kindermusik, the world’s leader in early childhood music and movement curricula.  Try a Kindermusik class today!

Exercising the Brain


“Evidence suggests that long-term musical involvement reaps cognitive rewards–in language skills, reasoning and creativity–and boosts social adjustment.

Music exercises the brain. Playing an instrument, for instance, involves vision, hearing, touch, motor planning, emotion, symbol interpretation–all of which activate different brain systems.”

According to Norman M. Weinberger, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, musical experiences help to shape the brain, and “[depriving] children of [music’s] intellectual, personal and social benefits . . . by failing to foster musicality, our society is wasting its potential.”

It’s an oldie goldie, but you can read the rest of the original interview from September 2000.

Want to get your child more involved in music?
Find a Kindermusik Class today!

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.

FOL Fridays: Movement with Instrument Play

Music and Movement at Kindermusik

The developing brain is wired to learn as the body moves. To achieve the precision of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is necessary. Providing children with sensory-motor experiences, including activities that integrate visual information, sound, and find-motor movements, stimulate and strengthen the brain’s wiring patterns. When children play instruments, movement and sound come together to create a rich, multisensory experience.



Music and Movement at Kindermusik

Tips for parents:

Who knew that playing instruments could have such significant impact on brain development and learning?! To inspire this kind of learning (and fun!) at home, it takes nothing more than a few favorite instruments and a few favorite recordings on the iPod or CD. For ideas for child-safe instruments, go to the Kindermusik Store and shop by age.

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

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.