Why we celebrate Music in Our Schools and National Reading Month throughout the year

Today officially marks the last day to celebrate both Music in Our Schools month and National Reading Month. However, in Kindermusik classrooms (and homes!) around the world, we celebrate the benefits of music on early literacy skills every single day. After all, children actively involved in music classes experience the benefits of music throughout the year. It’s one of the many reasons we know that music belongs in our schools.

Earlier this month, we asked the Kindermusik Facebook community why music belongs in our schools and they responded with some of the immeasurable benefits of music:

Why Music belongs in our schools

New partnership with Reading Rainbow gives us more reasons to celebrate Music in Our Schools and National Reading Month

Of course, the benefits of music on early literacy skills offer measurable reasons why music belongs in our schools, too! So, we loved celebrating both Music in Our Schools Month and National Reading Month by officially announcing and kicking off a new partnership with Reading Rainbow. Here are some of the highlights from this month:

  1. Music Mountain Reading RainbowWe announced the partnership between Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International that will build early literacy skills in children. This partnership brings Kindermusik’s more than 35 years of experience in early childhood curriculum development with the #1 children’s reading adventure app!
  2. We celebrated National Read Across America Day with LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow at a live event at Thomas Edison Elementary School in Burbank, CA featuring a live reading by LeVar Burton of a beloved Kindermusik book, The Drum Circle, and Kindermusik activities led by Educator Kelsey Springsted with Jamie Sterling. (Be sure to read how music in schools impacted Kelsey Springsted in Music: A prescription for healing.)
  3. The Kindermusik “Music Mountain” island goes live on the Reading Rainbow mobile app for kids. The Music Mountain island features Kindermusik’s music-themed content, including children’s books, music, and video field trips alongside other newly produced content from Reading Rainbow. Free to try, the educational app is available on the iPad and Kindle Fire.
  4. Kindermusik provides a guest post, “Music Makes Kids Hungry for Learning (and Reading!), on the Reading Rainbow blog.
  5. LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow posted, Reading and Music…Hitting All the Right Notes,” on the Minds on Music blog.

Did you miss these studies and presentation announcements that show even more benefits of music on early literacy skills?

ThePathToReading_PuzzleGraphic_KindermusikIn our early literacy curriculum, ABC Music & Me, we know that the benefits of music on early literacy include the development of active listening, vocabulary, print awareness, comprehension skills, auditory discrimination, and phonological awareness. We wanted to make sure that you did not miss these new research studies and presentations that we mentioned this month.

  1. New study shows that if children memorize eight nursery rhymes by the age of 4 years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they are 8 years old. Read more.
  2. Talking and singing with babies promotes more that just bonding. It also supports vital brain development in young children. Read more.
  3. The independent 2013 research study on our early literacy curriculum and its’ positive effect on early literacy development was recently presented at the SITE (Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education) 2014 Event.
  4. Kindermusik will present at the Head Start’s 12th National Research Conference on Early Childhood – Collaboration and Coordination in July!

Keep reading our Minds on Music blog for all of the latest research and news on early childhood education. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!

Changing our world…through music!

There was a fascinating article recently published in Forbes magazine about how one man is using music, and specifically a music school, to shape a new generation in Vietnam.  The title of the article says it all, “Music Awakens Education in Vietnam.”  Nguyen Hong Minh’s vision is to use music to broaden minds, expand opportunities, impact the current culture, and create future leaders – all with a goal of changing his society for the better.  And he believes that he can accomplish his mission through one very powerful means… giving students an opportunity to study music and the performing arts at Erato Music & Performing Arts.
Thailand 3For over 30 years, Kindermusik International has also been committed to a similar mission – that of changing our world through music, one child at a time.  KI’s newest initiative, ABC English & Me, demonstrates the power of music to help children learn, develop, and blossom.  ABC English & Me is a unique and exciting mix of music and movement activities proven to help teach young English language learners while at play.
But like all Kindermusik classes, ABC English & Me is much more than just a weekly class experience.  The fun, music, and learning extend throughout the week at home through interactive @Home Materials that help parents support, enjoy, and enlarge the learning process in the place where children often learn best – at home.

Here are a few simple ways you can change your own little corner of the world through music and make a powerful difference in your child’s life:

  • Expose your children to a wide variety of music.
  • Keep music playing at home and in the car whenever possible.
  • Talk about what you hear in the music, identifying specific instruments or discussing the qualities of the music (fast, slow, loud, soft, etc.).
  • Have age-appropriate musical instruments available for your child to explore and play.
  • Sing and dance together – Your child doesn’t care how good you are, just that you care enough to sing or dance with him!
  • Read books about music to your child.  Here’s a list compiled by an elementary music teacher.
  • Take your children to music performances and concerts.
  • Watch good music and performing arts performances on TV, DVD, or webcast.
  • Inspire a love for music and take advantage of the benefits of music from a very early age – Kindermusik classes are a great place to start!  (You can even try a class for free!)

Music in Our Schools Brings Harmony to Learning

(Source: National Association for Music Education)
(Source: National Association for Music Education)

Each March, we join with the National Association for Music Education for the observance of Music in Our Schools Month to help raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children.
With over 35 years of experience in using music to reach children of all abilities, we know without a doubt that music belongs in our schools. Why? Because that’s where our children are!  

Music opens the door to learning

When young children are consistently engaged by music in an age-appropriate, socially accepting environment, they benefit at so many levels. Here are just a few… 

  • Early Literacy Skills. They gain the phonological processing, spoken language, and comprehension skills that are the foundation of reading and early literacy skills.
  • Quantitative. They build the spatial-temporal and reasoning skills required for math, science, and engineering.
  • Social-Emotional. They develop social and emotional skills that are essential for school readiness—like the ability to regulate their responses and relate to others in complex ways.
  • Physical. By moving and dancing to music and playing simple instruments, children improve their gross and fine motor skills.
  • Creative. Activities that encourage freedom within a fun and friendly structure spark children’s creativity and provide inspiration.
  • And of course, they develop a lifelong love of music.

Music brings harmony to learning…and school

3_why_music_rectangle_yellowIn the early childhood classroom, the teacher, the paraprofessional, and the children all contribute to the learning process and environment. This experiential environment where the learning process is shared by everyone in the group is called “social constructivism.” Music creates a learning environment where every participant contributes and takes away something unique based on their own experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. For example, in our early literacy curriculum, ABC Music & Me, our classes provide children with ample time to reflect, compare, make choices, express opinions and preferences, and engage in problem solving activities together. This teaches children not only the lesson focus but it also teaches them how to learn. Plus, these shared experiences create a sense of community, harmony, and even teaches empathy.

What about you?

Why do you think music belongs in our schools? Take a minute to let us know by posting on our Facebook page. In the meantime, listen to children from Public School 22 in Staten Island, New York. Yes, music belongs in our schools. Every child deserves the opportunities that music can bring. We think these children would agree!

4 reasons why music matters in early childhood education

ABC Music & Me Special Education Curriculum - Sycamore Creek Elementary

Music belongs in our schools. Of course, we know we are preaching to the choir (figuratively and literally!). In the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, music teacher Glenn Holland said: “You can cut the arts as much as you want…sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.”

ABC Music & Me Special Education Curriculum - Sycamore Creek ElementaryIt’s true. Music and the arts speak to us and for us in profound and immeasurable ways. When used as part of an elementary school curriculum, early childhood music can also impact the measurable side of education, including early literacy and language acquisition. In our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, children experienced a 32 percent literacy gain after participating in our music education classes.

4 more reasons why music matters in early childhood education and belongs in our schools

1. Early childhood music classes teach children to identify and discriminate between sounds—and focus on sounds that matter most. During the school years, children will spend an estimated 50 to 75 percent of classroom time listening to the teacher, other students, or to media. That doesn’t mean the rest of the classroom noises automatically cease. Little fingers will still tap on the desk, children’s laughter from recess outside will still be heard, students will still whisper to each other, and shuffling feet will still walk through the hall. Developing strong active listening skills, prepares young children to focus on the lesson at hand rather than the other distracting noises. Our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, gives young children many opportunities to develop those strong active listening skills. In one 30-minute class, children may listen intently for the sounds of a specific instrument in a classical piece, use instruments to practice the difference between Staccato (short) and Legato (long) sounds, or even move their bodies fast or slow in response to what they hear in the music.

2. Our brains process music similarly to how we process language. To become successful readers, young children need to understand that words—like music—are made up of discrete sounds. Later they use that knowledge of sounds to read and build words. Research shows that children with these skills are more successful learning to read than others. Kindermusik’s early childhood music classes provide many opportunities for children to discriminate similarities and differences in sound. So, while children gain musical skills in class, they also make gain in phonological awareness and reading development.

3. Music teaches young children self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to control our thoughts, feelings, and actions. When used as part of an early childhood curriculum, music (and movement) can help children learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move to another activity. So, when children participate in a circle dance, transition from one activity to another, and even share instruments, children are learning and practicing self-regulation skills. Those same skills will help children pay attention in school, act and behave appropriately, and transition from one activity to another.

4. Participating in early childhood music classes teaches young children how to learn. In our childcare curriculum, ABC Music & Me, an educator guides the class towards a learning objective with the children as active participants in the learning process. Providing children with ample time to reflect, compare, make choices, express opinions and preferences, and engage in problem-solving activities together teaches children not only the lesson focus but it teaches them how to learn.

Early childhood curriculum uses the power of music

Early Literacy Curriculum with Research-Proven Results

Yes, music belongs in our children’s lives. And, yes, music belongs in our schools. Our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, uses the latest research on how children learn as well as the proven cognitive benefits of music to support the growth of phonological awareness, focused listening skills, self-control, early language and literacy skills, and more. Plus, our childcare curriculum intentionally creates lessons that give teachers the opportunity to notice, observe, and include children of all abilities in a group learning environment.

To learn more about bringing ABC Music & Me (and the power of music!) to your preschool, elementary school, or daycare, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.

Or, if you are at the NAEYC’s 2013 Annual Conference and Expo this week, stop by our Booth (#2712)!