Give It a Rest. Kids Will Love these 2 Musical Math Games.

Patterns surround us and recognizing and understanding patterns is a foundational math skill. Music gives children the opportunity to experience patterns through movement, listening, and playing instruments. When children step, step, step, stop responding to the music or ta, ta, ta, rest with rhythm sticks, children are learning rhythm patterns (quarter note, quarter note, quarter note, rest), a basic musical concept. Rhythm patterns are combinations of long and short sounds and silences.
Try these two math games for kids from Kindermusik@Home that combine music and math!

Kindermusik@Home Pattern GameHomemade Ti-Ti Ta 

This activity for kids introduces the concept of visual and auditory patterns created simultaneously (e.g. the sounds of with the visual representation of).
Patterns are incredibly important, both to music and math. Children first notice and recognize patterns, then develop the ability to complete partial patterns, duplicate patterns, and eventually to extend and create patterns. The patterns also go from simple (ABAB) to more complex (AAB, ABB, AABB, AAABB, AABC, and so on).
The Ti-Ti Ta pattern includes another layer of complexity: duration. Rather than a simple red-red-green pattern in which all components are equal, a Ti-Ti Ta pattern contains the concept of short-short-long within it. When the pieces are rearranged, the “notes” are rearranged as well. Ta, ta, ti-ti, ta is more complex than green, green, red, red, green because the concept of a pair of eighth notes (each of which is half as long as a “ta,” or quarter note) is embedded in the ti-ti.

Pattern GameQuarter Notes and Quarter Rests

This game for kids introduces them to the sound of the quarter note and the “no-sound” of a quarter rest. Children test their ears on how well they recognize them when they’re assembled in patterns.

Find out more about the connections between music and math in Kindermusik at

Musical Variety is the Spice of Life

Infants are born with the ability to process musical sounds and patterns, and there is an optimum window of time between birth and three years when the ear is ripe for aural language development. The musical stimulation we provide as parents is so important for this language development.
Because music is also important in developing a child’s sense of patterning and memory skills, it follows that providing exposure to a wide variety of music should be one of our educational goals as parents. Kindermusik effectively widens the musical world for your child by providing choice selections from many lands and cultures.

Exposure to cultures through music

Children need a balance between the familiar and the new… and Kindermusik provides just that. One of the ways we can help our children appreciate and begin to understand other cultures and people groups is by exposing them to their music. One of the great joys of music is the connection it provides emotionally across cultural lines.
As your child listens and engages in musical experiences provided by Kindermusik and at home, he acquires a musical repertoire that will last a lifetime. He is developing his musical “taste buds”, to “appreciate the finer things”, and to enjoy new musical “tastes and textures”. The wider the array of musical styles, the richer that repertoire will be. Listen to your Kindermusik recordings and you’ll find multi-cultural music in a variety of musical styles. And the best part? It’s just plain fun to listen to! Now if only Kindermusik could accomplish the same thing with your child’s diet, right?!

Are you looking for some musical variety?

Try a free Kindermusik class today!  It’s a musical experience with songs and activities the whole family will love – in class and at home.

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

Behind the music on Kindermusik recordings: Howard Levy

Howard Levy is a featured musician on one of Kindermusik's recordings.

Musician Howard Levy has played with some of the world’s best musicians – from the innovative, future-forward stylings of banjoist Béla Fleck to Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, as well as symphony orchestra musicians around the world with his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra.
Howard is also a featured musician on two Kindermusik recordings: “Riding the Rails” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
Composer and arranger Jon Negus worked with Howard on the Away We Go! session. Here’s what Jon had to say about it:

When I was describing to Howard and the violinist (Peter La Bella) that “Riding the Rails” was going to be a duel between harmonica and violin, Peter said “Gee… I wonder who’s going to win that one….!”.
Howard was “off the charts” amazing even back then. A kind and gentle man who always educated while he played.

Musician, composer and arranger David Huff added this about the session:

Jon and I were completely awestruck by this man’s virtuosity. Though Howard got it in one take, Jon asked him to do it again just so we could repeat the experience of watching/hearing him play.

Howard is a world-touring musician, playing piano and harmonica. He’s also a dedicated educator teaching harmonica at the online school Artist Works. In this video, Howard talks about his musical beginnings.

Kindermusik's age-appropriate Hohner harmonicas

Want to play?
Harmonica is a featured instrument in Kindermusik’s Away We Go! music and movement program for toddlers.
Join the worldwide community of educators and musicians around the world — sharing the gift of musical learning with children and their loving caregivers.
If you’re ready to become a Kindermusik educator, our online training program provides a flexible, supportive learning environment.

In one bilingual school, music supports the unique needs of dual language learners

The British American Preschool is located in Milan, Italy and offers ABC English & Me. Take a look inside the Milan, Italy preschool devoted to the unique learning needs of bilingual children. Click the image above and scroll down to watch the video.
The British American Preschool in Milan, Italy is devoted to the unique learning needs of young bilingual children. In addition to meeting the child’s changing language needs, the school is focused on helping children develop a balance of interests and skills — from studies in science to the arts.

“Early childhood is a period of rapid mental growth and development,” according to the school’s Web site. “Young children need a rich foundation of stimulating experiences that will be essential for later learning, a strong sense of self-esteem, and excitement and curiosity for learning.”

The school incorporates the Jean Piaget theory that “play is a child’s work.” Based on the school’s mission to learn through play and to develop a variety of skills, ABC English & Me is one of the programs that the school offers its students.

Here, the school’s director, Debbie Chilver, talks about how the music based activities in ABC English & Me help to develop English language skills, as well as the child’s attention span (in Italian of course! Scroll down for the English translation).

Debbie Chilver, Director at the British American Preschool of Milan – Italy

English and Me è un programma che coinvolge molto i bambini. E’ sorprendente vedere come bambini così piccoli partecipano alle attività. Si può notare facilmente che la loro capacità di attenzione viene sviluppata durante le lezioni e che esse sono finalizzate al raggiungimento di obbiettivi tipici degli “early years”.

Possiamo prendere un semplice gesto come su e giù, per esempio. Lo si fa nel rituale dei saluti e poi si ripete in altre attività, come in una delle storie o con gli strumenti. La lezione è strutturata in maniera tale da promuorere la consapevolezza di tutto il corpo.

Si può anche vedere che le lezioni sono ben pensate. Non appena i bambini sono in procinto di distrarsi l’attività cambia e ci si muove. Si può notare che gli obbiettivi e la sequenzialità delle attività volte al loro raggiungimento sono state testate.

Sento che la musica è uno dei più grandi veicoli per l’insegnamento. La musica è un eccellente forma di comunicazione per l’insegnamento di una seconda lingua. Cominciare presto, sviluppa nei bambini un apprezzamento per la musica che li accompagnerà per il resto della loro vita. E’ come piantare questo seme in tenera età e poi vederlo crescere.

In English

ABC English and Me is a program that gets the children extremely involved.  It’s amazing how such small children participate in the activities.  You can see that their attention span is really being developed by this class.

After having looked at the scope you can see that it is very structured towards early years objectives.  We can take a simple movement like up and down for example. You do it in the ritual greating and then it is repeated in other activities like in one of the stories or with the instruments. The lesson is structured with full body awareness in mind.  You can also tell that the lessons are well thought out.

As soon as the children are about to get distracted the activity changes and they do a movement.  You can see that the scope and sequence of the lessons have been tested out also.

I feel that music is one the greatest vehicles for teaching. Music is a form of communication that is great for teaching language as a second language.  Starting children young will develop music appreciation for the rest of their lives.  You can lay this seed at an early age and then watch it grow.

Parents and children participate in ABC English & Me at the bilingual school in Milan, Italy
The British American Preschool focuses on the unique learning needs of bilingual children.

Visit the English Language Learning category or Subscribe to our blog for current news on ABC English & Me, ELL research, and Kindermusik programs around the world.

FOL Fridays: Relaxation

Children learn many skills from adults, such as tying their shoes or reading a book.  They must also learn how to relax, self-calm, channel feelings, and focus.  With continued practice, persistence, and a little creativity, children learn not only how to relax, but also how to use this skill effectively every day, even in chaotic environments (Cox and Orlick 1996).  Relaxing together with a little soothing, gentle music in the background will go a long way towards helping your child find his own calm amid the busy chaos that can be our lives.

TIP:  Establish a Relaxation Ritual in your home, perhaps first-thing in the morning or just before bedtime.  Turn on some quiet music and just relax with your child – holding them if they’re small enough or just cuddling up beside each other if they’re too big for your lap.  Model being still and not talking, just breathing deeply and quietly enjoying one another’s company.  You might also want to sing a simple lullaby to your child at the end.  This will likely become a very treasured and much-anticipated time for you and your child(ren).

– Compiled by Theresa Case, M.Ed.  Theresa’s Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

A lifetime of benefits

The musical experiences your child enjoys in the early years can provide a lifetime of benefits.  At Kindermusik, we see this every day. And our numerous research studies have proven the results as well. We’ve found that a child who stays enrolled in Kindermusik classes is highly likely to exhibit growth in some or even all of the following areas:

identity and self-esteem
love of music and art
identification of talents
using time wisely
following directions
intellectual and social development
precision and motor control
overcoming fears in public speaking and shyness
commitment to excellence
creativity and self-expression

Want to find a Kindermusik program near you? Visit our  Class Finder, or come try a free preview class.  You’ll be glad you did!

Why Music Supercharges Early Brain Development

Steady beat (by tapping a drum or your lap) is one of the many ways music supercharges early brain development.

Steady beat (by tapping a drum or your lap) is one of the many ways music supercharges early brain development.

Research shows that listening and playing along with music is one of the few activities that fully supports early brain development.


It engages both hemispheres of your child’s brain.  Add the fine motor coordination it takes to hold an instrument and tap in time with the music, and your child is working on the hand-eye coordination and finger strength that’s necessary to hold a pencil, tie a shoe, use scissors, and dribble a basketball later on.

Early Brain Development Tips

For your baby – Gently tap the steady beat on your baby’s hand, foot, or knee with an instrument.

For your toddler – Invite your child to use the instrument to tap on his own toes, knees, or even a tummy!

For your preschooler or big kid – Preschoolers and older kids can march around the house in a musical parade.

Musical Brain Boosting Tools

Did you know Kindermusik has a free kid-friendly app? Download it today on Google Play or from the App Store, and choose from themed playlists (like colors, nap time, and food), tappable instrument play, and more!

Originally compiled by Kindermusik educator Theresa Case. Theresa’s program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, USA, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide. Search for a class with Theresa or find a virtual or in-person class wherever you are.

Splish, splish, SPLASH!

The following post was shared from Kindermusik educator Joy Granade.

Some days bathtime feels like a chore, just one more part of the day you have to slog through to get the kids into bed, so you can crash.  However, over the years it’s been amazing to watch the way my hubby has turned bathtime into a special ritual with the boys.

When my oldest was first born, my hubby proudly declared that he wanted the responsibility for bathtime.  At first I wasn’t quite so sure as his early attempts were filled with some crazy misadventures.  But before long I saw what a treasure bathtime was quickly becoming for my two (and now three) guys.

Proud Kindermusik mama that I am, I have seen in action how important rituals and routines are for helping babies, toddlers, preschoolers (and even grownups) find order and peace in their days.  Not only have I seen them ease tantrums and tears, but I’ve also watched how they help us as a family calm and connect to one another.  So, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from watching my sweet hubby at bathtime with the boys:

Give yourself time. When you don’t feel rushed, you both can be really present in the moment, which helps you make bathtime a bonding experience but also helps your little one feel relaxed and ready for bed.

Bathtime can be playtime. And of course for little people, playtime is always learning time.  Whether you just grab a small colander, funnel, and measuring cups from the kitchen or you buy bathtoys, water play is a blast and a great way to learn.  Watch how things sink or float.  Talk about colors.  Count.  Play with textures – washcloths or even sponges cut into shapes or animals.  Identify letters (foam ones are fun to stick on the wall).

We even used bathtime to teach a lot of sign language (DUCK, WATER, BATH, IN, OUT, MORE).  Our favorite toys:  ducks, stacking cups with holes that water can drip through, and now dinosaurs we can bathe.  I’ve also heard of families bringing baby dolls or cars to share in the bath as well.

Consider using your hands.  Touch is one of the most important ways we connect.  A long time ago my hubby declared that he didn’t want to use baby washcloths much, though they are sometimes necessary.  He knew that the special act of washing our boys with his bare hands communicated love and affection in a way that a washcloth couldn’t.

Add a little massage. With our littlest babies in the Village classes, we often share a time of baby massage.  Bathtime is the perfect time to extend this activity.  Whether you just give a little extra squeeze as you scrub your little one down, or you pull out some lotion for a sweet massage after you’ve toweled off, this kind of loving, intentional touch aids in digestion, relieves colic, promotes health, and might even help your child sleep.

Even after we quit giving massages at bathtime, I continued to give backrubs and leg and arm massage as we snuggled before bed when I knew our kids were having a hard time settling down for bedtime.

And of course…make music! Because transitions have always needed a little extra creativity in our household, we made up a bathtime song years ago.  (It sounds like the old Batman TV show theme but uses the word Bathtime instead of Batman.  Only my hubby.)  But it grew from there.  Before long we had songs we sang to calm crying babies as we toweled them off, chants for counting “piggies” in the bath (“This little piggy…”), and even songs about scrubbing in the tub.  Sometimes we just sang our latest favorite Kindermusik songs or even made up new silly songs.  It never matters what we sing, it always makes bathtime easier – especially when it’s been a long day.

Time to get out of the tub! And last but not least, all good things must come to an end, and with bathtime, sometimes the fun is so great that getting out is hard.  That’s why it’s a good idea to come up with a few rituals for getting out.

Over the years ours have evolved.  For our babies, we sang lullabies to help ease the transition.  Then as the boys grew, they counted down 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute till time to get out of the bath.  Soon they were making choices about how to get out of the tub – stomp like a dinosaur out of the bath or jump like a monkey.

But the best was what happened on the other side of the tub wall.  Whether they hid under the towel, played peekaboo, or pretended to be butterflies wrapped in a towel cocoon, there was always a big snuggle at the end of bath – my favorite part!

Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Joy Granade for sharing this post from her blog, Kindermusik with Joy. Information about Joy’s Kindermusik program in Kansas City, MO, can be found at her blog.

The music in your head: How did it get there?

Music education is a vital part of a child’s life. Research shows that our abilities to sing in tune, move to a steady beat and yes, hear music in our heads, are all formed by the time we are 8- or 9-years old. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn to sing or dance or play the piano after the third grade, but the learning windows for musical aptitudes do begin to close.

Do you ever hear a song in your head over and over again? Can you imagine not being able to hear music this way? Audiation, the ability to hear music when no musical sound is present, is an acquired skill. Similar to thinking thoughts without talking aloud, when you audiate, you internalize and “think” music. To practice audiation with your child, leave off the last word of a favorite song. Stop completely. Observe and listen to your child. What is the reaction? When you play this game with familiar songs, you are engaging your child’s ability to think and “speak” with you musically.

Were you lucky enough to have wonderful parents who sang to you all the time? Did you sing endless rounds of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain” when you went on vacation? Repetition is a critical part of your child’s growth and development between the ages of birth and seven. Repetition aids in strengthening the neural pathways in the brain. So when your child wants you to “Read it again, Mommy!” or “Play that song again, Daddy!”, do it!!!

Babies are innately musical. They respond to music and sound in utero. Carla Hannaford, author of Awakening the Child Heart, tells us that hearing and language begin in utero and become the first window to the material world as the embryo physically reacts to sound 23 days after conception. Sound becomes the organizer of our physical structure and later, via the mother’s coherent heart rhythm, gives us the patterns on which to form a coherent understanding of patterns within our world.

People often ask, “What do you do with an infant in a music class?” Babies can be soothed with music. Brain development is stimulated by music. A Kindermusik Village class, for example, provides a rich environment of music, movement, language and touch for babies newborn to 18 months. This combination of music and movement stimulates the Vestibular System, the fluid in the brain. According to Dr. Alfred Tomatis, without a fully developed Vestibular System that allows us verticality and balance, language and learning become difficult. Language development begins with movement and is supported with interactive communication and music. Hannaford points out that early music education, including the interplay of music, movement and sound, is key to developing language, math, relational and learning skills, as well as creativity.

Toddlers love to clap and pat to the steady beat of favorite tunes. Steady beat is the unchanging, underlying beat that pulses through every top-10 tune on the radio. Different from rhythm – a combination of various short and long sounds – steady beat is what we tap our toes, pencils and imaginary drums to. For many toddlers, steady beat is an innate ability nurtured with lots of opportunity to practice. For others, it is a skill that can be learned through practice. The ability to keep a steady beat is a gift that we all want our children to have. A study showed 100% of first string professional football players can move their bodies to a steady beat. Moving to a steady beat develops a sense of timing and the ability to organize and coordinate movements like walking, dribbling a basketball, driving and using scissors. Not true for 2nd string. Kindermusik classes provide many opportunities for toddlers to play instruments and move to a steady beat and parents are educated about ways to keep music alive at home.

Preschoolers are exploding with ideas and questions. Creative music and movement provide an outlet for the imaginary characters that live inside a child. 3- and 4-year olds flourish in an environment where there is music, movement and an opportunity for them to contribute ideas. In a Kindermusik Imagine That! class, a child can explore voice and ideas, add instruments to songs and rhymes, act out enticing characters and grow socially while interacting with peers.

For a kindergarten or first grade child, reading readiness is an important issue. I often imagine how it would have been to have the language of music and the English language concurrently integrated into my life: learning to read and write music while learning to read and write language.

Kindermusik provides a whole child approach to music education. Children move and sing, play musical games, learn about music in other cultures, talk about and listen to the instruments of the orchestra, develop their discriminative listening skills, build self-esteem through group interaction and music making, begin to read and write basic musical notation and much more.

I often get calls from eager parents, ready to spend gobs of money on private music lessons for their 3-, 4- and 5-year olds. I first ask them, how are the children’s fine motor skills? Are they reading? How big are their hands? Are they ready to practice at least 20-30 minutes each day? By the time children complete a 2-year Kindermusik class, they have played a pre-keyboard instrument, a simple string instrument and a wind instrument. They are eager to pursue private lessons and have more staying power!

When you choose a music program, make sure it is compatible with you and your child. Be prepared to be an active participant and supporter of your child’s music experience. It could be the best investment you ever make.

Music turns kids on. So turn it up!

Thanks to Stephanie Bartis, M.M., for sharing this great article, orginally written for the Art of Well Being. Stephanie is a member of Kindermusik’s Maestro Conductor Circle, which distinguishes her and her studio, Bartis Creative Studio, as among the top 1% Kindermusik programs worldwide.