Strengthening self-regulating skills prepare children for school

Studies point to a specific cluster of social-emotional skills—called self-regulation skills—as particularly important for a variety of school successes. Children who display strong self-regulation are better able to control their impulses, pay attention, work flexibly toward goals, and show an ability to plan and organize their actions.

Music and music instruction have been revealed as natural means for promoting self-regulation. Studies have linked participation in music lessons with significant increases in attention and perseverance. In fact, one study measured three- and four-year-old children participating in Kindermusik against those not. The children participating in Kindermusik performed consistently higher on four separate age-appropriate tasks designed specifically to measure self-regulation skills.

 

5 musical learning activities that support cognitive development in children

When intentionally used as part of a pre-K curriculum or preschool curriculum, musical learning can positively impact the cognitive development in children and help children of all abilities be ready to learn at any age. Here are just five ways to use music when teaching children enrolled in a preschool or pre-K curriculum.

  1. Circle dances teach cooperation. Ringing around the rosy gives children more than a pocketful of posies. Choreographed movements require children to cooperate, move in synch with a group, and listen to and follow oral instructions.
  2. Identifying the specific sounds (or timbre) of different instruments teaches children auditory discrimination. The same sound discrimination used in recognizing the difference between the musical note “C” played on a clarinet versus the same note played on a piano by sound—not sight—helps children hear the minute differences between letter sounds or phonemes, which supports early literacy and language development.
  3. Moving to the tempo of the music teaches children to be active listeners. When children respond to the changing tempo of a song—from fast to slow—or when children move slowly when they hear the music change from staccato to legato, they are using their body movements to practice active listening skills.
  4. “Stop and Go” activities with music builds self-regulation skills. Children need to learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move on to another activity. When playing a musical learning game of “Freeze Dance,” children learn and practice self-regulation skills by responding to the musical cues.
  5. Finger plays, such as “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” help children learn to coordinate hand, finger, and wrist movements that support fine motor control and precision. Those fine motor skills will help children hold a pencil correctly, use scissors, and even tie their own shoes.