Study Finds Link Between Music and Preschoolers Reading Readiness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA fantastic new study, right from our own back yard!

Results support continued funding of music education, researchers say
By: Charles Anzalone

Release Date: January 23, 2013
photo of Maria Runfola

Maria Runfola
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“Administrators need to better understand the importance of the arts to children’s development. We hope this research will help music educators and childhood educators support their requests for music time for the youngest of our students.”
Maria Runfola, Associate Professor of Learning And Instruction

BUFFALO, N.Y. – New research from the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education shows a link between preschool music activities and the development of reading and writing skills in children.

Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and published in the Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education, the two-year study examined the impact of “musically trained” early childhood teachers on the music and emergent reading and writing achievements of preschool children.

In the study, 165 preschoolers participated in music activities taught by 11 teachers who had received intensive training in musicianship skill and teaching strategies for guiding young children’s music development.

The results showed that music instruction significantly increased children’s oral vocabulary and grammatic understanding, after controlling for students’ age and prior knowledge, and was especially effective for children who began with lower literacy skills.

“First, we found that the musicianship of the early childhood teachers improved as did their ability to guide music activities in ways that enhanced student music development,” said study co-author Maria Runfola, UB associate professor of learning and instruction. “In addition, the researchers found statistically significant links with two tests of early literacy development: oral vocabulary and grammatical understanding.”

The study results were mixed for music achievement, however. Students’ median scores were similar for the experimental and control groups on use of singing voice. Students’ tonal pattern achievement in the experimental group was significantly higher but no significant differences were found in children’s rhythm-pattern achievement, the study found.

The researchers say the results provide the first link between music and literacy when music instruction is provided by “generalists” – regular classroom teachers in pre-kindergarten and daycare centers.

Other researchers have shown pre-kindergarten students can make gains in emergent literacy and other developmental domains when they are taught by music specialists who have received formal training in music education.

“Music is one way that children can learn rhythm and rhyme of text, be exposed to new vocabulary and learn to discriminate a variety of sounds,” says Runfola.

National educational organizations such as the National Reading Association recommend “playful experiences” as ways to make these pre-kindergarten children more ready to read, Runfola pointed out. This new study clearly shows the association between music and traits that can make it easier for preschoolers to learn language skills, she said.

The study grew from Runfola and co-lead researcher Elisabeth Etopio’s beliefs in the importance of early childhood music development and that early childhood specialists could be taught to guide music learning in ways that also increased their students’ development in literacy. Etopio is visiting assistant professor in UB’s Graduate School of Education.

The study pointed out that school districts increasingly are focused on test scores in math and literacy, often at the expense of appropriate music experiences for students.

“More and more, music educators are being asked to address other domains of student learning in addition to music-making and listening,” the report stated.

Runfola is concerned that music programs in New York State are being cut due to Race to the Top requirements and the focus on “Common Core Standards.”

“Administrators need to better understand the importance of the arts to children’s development,” Runfola said. “We hope this research will help music educators and childhood educators support their requests for music time for the youngest of our students. Children need daily appropriate music activity to stimulate their neural activity to develop tonal and rhythm audiation that in turn appears to help their emergent literacy skill.”

Parents should take note of these results and encourage their preschoolers to listen to a variety of music from recordings and especially in live venues, according to Runfola. Moreover, parents should interact with children musically, in the same way they interact with them using spoken language. At a minimum, they should chant nursery rhymes and dance with them to music on radio, TV and recordings.

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Imagine That- a Rain and Rainbow Day!




Our preschool-aged students learned today that music and movement can both be smooth or bumpy! We played glockenspiel and autoharp, made a list of ways our bodies could move and divided them into smooth and bumpy, played a musical game about raining “all over the town, town town!”, and sang a song about rainbows while making long, smooth paths to trace with our fingers! Oh yes, all of this while wearing our home made rain hats!

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Young Child Year Two- Dulcimer Day!


Our final year students are adding string instrument playing to their lessons, and the first day back they made their instrument- the two string mountain dulcimer! Using musical reasoning, within minutes of finishing their instruments they were playing portions of a song that they learned on glockenspiel last year… What a great example of the ‘of course I can!’ that we instill over the course of our whole program!

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Rainy Day? Paint to the Music!

Rainy Day? Paint to the Music!

Looking for a fun multi-arts, multi-sensory project to do with your child? Make these home made finger paints together, then select your (or their!) favorite music, and paint to what you hear! Try different ‘tone colors’, moods, speeds, and musical emotions, and talk about how your pictures match what you hear!

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September 22, 2012 · 11:40 am

Kindermusik Classes: Music and Social-Emotional Development

Kindermusik Classes: Music and Social-Emotional Development

Molia Dumbleton, M.A., M.A.

Heidi Gilman Bennett

(published by Kindermusik international)

 

Social-Emotional Learning: What is it and why does it matter?

Given the competitive energy around parenting these days, it’s a wonder some parents aren’t signing their preschoolers up for intensive “accelerated school-readiness classes” and SAT vocabulary camps. But no matter how brilliant – or over-scheduled – the child, there’s a reason

for the “pre-”. A preschooler is, quite simply, a pre-schooler until he or she is ready for school. And no matter how data-driven parents may become, most would still agree that beyond numbers, letters, colors, and such, there lies a harder-to-quantify but just-as-essential quality to school readiness.

“School-ready” is, of course, a complicated and weighted term. Scientists describe a school-ready child as having “the ability to experience, regulate, and express emotions; form close and secure personal relationships; explore the environment; and learn—all in the context of

family, community, and cultural expectations.”

It’s interesting to note that this definition doesn’t make mention of numbers, colors, or the alphabet. While it’s important that a child entering school have some basic skills and knowledge, researchers seem to agree that what a preschooler knows is far less important than

how he or she learns it. Only if a child is emotionally and socially equipped to manage

the demands of a school environment will he or she be able to benefit from the learning it

has to offer.

Seven Social-Emotional Competencies

Because social-emotional learning can seem less quantifiable than, say, counting or identifying colors, some researchers have suggested breaking the concept into seven more specific areas.

 

1. Confidence

 

What is it?

Confidence: A sense of control and mastery of one’s body, behavior and world; the child’s sense that he is more likely than not to succeed at what he undertakes, and that adults will be helpful.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

The inviting, child-centered atmosphere of a Kindermusik class, where children and parents are welcomed with a “Hello song” and guided through a themed series of activities, is built to foster confidence in every child. Lessons carefully balance predictability (which boosts confidence through repetition, familiarity, and mastery) with novelty (which boosts confidence through challenge and increasing competence), celebrating what children know and building upon it with new skills and experiences. Every learning style is recognized, and every level of participation—from playing an egg shaker along to music, to boisterously moving around the classroom independently, to “opting out” of an instrument play altogether and sitting quietly, instead, with a parent—is valued as an appropriate way for a child to absorb the moment, prepare to try new things, and make his or her own discoveries. In addition, research has specifically linked music and movement activities with the development of confidence in young children. While music alone can wield incredible power over state of mind, turning anxiety into calm, lethargy into energy, and distraction into focus, the best way to describe the incredible connection between movement and confidence is to quote a researcher who writes, quite simply, “The more they

move, the more they learn.”

 

What you can do at home

Break it down. You know your child—where he or she excels, where he or she is more likely to struggle or resist. Set your child up for the right balance of challenge and success by breaking larger, potentially overwhelming challenges into smaller, more manageable sections or

steps. Offer an appropriate amount of independence for the steps that will come easily; offer an appropriate amount of support during the steps that you expect might be more difficult.

Muzzle Ms. Fix-It. For a child to develop confidence, he or she must be allowed to problem-solve independently and successfully. This doesn’t mean you can’t guide, assist, or support (see “Break it down”) – but if the task is developmentally appropriate, allowing children to “get stuck” can be a good thing. Only then can they experience the pride and confidence that comes when they persist and arrive at their own solutions.

Loosen up! Sing, dance, rhyme, play, run, skip, twirl, crawl, wiggle, and bounce. (Yes, you.) Your child doesn’t have to participate in everything. Simply by modeling the freedom to move

your own body in a variety of ways, use your voice freely, and express your emotions creatively, you’ll be demonstrating that you are safe and supportive and that expression is prized and welcome – two essentials for the development of confidence.

 

2. Curiosity

 

What is it?

Curiosity: The sense that finding out about things is positive and leads to pleasure.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

When a child is offered an instrument and encouraged to explore it in whatever way he or she likes; when he or she is asked for ideas about how to make a scarf move in a “windy” or “bumpy” or “wiggly” way; when he or she listens carefully to find out how the sound of a baby

elephant is different from the sound of an adult elephant, that child learns that curiosity is not only valued, but quite simply good, that questions have a payoff, and that there are wonderful, unknown things in the world to see and experience and discover. Curiosity inevitably leads to learning. To learn something new, a child must not only encounter the kinds of items and experiences that cause him or her to ask what, why, how…but must also feel motivated to follow

a thread to the answers, have the proper encouragement, freedom, and materials to do so, and then also find the answers exciting, fulfilling, and worthy of the investigation. Curiosity and payoff are in hearty supply in the never-ending variations on movement, vocal play, pretend play, instrument exploration, and creative storytelling and interpretation in a Kindermusik class. Curiosity/query, creativity/investigation, back and forth: How might this sound? What if we try it this way? Can you think of some other ways we might do that? Now, what do you think this would look like? What sound might this make? What do you think will happen next? Sounds are added to stories; instruments are tapped on toes and elbows and ears; scarves are “flown” and “walked” and “dusted”. And so, curiosity and music are a natural pair. Research has shown that music instruments, for example, almost universally engage young children’s curiosity and

attention, prompting exploration, experimentation, and multi-sensory investigation of form and function.

 

What you can do at home

Mystery grab bag. Collect some mysterious items from around the house—things whose function might not be automatically clear, like a honeydripper, garlic press, eye pillow, binder clip, or monkey wrench. Put them in a bag or on a tray and investigate them with your child, one at a time. Make up creative functions for them. Do they make good instruments?

Memory lane. Dust off your shelf of old LPs, cassettes, or CDs and encourage your child to choose a couple. Look at the covers together, then play a song from one of them without letting

your child see which it is. Challenge your child to guess which album the song comes from, based on the sound of the music and the look of the cover art.

Project find-out. Keep a “find-out” list in the house somewhere. When a question arises (Do penguins make sounds? Can you still hear music underwater? Where does chocolate come from?), put it on the list. Then when you have some special activity time together, grab a question and set about finding the answer. Some may be quick internet video searches, while others might involve a field trip, a phone call, or a science experiment. (Your child is sure to get even more creative in his or her curiosities once it’s clear that the more esoteric the question, the more interesting the find-out!)

 

3. Intentionality

 

What is it?

Intentionality: The wish and capacity to have an impact, and to act upon that with persistence.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

Early signs of intentionality are in full view among children in the Our Time age range and are closely correlated with the burgeoning competence and autonomy of these young children.After all, toddlers never seem more joyful than when they have been, by their own choice and by their own efforts, effective. There are a variety of ways a child can show intentionality. Making a selection (for instance, selecting one instrument from a group) or expressing a preference (such as suggesting a way to move or

contributing a sound idea to a story or song) indicates a deliberate choice of one thing over others. Attending to a song or activity “all the way through” also shows intentionality, as a child must opt to disregard or delay other stimuli and impulses (a new skill, and still in development) in order to focus on the activity at hand.

 

What you can do at home

Sometimes intentionality seems like the last thing on an active toddler’s mind, as you follow his or her dotted path of 20-second fascinations, each rapidly investigated and discarded for the next. Other times, your child may “zoom in” on something so intensely that it’s hard to get his or her attention. Both are age-appropriate ways of interacting with the world and its stimuli, but as a child nears school age, he or she should become more able to engage with single activities for longer periods of time, persist through challenges, and demonstrate a longer view, longer attention span, and an ability to select, engage, and complete an activity.

Picky, picky, picky.

Allowing your child to choose from a handful of selections—as in what to eat, play, listen to, or

wear—helps him or her develop the ability to see the long view (in other words, If I choose this,

I will have to live with it), and feel more involved in the followthrough of that choice (be it

macaroni, hide-and-seek, Old MacDonald, or overalls).

Puzzle me. Puzzles can be a perfect exercise in intentionality. Each piece presents a challenge, and each challenge presents a choice: persist or give up. Giving up often comes with other attractive activity options – but a child that knows the satisfaction of selecting, persisting, and completing an activity (like a puzzle) will likely push through the challenge to reap those emotional rewards.

Hocus focus. You’ve almost surely heard some variation of the Kindermusik mantra: hearing is a sense, but listening is a skill, a deliberate act that requires intention and focus. Engaging in Focused Listening activities and exercises – both in and out of Kindermusik classes – is an intensive intentionality workout. Even for adults, it truly takes focus to shut out other, competing stimuli to focus solely on a sound or piece of music.

 

4. Self-Control

 

What is it?

Self-Control: The ability to modulate and control one’s own actions in age appropriate ways; a sense of inner control.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

While there is very little heavy-handed direction (sit there, play this, line up, etc.) in a  Kindermusik class, there are plenty of experiences that provide learning opportunities in the areas of self-control—namely sharing, taking turns, respecting classmates’ personal space, stopping and starting movements, putting things away when you’ve finished with them, etc.

You’re most likely to see physical and audio (rather than verbal) cues to let children (and parents) know what to expect and what’s expected of them. Rather than saying “Let’s all stand up”, for example, a Kindermusik educator may simply stand, gesturing that the class should join her. A “clean-up song”, rather than a verbal explanation, may be used to signal clean-up time. Children will listen for audio cues in a song to know when to stretch up high, for example, and when to crouch down low. Research demonstrates that these physical and audio cues are, in fact,

almost miraculously effective, in contrast to verbal requests and/or explanations.

 

What you can do at home

Cue audio/visual. Use familiar signals to let your child know that a transition from one activity to another is coming. Establish a special song to signal the approach of naptime, for example, or flicker the lights when it’s time to clean up.

Room for retreat. Providing a place where your child can go to “get away from it all” (to stave off or recover from a tantrum, for instance) gives him or her the opportunity to recognize his or her own patterns and signals and, accordingly, to develop self-knowledge and selfcontrol. (And no, it’s not too soon!) Music can be a powerful tool for relaxation and self-control, so consider equipping your child’s retreat space with a CD or tape player with easy buttons that he or she can control independently.

Share and share alike. Give your child lots of opportunities to practice sharing – with you, with siblings, with stuffed animals, anyone. For fun, try this: choose one thing (an instrument, for example, or a toy) and allow your child to choose another. Set a timer for one minute, then switch toys. Repeat.

 

5. Relatedness

 

What is it?

Relatedness: The ability to engage with others based on the sense of understanding and being understood by them.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

Studies show overwhelmingly that young children who participate in musical experiences and activities demonstrate increased levels of social participation—and, interestingly, longer social interactions as well. In addition, teachers who use musical cues to initiate transitions have been shown to experience decreased negative behaviors (such as teasing, taunting, and bullying) and increased positive behaviors (instances of cooperation, kindness, and empathy) in their class groups. Music activities that engage a group of children with music and movement

appear to have a great impact on children’s sense of “the other” and of “the group”, not to mention an increasing awareness of the emotions of others and an enhanced ability to  cooperate. Watch a group of young children holding hands in a circle or passing an instrument around the group, for example, and relatedness comes to center stage.

 

What you can do at home

Keep on keepin’ on.

According to research, young children who demonstrate relatedness in preschool settings tend to be children who have trusting relationships and secure attachments with familiar adults—so the things you’re already doing with your child at home (offering patience and comfort, teaching about feelings, empathy, and respect, etc.) are exactly what you should be doing to continue to foster this important skill.

Surprise, surprise.

Research overwhelmingly reveals that music activities and movement help build trust and compassion between children, their playmates, and their adult caregivers. Holding hands,

dancing, partnering, swaying, clapping together, playing instruments together, singing together—almost any “together” musical experience is bound to be a relatedness slam-dunk.

The no-share, no-pressure band. It’s clear that learning to share is a vital skill that preschoolers must learn in order to be successful – but sometimes, it’s okay not to share. For young children,

you can provide a relaxing, positive, and social music-making experience by providing each child with his or her own instrument and encouraging the group to enjoy playing music together without the emotional challenge of having to share or take turns.

Be a joiner! Connecting with your child one-on-one in a compassionate way that emphasizes kindness and respect is essential, but engaging in activities with larger groups and other adults and children is just as important. Try to add experiences to your child’s day that integrate big groups, small groups, people of ages and cultures other than your child’s, as well as new sounds, sights, animals, spectacles, etc. The “bigger” your child’s sphere of experience, the more universal his or her sense of relatedness will be able to become!

 

6. Capacity to Communicate

 

What is it?

Capacity to Communicate: The wish and ability to verbally exchange ideas, feelings, and  concepts with others.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

We are not born with a complete “kit” of communication tools. At first, as infants, we’re primarily able to communicate only our most basic needs (such as, “I’m hungry”). As we become more adept at manipulating external forces (such as parents), we also become more adept at specifying particular wants (such as, “Bring that toy here”) and emotions (such as, “I like seeing your face”). That capacity to communicate grows by leaps and bounds, however,

when we also begin to engage in it for its own sake—in other words, to communicate for pleasure, for connection, for fun. In a Kindermusik class, children are made, foremost, to feel secure, then encouraged to explore a variety of media for self expression. They learn—through songs, dances, instrument exploration, instrument play, and movement activities—that voices, bodies, and instruments are all tools they can use to communicate, and that there are subtleties in sound and movement that they can use to change the message they are trying to convey.

 

What you can do at home

Set the stage. Creating an environment that’s hospitable to communication and expression is the

very best and most important thing you can do, and the recipe for this environment is simple. Offer your child a feeling of emotional security. Place a high value on expression. Model communication, expressiveness, and open lack of judgment yourself. Then give your child full access to the “tools” of expression—not only instruments, art supplies, books, and music, but also conversation, adventures, and access to a you that has the time and freedom to move, dance, tell stories, and be outlandish!

Teach emotion words. As you’re teaching your child the words for colors, numbers, animals, trucks, dinosaurs, parts of the body, and what have you, be sure to include the words for a large number of varied emotions as well. Young children experience the same large range of emotions that adults do, but don’t often have access to vocabulary to describe and identify those feelings.

Paint that tune. Choose a couple songs from your CD collection or cue up a short MP3 playlist. Get out some crayons or paints and alongside your toddler, as you listen to the music, make some expressive art that represents how the music makes you feel. Use as many pieces of paper as you like, but at least one new one for each song.

Get in touch with your inner orchestra. Cue up a couple sound samples of a variety of instruments. (Search “instrument sound clips” on the Internet.) Engage your child, as he or she is able, in a discussion about which ones he or she likes best, which samples feel happy, sad, afraid, angry, sleepy, excited, etc. Then get up and move your bodies in a way that “matches” the instrument’s sound.

 

7. Cooperativeness

 

What is it?

Cooperativeness: The ability to balance one’s own needs with those of others in a group activity.

 

How it works in a Kindermusik class

“Children who are cooperative may imitate others and then join in, participate in small-group activities, begin to follow simple classroom rules, help put away toys or wipe a table, and offer help to another child.” Read the above, then witness a Kindermusik class, and you’ll agree that the Kindermusik classroom is fairly bursting with cooperative activity.

Cooperativeness makes for an interesting intersection of the other six social-emotional competence categories discussed. A cooperative child, for instance, can demonstrate self-control (take turns, for example), express relatedness (play a group game), and communicate (contribute ideas to an activity) in order to allow for an experience that is enjoyable for the entire class, and not just him or her. Though surely not every Kindermusik activity and lesson are orchestrated with 100% cooperation, research does reveal clearly that experiences with music make children better able to work and play successfully and in cooperation with others.

 

What you can do at home

Practice makes per-cussion. Give each child one shaker, drum, maraca, or other instrument. Begin playing a simple, steady, 3-beat rhythm (as in, shake-shake-shake (pause) shake-shake-shake (pause)). Ask the children to follow your lead, shaking or tapping their instruments in the same rhythm. Try a handful of other simple rhythms (for example, shake, (pause), shake, (pause)), always asking the children to follow your lead to try to play together.

Conditioned response. Using musical cues for certain behaviors— cleaning up, preparing for bed, etc.—has been revealed to be a startlingly effective way to generate cooperativeness among young children. While verbal requests for the same behaviors sometimes invite dawdling, negotiation, or refusal, musical cues generally do not. Try rolling a naptime riff, clean-up tune, or bedtime ditty into your routine.

The joy of ensemble. Nothing says cooperativeness like a musical marching band! Allow  children to make or select their own instruments, then set up a route, and create a rotating order so each child gets a turn to be the leader. Then strike up the band and get moving!

Conclusion

Pressed to define the look and feel of social-emotional development, you might find it difficult to quantify or even to describe – but you know it when you see it, and you certainly see it in a Kindermusik class. A child offering a toy to a peer who is crying; holding hands with a partner; moving, singing, or speaking expressively; or asking an adult for help. Children taking turns playing a drum; moving with scarves in whatever way makes them feel most like wind; dancing with parents, teachers, and classmates; hugging their teacher at the end of class. The amazing fact is that to researchers’ awe, music and movement experiences seem to tap positively into every domain for social and emotional development in toddlers. On the whole, young children who spend time singing, playing, and moving with other children find themselves better prepared to be confident and self-aware, build positive relationships with peers, and get the best out of the learning environments and opportunities that life will bring them.

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It’s a Zoo at Kindermusik this Summer!

ImageImageImageWe have been having a wonderful time this summer with our zoo theme! As we bounce like kangaroos, flutter like birds, sing like parrots, chug like the zoo train, and so much more, we build music and life skills! Visit us on facebook- ‘like’ Kindermusik with Sound Foundations and see all of our Adventures! Don’t forget, as we move into August we have musical, single-class Playdates available throughout the month… the perfect way to get a taste of Kindermusik, or to round out your summer fun! Come join us!

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Why Children Should Learn Music

Image

The following is from James Crocker’s blog on music and children, http://shapesounds.com/blog

There is a possibility you want your child to learn music because you have dreams of raising a classical virtuoso, an international rock star or a jazz legend. There are few shortcuts to such greatness; the route to Carnegie Hall is still ‘practice, practice, practice’, despite the glittering promises of TV talent shows. It is claimed that mastering anything -including music – takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. At the rate of one hour a day, that would take nearly 30 years! Unless your child is internally driven to make music (enjoying studying for hours alone, preferring practice to visiting friends and video games, etc) it is unlikely they will make a career from playing music. So, why bother?

Most parents know intuitively that learning to play music helps in other areas of education and personal development. Maybe you’ve read how music students are better at learning languages, or perhaps you played music at school and remember how it boosted your self-confidence? Scientists continue to gather mountains of evidence linking music-making with improvements in almost every aspect of life: language, reasoning, mathematics, creativity, problem solving, cultural awareness, health, fine-motor skills, self-discipline, teamwork, concentration, stress relief, memory, self-confidence, time management, patience, hand-eye coordination, and socialization. The question should be: why doesn’t everyone learn music?

Here’s some of the evidence:

A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than those who received computer training.

~Neurological Research, February 28, 1997

A ten-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.

~Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997

Second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time using newly designed math software. The group scored over 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software.

                        ~Neurological Research March, 1999

Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs).

~Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. January 1998

Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.

~University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball;
East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent

College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts. A study conducted at the University of Texas looked at 362 students who were in their first semester of college. They were given three tests, measuring performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol related problems. In addition to having fewer battles with the bottle, researchers also noted that the college-aged music students seemed to have surer footing when facing tests.

~Houston Chronicle, January 11, 1998

A McGill University study found that pattern recognition and mental representation scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year period. They also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved for the students given piano instruction.

~Dr. Eugenia Costa-Giomi, Phoenix, AZ, April, 1998

According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as “disruptive” (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as “disruptive.”

~Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992.

Data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non-participants receiving those grades.

~National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988
First Follow-Up (1990),US Department of Education.

Young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically in early school years. Findings of a recent study showed that there was a significant difference in the academic achievement levels of students classified according to rhythmic competency. Students who were achieving at academic expectation scored high on all rhythmic tasks, while many of those who scored lower on the rhythmic test achieved below academic expectation.

~”The Relationship between Rhythmic Competency and Academic Performance in First Grade Children,” University of Central Florida, Debby Mitchell

A University of California (Irvine) study showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers showed a 46% boost in their spatial reasoning IQ.

~Rauscher, Shaw, Levine, Ky and Wright, “Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship,” University of California, Irvine, 1994

James Crocker is a musician, teacher and dad sharing ideas on how to introduce the language of music to young kids.  He is also a member of CMN.

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WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK week is here!

Announcing WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK Week!
Posted on January 31, 2012 by Kindermusik International

We Love Kindermusik! It was a simple concept, really, this idea for a WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK Week. It was born out of an increasing recognition of just how many of us – educators, children, and families – have been touched by being a part of something that’s more than just a curriculum or a weekly activity. The idea came to life as we reflected on just how much love there is for Kindermusik and how meaningful it would be to set aside a week to come together and purposefully delight in all that Kindermusik is and means to all of us.

With this one annual specially designated week, we will be able to publicly and corporately give voice to that light in a child’s eye, that song in her heart, that little person just waiting to blossom – to acknowledge all those precious, miraculous moments we as Kindermusik educators are privileged to nurture and celebrate with our Kindermusik families each and every week. Simply put, WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK WEEK is a small way we can raise up together to celebrate the wonder and magic that is uniquely Kindermusik.

And so, with much joyful delight and anticipation, Kindermusik International and the Partnership for Kindermusik Educators invite you to join us in celebrating WE LOVE We Love KindermusikKINDERMUSIK Week during Valentine’s week, the week of February 13 – 18, when Kindermusik educators and families around the world will join together to show – and tell! – how much we all love Kindermusik and what Kindermusik means to each of us.

As a little background, you might find it interesting to know that WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK Week, to be held annually in February of each year, was designed to:

* raise awareness and generate good will for the Kindermusik brand
* unite families and educators around a common cause
* give educators a way to show families how much we love Kindermusik and how much we love them!
* encourage families to share why they love Kindermusik
* highlight ways we can all do some good and spread the joy of Kindermusik
* remind all of us of the magic that is uniquely Kindermusik.

Keep an eye on KI’s blog, Minds on Music, and KI’s Facebook page between now and the middle of February for ways that you can celebrate and share what Kindermusik means to you. Kindermusik International is getting the love started by giving away a free download of “Love Somebody” from the Peekaboo, I Love You! album at play.Kindermusik.com. To download, go to http://play.kindermusik.com/en/tracks/3139-love-somebody/and then select the orange download button. If you’re new to the site, you may need to register to receive the free song, as all our song downloads do require a login. (Don’t worry, we don’t use your information on anything. This login feature is designed for those enrolled in Kindermusik classes to access their digital materials). Upon login, you should be able to quickly download the song to your computer.

WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK week is truly intended to be a week of happy reminders of why we all love Kindermusik and most importantly, of all the special people – educators, families, and children – who come together every week to change the world through music…. one child and one song at a time.
SO TELL US… why do you love Kindermusik? Comment HERE for everyone to see- tell us what you and your child love about Kindermusik!

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Giving the Gift of Music!

Looking for the perfect present this holiday season? Know someone who would be interested in giving a gift that truly “keeps on giving”? As you know, the benefits of Kindermusik not only last a few months or a few years—they last a lifetime.

 

This year, Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncles, friends, or anyone, can give your little ones the gift of Kindermusik. I have Kindermusik gift certificates available in any denomination! Gift givers can get in touch with me by emailing kindersinger@yahoo.com, and I will provide simple instructions for purchasing a gift certificate to be applied toward Kindermusik tuition at Kindermusik with Sound Foundations! Gift certificates purchased before December 18 are sure to be delivered to you in class or by mail in plenty of time to find their way under the Christmas tree, into stockings, or get hand delivered with a hug.

 

(And don’t worry, we won’t tell your gift givers that this isn’t just a gift for the little ones—it’s also a gift for you! After all, you’re the one who gets to sit crossed-legged on the floor each week, enjoying that special time to bond with your child.)

 

Are you wondering if grandparents love giving Kindermusik as a gift? Just check out this video, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHIgylTX85U, of a Kindermusik grandma who has pledged to sponsor Kindermusik for any of her 17 grandchildren who want it!

 

If you have any questions about purchasing gift certificates, I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

 

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Musically,

Miss Wendy

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The Link Between Music and Reading

In classes, we have been focusing on the link between music, language, learning, and reading… Here is a wonderful overview of a new study out of Northwestern University on the subject!

“Music and reading ‘linked in brain’

(UKPA) – Oct 16, 2011

Musical ability is biologically linked to literacy, a study has found.

Children who performed well in reading tests were also good at discerning rhythm and tone, say scientists.

They also did better than average in tests of verbal memory.

Music skill accounted for 38% of the variation in reading ability between children.

Literacy and musical aptitude shared a common origin in the brain, the study showed.

The results may help to explain previous research suggesting that musical training can improve word skills.

“Both musical ability and literacy correlated with enhanced electrical signals within the auditory brainstem,” said study leader Dr Nina Kraus, from Northwestern University in the US. “These results add weight to the argument that music and reading are related via common neural and cognitive mechanisms and suggests a mechanism for the improvements in literacy seen with musical training.”

A total of 42 children aged eight to 13 took part in the research. Of these, eight were classified as “good readers” and 21 as “poor readers”.

The children were tested on their ability to read and recognise words. Other tests looked at how well they could distinguish between different rhythms and tones. Electrical measurements showed the brains of poor readers were less able to respond to regular, rhythmic sounds than good readers.

Musical aptitude correlated with reading performance. When rhythm and tone responses were measured separately, rhythm had the greatest effect. But the link with reading was greatest when the scientists measured both kinds of musical response together.”

 

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Fall Explorations- Use Your Senses!

The more senses your child uses, the more learning takes place! We emphasize the benefits of multisensory learning in the Kindermusik classroom every week… here is a great article from Simplekids.net on simple ways to discover the joys and beauty of the Fall season with your child using the same approach!

Simple As That: The Sights, Sounds, Smells, and Tastes of Autumn

Happy Autumn!

Last week I mentioned my personal goals for this Autumn.  Part of that is to be mindful of slowing down and being aware of what is going on around us – indoors and outdoors.  I want my family  to experience this time of year, not just as dates on the calendar, but as an opportunity to use all of our senses to really savor the season.

I thought it would be fun to list some of the different ways we can experience the sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes of Autumn with our kids.

What Does Autumn LOOK Like?

The hallmark of Autumn is the changing colors of the leaves, of course.  This provides opportunities to create leaf rubbings and other leaf related crafts. We can rake leaves together, which naturally leads to jumping in leaf piles!

Yesterday, we made a map of our backyard. The kids and I have been talking about the trees in our yard and what they look like now versus what they looked like a few short weeks ago.  We wonder what they will look like in the Winter time.

 

 

Beautiful leaves are not the only sights of Autumn …

Look UP

Look DOWN

  • What is happening to the grass?  The flowers?
  • What are the insects and animals doing?
  • What does the garden look like now?
  • Do you see any acorns?  Walnuts?  Seed pods?

What Does Autumn FEEL Like?

As the weeks pass and the weather changes, we begin to experience chilly Autumn days. Our clothing reflects the temperatures as we don wool sweaters, waffle weave long underwear, thick socks, and perhaps even a puffy down vest or a coat before we go outside.

There are other ways to feel the season:

  • The textures of hay bales
  • The varied surfaces of pumpkins and gourds
  • Difference between the silky petals of the mum’s flower and its leaves

Go on a nature walk and ask your child …

  • What does the sun feel like on your skin?  What about the shade?
  • Is there any wind today?  Can you feel a breeze?
  • What does the air feel like?  Dry?  Humid?

What Does Autumn TASTE Like?

For me, the tastes of Autumn are fresh baked bread, homemade applesauce, and my Aunt Anna’s pumpkin pie. One of the dates on the calendar I most look forward to is Thanksgiving, and the delicious food is certainly part of the appeal!

Here are some recipes on my wish list to try with my kids this season:

What recipes does your family enjoy during Autumn’s cooler days?

What Does Autumn SMELL Like?

There are good smells coming from our kitchens in Autumn, it is true. What other wonders can we experience with our sense of smell this time of year?

To my family, Autumn smells like …

Autumn smells like the first fire in the fireplace and beeswax candles on the dinner table as night’s darkness falls earlier and earlier.

What Does Autumn Sound Like?

This time of year may not be as noisy as the Spring, when new life is bursting forth, but there are still plenty of sounds in Autumn’s symphony.

Consider …

  • the geese honking as they fly overhead
  • the wind rusting the leaves
  • crackling campfires

And at our house we can hear the tractors as the farmers nearby harvest their crops.  Indoors, Autumn sounds like the clicking of knitting needles and popcorn popping for an afternoon snack.

What about you? What does Autumn look like to you? What sights, smells, and sounds evoke this time of year for your family?

Written by Kara Fleck

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children. You can also find her at Rockin’ Granola, where things are “a little bit crunchy and a little bit rock’n’roll.”

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Fall/Winter 2011 Studio Calendar

Monday September 19- classes begin
Mon Oct 10- NO CLASSES
Tues Oct 11- NO OUR TIME CLASS; Young Child year 2 class begins 4PM
Thurs Nov 11- NO CLASSES
Thurs Nov 24 and Fri Nov 25- NO CLASSES
Monday Nov 28- PRIORITY REGISTRATION BEGINS for SECOND SEMESTER
Monday Dec 26 through Monday Jan 2- Holiday break, NO CLASSES
Tues Jan 3- classes resume
Wed Jan 4- last day Wed Our Time class
Tues Jan 10- last day for Tuesday Our Time class
Thurs Jan 12- last day semester 1 Young Child Year 1 class- YC semester 2 continues Jan19
Mon Jan 23- last day, Monday Village and Our Time classes
Tues Jan 24- last day, semester 1 Young Child year 2- YC semester 2 continues Jan 31
Fri Jan 27- last day, Friday Our Time, Imagine That, Village classes

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Musical Learning and Parent Interaction= Increased Reasoning and Intelligence in Children! A Study of KINDERMUSIK students from Sam Houston University

Early music training can improve intelligence but the amount of parental involvement in the music training can greatly affect the amount of improvement, according to a study by three researchers at Sam Houston State University.

The conclusions of the study support the nurture side of the argument in the on-going debate over whether intelligence is solely DNA determined and static, or whether it can be enhanced through life experiences.

The study also showed that parental time spent with a child is a more important factor in predicting intelligence test success than such factors as single parent households, poverty, low parental education levels, and ethnic minority status.

The study was conducted between September 1997 and May 1998 by Terry D. Bilhartz, professor of history; Rick A. Bruhn, professor of education; and Judith E. Olson, director of the SHSU Learning Assistance Center.

A total of 66 children ages four to six years completed the study and were tested, half receiving no additional music instruction (called the control group) and the other half (called the experimental group) participating in a Kindermusik for the Young Child Year 1 Pilot Program.

One third of the children in both the control and the experimental groups attended Head Start Programs, while the remaining two-thirds in each group were pre-schoolers who lived in middle and upper income households.

After receiving a Stanford-Binet intelligence test and a musical skills assessment test, the experimental students were offered 75 minutes of music training per week for 30 weeks. In accordance with the Kindermusik curriculum guidelines, parents or guardians were asked to attend portions of the weekly lessons and to complete home assignments with their children. Children in both groups were re-tested at the end of the program.

The experimental group children who were active participants in the Kindermusik classes and whose parents helped them with the home musical activities showed significant gains on the areas of the Stanford-Binet subtests that measured abstract reasoning abilities. No significant changes during the treatment period were registered on the verbal intelligence test scores for either the experimental or the control group children.

The magnitude of improvement in abstract reasoning scores varied in proportion to the level of participation in the music curriculum. The researchers set compliance criteria to measure the degree of subject and caregiver participation in the Kindermusik program.

At the end of the study, children of parents or guardians who met “low” compliance standards improved the equivalent of an increase from the 50th percentile on a standardized intelligence test to above the 78th percentile. Students whose parents or guardians met “satisfactory” compliance standards jumped on the average from the 50th percentile to above the 87th percentile.

Strong correlations also were found between musical abilities in young children, particularly the ability to match vocal pitches and reproduce rhythmic patterns, and abstract reasoning abilities. These findings support the theories formulated by Gordon Shaw, Francis Rauscher and other researchers who have argued that early music instruction produces cognitive benefits in the area of spatial-temporal reasoning.

In addition to demonstrating the effect of early music instruction on cognitive development, the results of the study also underscore the importance of parental involvement in the intellectual formation of young children. Children who participated in the music activities with their parents at least 30 minutes a week scored significantly higher on both their intelligence and musical skills tests than the children who attended the Kindermusik classes but did not receive this level of parental assistance.

A regression analysis of the data indicates that the time of parental involvement in the music exercises was a stronger predictor of child test performance than other “at risk” factors such as single parent households, poverty, low parental education levels, and ethnic minority status.

According to Bilhartz, “A number of studies have shown that low socio-economic class is a predictor of poor academic performance, but often these studies are unable to identify what it is about socio-economic class that contributes to low performance.

“This study, which documents the relationships between certain well known at risk factors and cognitive outcomes, suggests that low test scores among children living in disadvantageous environments can largely be explained as a consequence of lower levels of child-parent interactions.”

Additional study needs to be done to determine the optimal times for introducing young children to the benefits of music, said Bilhartz, who sees both positives and negatives in his first study.

“The results of the study are both encouraging and discouraging,” said Bilhartz. “It is good to know that we can help our children grow intellectually by exposing them to age appropriate early musical experiences and by spending instructional time with them.

“Unfortunately, children who live in poverty and who live in households with low parental education levels are less likely than privileged children in higher educated households to receive adequate hours of parental involvement. The good news, however, is that parenting choices can make a difference even among those who live in academically at risk environments.”

An article on the research group’s findings has been accepted for publication in a future issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

The research was supported by grants from Sam Houston State University and Kindermusik International, Inc.

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Cool Summer Fun!

Summer programs are underway, and what fun we are having! In Creatures at the Ocean, our friends are exploring water themed music and learning activities- check out our water play while we sang ‘Come Splashing with Me’- building on our musical experiences, and discovering through all of our senses!

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Looking for Summer Fun? Fill a Play Date!

Have you picked your perfect summer from the PlayList yet? Don’t forget, you can fill a playdate! If you have 6-10 friends who register for a playdate with you, you and your child will receive a special musical gift, and your child’s space in the playdate is on me! Perfect to round out the summer, introduce your friends to Kindermusik, or make a special day together for your playgroup! Check the website for available playdates this summer!

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Attention Current Students: THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE TUNE!

Summer PlayList will be available in class for Priority Registration (continuing students only) starting on Monday- register during priority registration (first two weeks) and receive a Kindermusik Playcard good for 10 FREE downloads of Kindermusik tunes from play.kindermusik.com! More special promotions coming soon during registration kickoff- that’s something to sing about!

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Making Music- And We Do Mean Making It!

Looking for a rainy (all right, possibly still snowy!) day project for you and your child? How about building a band? What better way to explore sound, be creative, build your instrument collection, and spend quality time on a budget with your child than trying some of these wonderful suggestions from the National Network for Child Care out of Colorado State University! Then break out your Kindermusik home CD’s and jingle, tap, shake, and play in a family jam!

Drums

o Tape the top securely on an oatmeal box, or a margarine container.
o Cut the ends off a large can, cover both ends with rubber inner tubing and lace the tubing together, or use a plastic snap-on lid on each end.
o The end of any cylinder-shaped container can be covered with construction paper or fabric scraps.
o Try any surface that is available. Compare the differences in the sounds they make.
o Drumsticks can be your hands, spoons, pencils, dowels, or sticks. You may want to wrap one end of the dowel or stick with cloth, or tie cotton on it to make a different sound.

Tambourines

o Remove corks from bottle caps. Flatten the caps, and punch holes in them. Make sure there are no sharp edges. Tie caps to the edges of aluminum pie pans or paper plates.
o Lace two paper plates together and tie small bells to the edges.
o Put bottlecaps, buttons, or stones in an aluminum pie pan. Place another pie pan face-down over it. Punch evenly spaced holes around the rim and lace together tightly.

Shakers

o Use film containers, plastic eggs, baking powder cans, oatmeal boxes, or boxes with lids. Experiment with different sounds by putting dry beans, macaroni, rice, buttons, stones, etc., in them. Tape together securely. Little children like to put things in their mouths, so be sure they can not get to the contents of the shaker.
o Staple paper plates together with something that rattles inside. Use fairly large objects inside, and place the staples very close together so the contents will not fall out. Place tape over staples, or whip edges with yarn after holes are punched. Attach tie strings for musical hats.

Rhythm Sticks

o Use dowel rods or bamboo fishing poles. Cut them 12 to 15 inches long. Paint or shellac gives them a different sound.
o Chopsticks, spoons, or rungs from old chairs can be used.

Swish or Sandpaper Blocks

o Glue sandpaper to one side of 2-by 2-by 1-inch wooden blocks, rough side up. Rub sandpapered sides of the two blocks together for sound effects. Be sure the blocks are smooth and do not have splinters.

Cymbals and Bells

o Make cymbals from jar lids, saucepan covers or aluminum plates. A spool may be attached as a handle.
o Finger cymbals can be made by punching two holes in the center of two matching jar lids, large buttons or bottle caps. Fold a fat rubber band in half and push each end through the holes. Put your thumb and forefinger through the loops and clack away.
o Sew small sleigh bells to elastic and make a wrist band of bells.

Kazoos and Horns

o Tape waxed paper over one end of a cardboard tube (from paper towels or toilet paper). Hum into the open end with your mouth open a little. This may take a little practice. A different sound is made if you make three holes in the tube with a pencil. The waxed paper can be held in place with a rubber band.
o Use different sized empty soda bottles and blow across the mouth of the bottle. Different sizes give different tones.

Banjos and Guitars

o Cut a large hole in the middle of a shoe box lid and a piece out of the end of the lid and box. Cut slit in cardboard tube, and fit into place. Stretch rubber bands around the box. Space them far enough apart to get your fingers between them. Slide a pencil or short piece of cardboard tube under them. “Tune” the banjo by using different sized rubber bands. Stretch rubber bands of different sizes around the partially opened box. How can you make the sound change?

Water Chimes

o Put water in eight glasses. Start with an almost full glass on the left, and end with a small amount of water in the eighth glass. The tone of the full glass will be deep and clear. Add or pour water from the other glasses until you have the eight musical notes of a scale. Tap the glasses gently with a spoon, a pencil, or your fingernail. If you want a short note, put your finger on the rim of the glass, and the sound will stop.
o Fill a number of glass containers with different amounts of water. By carefully striking the sides of the containers with different utensils, they will ring out with varying degrees of sound.

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Our Summer Playlist- Coming to You Soon!

Are you waiting for warmer days to be here? Well, our Summer Playlist is headed your way soon! Check your calendar- we will be offering four, five, and eight week sessions for newborns through sevens, special one week themed camps for 5-7 year olds, and one time musical Playdate classes sprinkled throughout the Summer; something just right for you no matter what your Summer plans! Schedules and registration will be available by mid-April, so keep watching our blog, website, and Facebook page for special Summer and Fall registration bundles, Earlybird specials, and more!

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Sing your Blues Away… Singing Aids in Parental Relaxation!

Lullabies and children’s songs- good for your baby or child, but did you know that singing to and with them benefits you as well? Research indicates that part of the benefit of singing for your baby or child is the relaxation and stress relief that it offers parents. We are all born with our own internal tempo- the steady pace of our own heart beat and breathing. When presented with music which is faster than that beat, our body responds by increasing its heartbeat and respiration rate, and we experience this as stimulating or exciting. Present us with music slower than our internal tempo, and the heart and breathing slow in response- we feel this as soothing and calming. The physical act of sustaining breath for song slows and deepens our breathing, and results in a feeling of soothing and well-being on the part of the singer as oxygen levels increase and heart rate slows. Parents who sang with or for their children, especially lullabies, reported feelings of decreased stress, increased feelings of well-being, and increased feelings of connection with their child. So feeling stressed? Sing, sing, sing!

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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.

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NEW Radio APP = Kindermusik anywhere, anytime!

From Minds on Music- Kindermusik international’s Family Blog:

Dance, march, skip, and stretch. Swing your partner and then rock to a lullaby. Smile and laugh. Like Kindermusik classes, the NEW Kindermusik Radio app provides parents with a way to engage and interact with their children – while training the brain, soothing the soul, and bringing families together.

Research shows that music helps children become better learners. Toddlers love to dance, swing and sing as they develop their motor and aural skills. Preschoolers strengthen neural pathways by making up songs and rhymes as their imaginations run wild. With 5 stations to choose from, the Kindermusik Radio app will give you and your child access to over 100 tracks, the very finest and authentic reproductions of classic children’s songs, nursery rhymes, and stories as well as Kindermusik originals.

The Kindermusik Radio app offers a parent-child activity for every song, each activity designed to engage and entertain young listeners as well as stimulate early childhood development. The activities are based on principles defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Music Educators’ National Conference (MENC). Kindermusik International has over 30 years experience in developing early learning curricula and products based on the work of early childhood development experts such as Piaget, Montessori, and Greenspan, and the music education philosophies of Orff, Kodaly, and Dalcroze.

Sing. Move. Listen. Share. Anywhere.

Click here to check out or order the Kindermusik Radio app for iPhones and iPod Touches, available for $1.99 in the iTunes store. Or search “Kindermusik radio” in the App store.

The app was developed by Night & Day Studios, based in Portland, OR. They develop arts, educational, and entertainment apps and have created 25 iPhone applications, including Peekaboo Barn and Kidopolis.

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The Gift of Music for the New Year- Together!

Happy holidays! Looking for what to do with your child in the new year? How about coming to the place where you can sing, play, laugh, and learn- together! Kindermusik is based on some simple yet profound philosophies… that every child is musical, and that the parent and the home are the child’s first and best learning environment. Classes are not just a once a week experience, but the springboard for every day music making and integrated learning! Kindermusik is research based and grows with your child through all of their stages of development. There are new friends waiting for both you and your child in a Kindermusik class registering NOW- come join us! To view the Winter/Spring schedule for Kindermusik with Wendy Jones, just go to http://www.kindermusikwithwj.com and find the perfect class to suit your schedule; register online or by mail and we will see you when the new session begins the week of February 7!

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Have you discovered Minds on Music Yet?

Minds on Music- it’s kindermusik International’s blog! There you will find research and articles about the benefits of music on your child’s learning and development, tips for additional home play, thoughts from top Kindermusik educators worldwide, blogs posts and videos shared by Kindermusik parents all around, and so much more! It’s there at your fingertips whenever you like- log into http://www.kindermusik.com/MindsOnMusic and see what is going on in the International Kindermusik community you belong to!

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How to contact Miss Wendy, and what about snow days??

My email is changing! As I learn to move at a faster speed, computer-wise, so that I can be more accessible to all of you, my old snail’s-pace contact has been altered; my new email is kindersinger@yahoo.com. Have a question, a comment, a picture or story to share? Reach me there!

Speaking of questions, this time of year always brings the refrain- how do we know if class is canceled for the weather? There are two answers to that:

1. if the Clarence school district is closed BECAUSE OF SNOW (not faculty days or mechanical problems), we are also closed.

2. I will post my studio closings due to weather on Channel 2 weather hotline- this can be viewed on TV or online. I will be listed as Kindermusic with Wendy Jones (yes, they always get the spelling wrong), and will run this if either the Clarence District is closed or if I choose to close because, in my estimation, the weather is too severe or conditions are unsafe and the district is just holding out… This will generally be posted by 7am; if the conditions are changing, and not for the better, it may be listed as late as 8am.

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Love Kindermusik? Sing It Out!

Love Kindermusik? Sing It Out!

Do you blog? Love your Kindermusik class and want your friends to know it? Go ahead and add this image to your page, so that everyone will know that you are the proud parent of a Kindermusik kid! If you need the image, email me at kindermusikwithwj@msn.com– thank you for spreading the word about Kindermusik!

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