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Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Things to Know Why Music is Good for Kids

by Discover Music with Nancy Knauf
St. John’s United Church of Christ
415 Park Ave. Newport, KY 41071

There's nothing else I can add to this column, by Nancy Knauf. If she is as good and professional at Kindermusik as she was with this column, I know the kids are in good hands. Without further adieu, here's Nancy:

Most adults I know have fond memories of participating in musical activities while growing up but how often do they reflect on how music helped them to develop as a student or as a person?

Here are some of the reasons why music is so good for a child’s development.

1) Develops active listening skills.

I love the look on a child’s face when I ask him to listen to a new song or a recording of natural sounds – like a dog barking or flowing water. One 2 year-old boy always scrunches up his nose as he listens, then makes an “oh” sound as he starts to make his own sense of it. Is that a drum? A clock ticking? Is it soft? Is it loud? Listening with your child and labeling music with descriptive words will help him to listen with purpose.

2) Develops self confidence and self expression.

As a singer and a natural extrovert, it is not unusual for me to respond to feelings and experiences with a song. In the music classroom, I have observed the “shy” 4 year old girl transform into a song leader in less than 8 weeks. She is often a very good listener and a good singer and just needs time to exercise her independence. The classroom is a supportive environment to try out these new skills. According to the “shy” girl’s grandmother, after music class she now likes to sing to everyone on the bus.

3) Develops the brain.

Just Google this topic and you’ll find lots of articles and research studies that support the idea that music is important for intellectual development in early childhood. Early integration of music into a child’s daily routine improves his ability to think, reason, create and express. There is even research to suggest that music training at an early age can develop neural connections necessary for understanding complex mathematical and scientific concepts. Playing an instrument also develops eye-hand coordination that is valued by every profession and sport. And singing songs helps children learn new vocabulary.

4) Develops a sense of community.

Playing instruments or singing together in a group develops ensemble skills. I personally love the interaction that occurs when children “circle dance.” Movement is joyful to them. These dances were built on the tradition of communities coming together pre-technology to dance and enjoy each other’s company.

5) Music makes just about every activity more fun.

A simple story about a dog owner losing sight of Rover in the park leads children to sing, “Where, oh, where has my little dog gone?” I beat the drum as they keep a steady beat and seek out the imaginary dog. Julie Andrews sings, “My Favorite Things” as the thunderstorm rages outside the Von Trapp mansion. Adding music to stories and everyday events transforms moments into memories.

Discover Music with Nancy Knauf offers Kindermusik® classes at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Newport, KY. Kindermusik is an international music and movement program designed to stimulate early childhood development. Classes nurture a love of music and provide a foundation for learning ABC’s and 1, 2, 3’s – important building blocks for school and life success. Click here for summer class schedule.

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