Carol Penney, Kindermusik's Director of Education

Carol Penney, Kindermusik International‘s Director of Education and Kindermusik educator for 30 years is featured this week in the USA Today “Guide to Kids’ Health” Summer 2012 issue in the article, “Music & Learning in Perfect Harmony” by Mara Gorman.

Download the full article here.

The article talks about why we should teach our children to love music and why playing music now means a higher GPA later. This is something we at Kindermusik have been known for 30+ years, prior to 2003 and Rauscher’s research on the effects of piano, rhythm, and singing instruction on the spatial reasoning of at-risk children or the first evidence supporting the benefits of music on overall cognitive development in young children, released only six years ago in 2006. This issue is near and dear to our hearts, being that our mission is to bring learning through music to children across the world, and is especially important as schools continue to cut back on arts & music program, leaving a hole in education that parents must fill. We wanted to share a recap of the article, along with some of our favorite quotes and features to bring attention to why music is one of the best learning methods for child development.

The article begGuide to Kids Health: Teach Your Child to Love Musicins with a question:

“What if someone told you that from the moment your child was born, you could do something to improve her self-esteem, confidence, social skills, eye-hand coordination, and eventually her grade point average? Of course, you would sign up, maybe even if it meant extensive training or expense.”

As a parent, we all want to do what’s best for our children. As we at Kindermusik have known and the theme echoed throughout the piece: early and meaningful exposure to music in a family’s life is one of the best gifts we can give our children! As we discuss on this music education blog, early music exposure for children has infinite benefits. Kindermusik classes primarily focus on early childhood development – for children age newborn to seven. As research has shown,  the earlier we begin to share music with children, the better:

“Children are never too young to start experiencing music. In fact, the most fertile time for music learning is between birth and 5 years old.”

This guide also points out that being musically inclined is not a requirement to be able to incorporate music into your child’s life.  As parents, we can bang on pots & pans to a steady beat, play our favorite lullabies at bedtime or radio station for a dance party, have a good ol’ fashioned family jam session with homemade instruments, or try a Kindermusik class together! All of these things will set your child on the right path to early learning. The article suggests finding music classes in your area through programs like Kindermusik, citing the benefits of music. In class, we use instrument play, repetition, special songs for every day chores, soothing rituals, audiation, sign language, books, and more foundations of learning through music to give children the tools they need to develop cognitive, physical, and social skills.

“Music makes a great teaching tool. “Everyone knows their ABC’s because of the melody,” says Carol Penney, director of education for Kindermusik, a music education program. ”Traditional children’s songs are perfect learning devices for turning sounds into words and words into creative thoughts.”’

Here are some additional fun “Did you know?” moments from the article:

  • Children who engage in musical activities from infancy end up with stronger literacy, language, and math skills. They also typically have higher SAT scores and are more likely to graduate from college.
  • Studies show that early and consistent exposure to music improves children’s academic performance. The explanation lies in music’s ability to affect brain
  • “Music education actually rewires the brain in the same area wKindermusik Music Classes for Toddlershere you develop math, language, and spatial reasoning skills.” ~ Jill Todd, president, Music Intelligence Project
  • Kindermusik classes use percussion instruments like the Japanese den-den drum, seen here, to encourage rhythm and movement.
  • The top instruments for young children are: 1) Voice. 2) Percussion and 3) Keyboard. Many kids start lessons at 7 or 8, so look into a music education program if you think your child is ready for daily practice.

Give Your Child the Gift of Music!

*All quotes in this post from Mara Gorman’s article in the USA Today Guide to Kid’s Health, Summer 2012 issue.

Order the USA Today Guide to Kid’s Health here!

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