The Tuneables is an award-winning children's music education DVD and CD series designed to teach the key building blocks of music at a critical time in a child's development. Sponsored by the Music Intelligence Project, this fun, interactive program engages children in songs and activities that provide a foundation of music understanding and growth in intellectual development. Ages 3-8.
Buy your copy today at: www.thetuneables.com/the-music-shop/
Music learning, like language learning, must begin early in the child's life. The early years are the period of most rapid growth in brain development. This growth is "wiring" the brain to recognize, remember, and understand the sounds and patterns of music and speech. Individuals rarely develop musical capabilities later in life if their early years did not include learning that involves a rich mix of rhythmic, tonal, and performance skills.
Because music listening skills develop with those parts of the brain that also involve language learning, verbal competence increases along with music learning. Studies have also shown that music learning involving a substantive mix of rhythmic, tonal, and performance skills also enhances the development of those parts of the brain that provide memory, mathematical reasoning, and muscular control. In addition, music learning engages a large section of the brain that overlaps the parts that control general intelligence.
Young children who do not receive the many benefits of substantive music learning at this critical time suffer an irrevocable loss. Young children deprived of important early learning experiences have slowed or even halted intellectual development. This leaves the child with an unrecoverable and diminished capacity for learning important skills and concepts throughout life. This is similar to learning a second language when children, exposed early, have a much greater ability to quickly and easily use that language than those exposed to that language later in life.
For an extended discussion of early music learning, see:
Gordon, Edwin. Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children, 2003 Edition. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2003.
When the question arises as to whether playing recorded background music for young children provides any benefit, the answer must be, "Yes." This is a convenient and pleasurable way to introduce children to the music of their culture and allow them to become familiar with a repertoire of songs and other compositions. In addition, when the music selected for listening is sufficiently complex, like Mozart's, some benefit to increased intelligence may occur. Most importantly, these listening experiences provide the readiness for structured music instruction.
Parents often ask, "What recordings should I have my children listen to?" High on the list of recommendations are compositions by Mozart and his contemporary, Haydn. Among the many reasons given for choosing these two composers, and others like them, is that their music is highly suited to stimulate brain development in young children as well as providing an excellent foundation upon which to develop basic concepts of music.
Engaging young children in music experiences can have a strongly positive influence on their intellectual development. But you have to be smart about choosing what experiences produce the best result. The key consideration is to make sure the children are actively involved—focused listening, singing, moving rhythmically, playing simple instruments, and forming musical concepts—all with the aim of producing a musical result and knowing that it happened.
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