With so many options for early childhood music classes and Kindermusik claiming to be the premier music education for under sevens, is it worth it? You decide.
Yes, the straight answer is yes. The program is based on sound philosophies and offers much more value than just weekly lessons. Including at home materials and child development information for parents, the program boasts benefits for the whole family.
But don’t take my word for it, read on.
I started teaching Kindermusik over 24 years ago. My children went through the program, and I was impressed by the research and study that had gone into creating a curriculum that had sound pedagogy origins.
I came to Kindermusik after completing a music degree in my State’s most prestigious institution and a Graduate Diploma in Education. I had a strong background in learning differences so came with knowledge from a musical, educational and intervention point of view.
I was looking for something that covered as many learning domains as possible and stumbled across Kindermusik in my search of a program to add to my already thriving studio.
Why I have Stayed with Kindermusik
Since that time, I have been recruited by other music programs to write for them. If I was going to jump ship, the program I was going to had to be more inclusive than the one I was already teaching.
I asked hard questions like:
- the production quality of the music
- the range and variety of voices in the recorded music (was it one person? Was it all women? or did it include a range of voices?)
- the variety of musical styles included in the program (was it all pop, or nursery rhymes or all one style?)
- the quality of the arrangements used (simple or complex? appealing to both adults and children?)
- range and variety of activities contained within the curriculum
- number of learning domains the activities covered
- research and testing prior to releasing the program
- is the program updated according to new child development information?
- did the program include literacy and pre-reading content?
- were there tools for parents to use as part of the program at home?
- what were the quality of those tools if they existed?
With each company that contacted me over the years, the answers to the questions did not provide me with a program that was more inclusive or better for children with Kindermusik. So, here I still am 24+ years later.
So you know that I think it is worth it, but what about you as a parent? How can you decide if the program is worth the financial outlay for you and your child?
Research and Studies
Many scientific studies over the years have proven that early childhood music sessions help children’s brain cells make the connections needed for virtually every kind of intelligence.
Kindermusik has taken the time and expense to have independent studies performed. To quote from one of those studies:
“Preschoolers who participated in Kindermusik for as little as 30 minutes each week showed a 32% greater gain in early language and literacy skills than the control group.
Students also showed significant gains in abstract reasoning, spatial and temporal reasoning, and self-control further benefiting development in patterning and mathematics, social development, and overall academic success.”
One thing Kindermusik does well is making sure each activity is developmentally appropriate for the age group. Because there is a broad range of skills between children, every parent adjusts a particular activity to either make it easier or more challenging depending on the ability of their child.
They believe the parent is the child’s best teacher and the educator guides and facilitates activities to help parent and child achieve success through the activities regardless of their ability.
They also do this through a “process not performance” approach. There is no competing or judging of abilities but rather an emphasis on the skills acquired through the process of the activity. This process is vitally important to the development of any child and parents are taught how to use scaffolding to aid that process.
Regardless of the age or ability of the child, Kindermusik classes provide activities where children can gain confidence and skills across a range of learning domains.
Increased Neural Wiring
Activities are purposely structured to provide the right amount of balance between new activities (which promote new brain connections to form) and repetition (which help the brain retain that connection.
This repetition is crucial for acquiring new skills and repetition is met with extension to allow children to make this new wiring strong and eventually develop myelination. This process further enhances skills and processing speed which is evident through better coordination, eye hand control, more fluid speech and increased understanding.
Builds Social Skills
Even though parents get to work with their child one on one, there is plenty of opportunity for group socialization. Circle dances, ensemble playing, gathering time, singing in rounds and story time are all wonderful opportunities where children build better social skills.
As children get older these skills include turn taking (when developmentally appropriate, although the foundations for turn taking are built long before they actually start doing it), facial/vocal expression and learning about emotions are all part of classes that engage and teach social skills.
Builds Better Auditory Skills
Kindermusik consciously builds increased auditory skills through a range of ways including but not limited to:
- ensemble playing
- instrument play
- activities where just noticeable differences are appropriate to the age level – for example listening to just singing, silence and then just percussion sounds. Isolating these sounds allows children to develop auditory discrimination, auditory and spatial awareness and temporal processing.
- activities that include rhyming words, ascending and descending melodic scales, rhythmic and melodic patterns which also help auditory memory
- the same music used in class is provided for home use so children can become familiar with the sounds, allowing the brain to start grouping sounds together, allowing more processing memory to be free for other cognitive functions
- complex and musically interesting arrangements that are not “baby” music but robust pieces in a variety of styles and ethnic backgrounds
- focused listening activities every lesson even from birth, to train the auditory system to attend to specific sounds.
- focusing on, recognizing and eventually naming different volumes in sounds (for example piano and forte in music)
A Solid Preparation for School Readiness
Kindermusik classes prepare children for school right from the baby classes. When they rock together, a baby’s vesitibular system is strengthened. This helps balance that is going to be needed later in school when sitting at a desk.
When children play instruments and move to the steady beat with their bodies, they are internalizing a skill that is going to help them to self-regulate more efficiently (have a controlled emotional response fitting to a given situation or circumstance).
When children do stop and start games, they are developing the internal control needed to be able to sit next to someone in story time at school and keep their hands to themselves.
The literacy books included promotes pre-reading skills and print awareness and a love for reading in general.
The vocal play encourages children to play with and be more aware of language, phonemes, rhyming words, syllables and lyric undulation.
Everything included in activities (although just fun to a child) is building on skills to prepare them to not only love learning, but to make learning easier.
Kindermusik understands that children are sensory creatures. The 8 senses form the foundation for all higher cortical learning. Their brain needs multisensory input to be able to learn how to deal with all the information coming at them from all angles.
Apart from focused listening activities where the auditory system is isolated to teach specific skills, all other activities have a multisensory approach.
Research has revealed that multisensory information has been shown to facilitate learning. In fact, the more senses that a child can experience simultaneously, the deeper the learning.
The world we live in requires us to be able to interpret and process lots of sensory information at once. All of our sensory systems work together so it makes sense to develop them at the same time.
If sensory integration doesn’t occur for children, then we see deficits in learning which can affect reading, comprehension and social skills among other things.
Kindermusik Makes You a Better Parent
Kindermusik doesn’t just have benefits for your child. Through benefit statements, every parent is taught about child development as children are learning as well. They are given the knowledge to understand why the activities are so important, what to look out for and how to help their child learn by presenting material in a way that their child naturally sees information.
From babies it is easy to see learning styles start to emerge. When you can recognize that in your child and know what to look for, you can work with that learning style, playing to your child’s strengths.
For example if you know they are a strong visual learner, you will approach things differently than if they were a strong kinesthetic learner and needed to move all the time.
Getting to know how your child learns and then what activities to do to strengthen skills they might find challenging and enhance skills they are good at, is invaluable for any parent who wants to set their child up for success.
This information allows you to learn different strategies for when you are stressed, have a child having a 45-minute meltdown or a child who is yelling at you all the time. These strategies help making every day parenting easier, and the home materials that Kindermusik provides, give you some tools to help make that happen.
Everyone needs community. In this day and age, families are spread all over the globe and many no longer have external family members as a support. That support can be found in the community of a Kindermusik class.
I can’t tell you how many families I have had still remain friends, many going on holidays together over 20 years later. Their children have grown up together long after Kindermusik has ended and the friendships made have not only stood the test of time, but also geographical distance.
I have had mothers come into class exhausted, children crying and other mothers gather around her, one taking the baby and allowing her to breathe for a minute or two. I have seen parents babysit for other families, have dinners together, support each other during floods and natural disasters.
I have had parents who have remained with their children from babies through to age 7, sit after the last class, crying and not wanting to go home because they didn’t want the experience to end. The socialization for parents is just as important as it is for the children.
The sense of community built in a Kindermusik class cannot be underestimated and at a time when we are having to distance more because of world circumstances, that community is needed more than ever.
So is Kindermusik Worth It?
These are only some of the many benefits attending Kindermusik classes brings. The carefully crafted curriculum lays a foundation for confidence and lifelong learning. It brings parents and children closer together, and helps parents to parent more effectively.
It develops child development skills across many learning domains and includes multisensory learning, catering to every need of every child no matter who they are.
What would you give for your child to be exposed to classes like that?