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The Magic of Music for Kids

What's so great about music? We all know that music can make us want to jump, dance, and tap our feet. But did you know that music has been linked to math scores, brain development, and anxiety relief? During the critical young ages of learning while the brain is still developing, the impact of music is at its greatest level. But even beyond the younger years, music can still play an important role, providing instruction for pre-teens, anxiety relief for adults, and even therapy for Alzheimer patients.

Psychologists and Educators are just beginning to uncover the many benefits that music provides for our mental health. While we all may be somewhat familiar with the idea that loud and fast music makes us feel different than quiet and slow music, research is showing that the predictable ways that music can influence us goes beyond altering our moods. Some studies show that we can predictably alter many of our mental states, and even heal damaged brains. Another study has found that students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) were able to improve their focus, given neurofeedback results while listening to background music.

There are many genres of music, and for a student wanting to benefit from the motivational and instructional elements of music, the first step is to appropriately align their age and interest with a particular music genre. Parents and teachers know that pre-teens are not going to be caught listening to music that kept their attention as a toddler. But while there are many genres and songs to choose from for the very young and for adults, there are fewer selections for those in the middle, who could benefit the most from the educational value of music.

Educational music for kids can be influential for teaching values, instructional for memorizing the alphabet, for example, and motivational for wanting to learn more about a topic. Some teachers play "welcoming music" as the children are entering the classroom, which captures their attention and desire to learn more about the subject of the educational song.

Kids are hard-wired to want to learn, and the teaching approaches that work the best are aligned with the natural learning process and interests of the learner. Music for kids is a powerful way to connect, motivate, and teach young students, in a method that is not forced, but yet aligns with their interests and natural desire to learn.

Authored by John Lewis, Ed.D, Explanation Age LLC. www.sillybus.net

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