Kathy Kucsan, Education Director

The research is unequivocal: making music is good — really good! — for young children.

The very first thing that comes up when I search “early childhood music education” is this: “Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy.” Scholarly articles are adding up, early childhood music programs and even franchises are all over the place, so if you want empirical evidence about the benefits of engaging our littlest ones in music, you don’t have to look far.

At the Center for Musical Arts, we’re well aware of the many advantages music provides.

We’re also very interested in the fundamental importance of music in people’s lives, especially young children. We humans are literally wired for music — if you’re anywhere near a toddler when a great song comes on, they can’t NOT move to the music. It’s intrinsic to us from a very young age, and in fact, there is evidence of babies in utero responding to sounds, voices, and moving to music. (Here’s an interesting article if you’re interested in more details.)

With these things in mind, our Exploring Music program was developed based on the work of John Feierabend, a leading researcher/scholar in the area of music and movement development in childhood. Feierabend is focused on creating community, and his approach “strives for people to become tuneful, beautiful and artful” through music. Feierabend’s book First Steps in Music is the basis for what we do here at the Center.

Children and parents explore music together…

…and engage in activities like singing, dancing, responding and creatively expressing to music. We want to foster the experience of music and the connection it creates between children and caregivers, because this felt experience and expression is what helps us to become tuneful, artful and beautiful humans throughout our lives.

Many other early childhood music programs emphasize developing skills or performing for an audience. Our approach is experiential first, allowing plenty of time and room for children to gravitate toward an instrument or movement that best fits them. Exploring Music participants talk about making music together at home, and that is exactly Feierabend’s intent.

Consider that about a century ago, most of the music people heard was live only. There were pianos in every living room, singing happening at many gatherings. Our society is different now, of course, but music making can still happen — out loud, live, and joyful.

If you have questions about early childhood musical development…

…Exploring Music, Feierabend, or anything along those lines, feel free to contact me: kathyk@comusic.org

You can also get to know our Exploring Music teacher Becca Kronyak in her Faculty Highlight.