Raising your child’s intellectual capacity with early music education

Today’s guest post is from TPK parent and music educator Kathryn Brunner. Research has shown a link between learning music and achievement in many other forms of learning – including math and literacy. Read on to learn about how you can use music and movement not only to support your child’s development – but to have fun together too!

Raise Your Child’s Intellectual Capacity with Music Education!

If we could find one subject that would help our children synthesize many other subjects, we wouldn’t hesitate to make sure our children have access to it every day.

Amazingly, neuroscientists have identified music education as the subject that provides the most activity for the brain at one time. Studies reveal that strengthened neural pathways through music education enhance intellectual achievement in many subject areas. [1]

Considering what neuroscience tells us, music and movement are essential for a child’s holistic, cognitive development. Consistent music education in early childhood has been found to raise the average child’s IQ in adulthood.[2]

Take a look at the following tips to find out how valuable it is for music to permeate life, both at school and at home. Find out what you can do musically with your child at home. Follow the links to see the neuroscience research. Consider adding a Musikgarten Album to your home CD collection for your child’s immediate musical growth. Watch a short participatory song video with your child at home today.

Let’s get started!

5 Things to Know

  • Musical development – Your child’s aptitude for learning music is at its strongest from birth to 18 months. Children learn more in this critical 18-month period than in any other 18-month period in their life. The second most important time for musical development in one’s entire life is from 18 months to 5 years old.[3]
  • Intellectual development – Music is the only activity or subject matter that actively engages both hemispheres of the brain at the same time. Those who begin studying music before the age of 7 and continue through the teenage years will have an average IQ score of 7.5 points higher than those who don’t study music.[4]
  • Language development – Music education advances the early development of the auditory processing network in the brain. This is the network used to make meaning of sounds and learn spoken language.[5] Songs introduce new vocabulary words in rapid succession and in turn significantly boost a child’s working vocabulary.
  • Literacy development – Literacy levels have been shown to improve by between one and three grade levels with consistent music education beginning from birth with activities as simple as singing, musical games, listening to music, repeating rhythmical or tonal patterns, and learning an instrument at age 5-7.[6]
  • Imagination – Life without music would be bleak. Music opens up an entirely new world to a child. It enables a child to gain insights into himself/herself, others and most importantly life itself. These insights help to develop and sustain a child’s imaginative creativity. Because a child hears and participates in some music every single day, it is to a child’s advantage to understand music as thoroughly as possible.[7]


4 Things to Do

  • Sing – Sing when you rise, when you make meals, give baths, brush teeth, & say goodnight. Use the higher range of your singing voice to help your child engage his/her best singing voice. Keep music playing in the car, in the kitchen, and wherever you are, let your child hear you singing along. Even if you think you can’t sing, a parent’s singing voice is invaluable to your child’s musical growth.
  • Dance – Wiggle, spin, dip, twirl! Movement helps develop the vestibular system along with the primary function of the ear which is balance. Balance must be developed before the ear can move on to fully develop auditory functioning for focused, attentive listening.
  • Engage the senses – Sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. Spend time each day actively listening to sounds in nature (birds chirping, car engines), in your home (a steaming pot, the doorbell, running water), and imitate these sounds with your voice together with your child.
  • Be silly with your child – Make up silly dances, say nonsensical words together, chant silly rhyming words all in a row, model improvisation & imagination by inserting new words into familiar songs, for example: “Twinkle Twinkle little shoe, how I wonder what you do, when you run into the room, jumping like a bouncy balloon, Twinkle Twinkle little shoe, how I wonder what you do,” etc.

3 Points to Access Research

2 Children’s Albums + Parent Books to Get Started (Free Shipping Use code TPKDELIVERY, 20% off use code MUSIC2017 through April 30).

1 Video to Watch with Your Child

Next Steps!

If you’d like to do more with your child at home, online music classes at mymusikathome.com for babies, toddlers and preschoolers provide an open door to enrich your child’s musical and intellectual development today. These video classes are also designed help parents incorporate music into every day life with little ones outside of class time. The classes can be done a time that works for you and your child’s schedule at home.

For live music classes, look for class opportunities at your local community center, the Little Gym, or in Fairfax County’s Park Takes Magazine.

For more information on formal piano instruction for beginning students ages 5-7, visit kathrynbrunner.com. Interviews for beginning students take place this March and April for the 2017-2018 school year. Classes begin in the summer.

A young child’s early experiences with music are crucial for lifelong intellectual and musical development. Wouldn’t it be spectacular if every child could have access to consistent music education both at school and at home!


About Kathryn

Kathryn Brunner has been a music educator for 17 years. She is passionate about making music education available and accessible for all children. In 2016, she launched mymusikatahome.com to make early childhood music classes accessible online at home through class videos for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. She has owned and operated “Kathryn Brunner’s Piano and Musikgarten Studio” in Vienna, VA since 2001 with emphasis on providing beginning students ages 5-7 a solid and strong foundation in the early years of piano study. Kathryn and her husband Stanton live in Fairfax. Their 5 year old is a student at TPK and their 2 year old will join TPK next fall.



[1] Trainor, L. J., Shahin, A. J., & Roberts, L. E. (2009). Understanding the benefits of musical training. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169(1).

[2] Collins, Anita. TedX: “What if every child had access to music education from birth?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueqgenARzlE&t=2s. Skoe, E., & Kraus, N. (2012). “A little goes a long way: how the adult brain is shaped by musical training in childhood.” The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(34).

[3] Gordon, Edwin. “Music Learning Theory Part 1.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRUCZp9uYOM.

[4] Collins, Anita. TedX: “What if every child had access to music education from birth?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueqgenARzlE&t=2s.

[5] Collins, Anita. “Music & Literacy Education is Money Well Spent.” http://www.anitacollinsmusic.com/bigger-better-brains/naplan2016.

[6] Collins, Anita. “Music & Literacy Education is Money Well Spent.” http://www.anitacollinsmusic.com/bigger-better-brains/naplan2016.

[7] Gordon, Edwin E. A Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1990. pp 2-3.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

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