Music can support the development of kindergarten and kindergarten children at various levels in their early phase of life just like mobile games to educate. In addition to language development and coordination, it also promotes the creativity of the children and helps them to remember what they have learned better.
In addition, music offers a unique opportunity to connect with people. It does not distinguish between the age, origin, or level of education of those involved – music is a wordless world language spoken by all people. Even if someone does not understand the lyrics of a song, the melody can touch him, and he can participate in it by clapping or humming. Singing or making music together is an ideal way to integrate migrant and refugee children into the group. Music provides emotional balance, promotes the feeling of language and listening, conveys security and joie de vivre, and helps to develop a sense of community.
As the results of DIW Berlin’s socio-economic panel prove, music promotes children’s long-term educational success. Young people who have received music lessons since early childhood can show significantly better school grades on average. Especially children from socially disadvantaged families benefit from an early musical education. In their academic performance, they clearly stand out from their peers, who come from similar family circumstances.
The main reason for this is the promotion of executive functions through music. Inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility are trained through music and create the basis for a successful school and adult life.
Executive functions – the basis for successful learning
Inhibition or self-regulation describes above all the ability to have one’s own emotions under control. But attention control, i.e. staying focused and not being distracted by internal or external impulses, also falls into this area. If self-regulation is sufficiently developed, it is much easier for children to concentrate over a longer period of time. Social behavior is also more pronounced.
Working memory is the short-term storage of information. Its capacity and the duration over which the information remains retrievable in the head can be trained. A strong working memory promotes good mental arithmetic and faster language learning. In addition, work instructions are easier to understand and children can concentrate better on the essentials by hiding unimportant intermediate results or aspects.
Cognitive flexibility simply refers to the ability to adapt quickly to new conditions and to empathize with the perspective of others. This is particularly important when it comes to adapting to new living conditions, for example.
Targeted promotion of executive functions prevents mental disorders – such as ADD / ADHD or borderline syndrome – and can also be used for therapeutic purposes.
Music that makes you smart: Fex makes music
Fex stands for “Promotion of Executive Functions” and is a play and learning concept that emerged from the cooperation between the ZNL Transfer Center for Neuroscience and Learning at the University of Ulm and Wehrfritz GmbH.
The game collection Fex musiziert contains numerous musical exercises to promote executive functions in the areas of singing, rhythm, and listening. It thus combines the advantages of music education with the essential promotion of executive functions and can be easily integrated into the daily routine in daycare centers.
Musical project idea to promote executive functions
The content of Fex musiziert also includes a CD with 18 songs. The pedagogical specialist sings the following song to the children.
“There is a little dragon running to school
in the morning.
He has the satchel,
but forgot his shoes.”
Afterward, the children sing the song and clap to the rhythm. In the given text passages, the game master uses four of the face cards enclosed with the game and holds them up at the corresponding points. The children have to react quickly and incorporate the word depicted on the card into the lyrics. This results in e.g.: “There is a little rabbit running to school in the morning.” The previously agreed dance moves, which were assigned to the different cards, must be made simultaneously.
Since the children have to memorize not only the lyrics but also the movements, this game trains their working memory. So that they do not sing wrong or miss a picture card, attention and concentration are required. They also train their flexibility, coordination, and reaction speed.
To increase the difficulty of this game, more face cards can be used or the meaning of the individual cards can be swapped so that the children have to sing or dance in the dragon card “Rabbit” and in the rabbit card “Dragon”.