Music education could help children improve their language skills

via ABC News

While many people often consider music a universal language, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study done in Beijing shows that it may help with spoken language as well.

Kindergarten students who took piano lessons showed increased capabilities to distinguish pitch and understand spoken words — and it showed up on their brain scans, according to the study’s findings.

Researchers from the International Data Group (IDG)/McGovern Institute at Beijing Normal University wanted to compare the effects of music education on reading versus standard reading training. The reading training included an interactive reading experience, in which the teacher read words aloud from enlarged texts, and the students read along with the teacher.

“If children who received music training did as well or better than children who received additional academic instruction, that could be a justification for why schools might want to continue to fund music,” Robert Desimone, Ph.D., senior author of the research article and director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, explained.

A group of 74 Mandarin-speaking children, ages 4 to 5, were randomly assigned to three smaller groups. One group got piano training, the second group was trained in reading, and a third control group received no extra training at all. Piano training included 45-minute piano sessions three times a week.

After six months of piano lessons, researchers found that the students were better at differentiating between spoken words and vowel sounds. The group with reading training had similar results. However, the difference between these two groups came in “consonant-based word discrimination.” The piano lessons group did better; this correlated to the group’s response to differences in musical pitch, which was observed immediately after the children heard a pair of notes in a sound-proof room and were then asked to differentiate between pitches.

While the study involved a small sample size and the differences in performance between the piano lesson and reading groups weren’t found in all studied areas, the researchers say that the findings were still significant when looking at language study.

“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures,” Desimone said, “but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there.”

Jordan Kitt’s Music goes to DC with NAMM to lobby for music education in our schools!

Jordan Kitt’s Music is proud to be a part of the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Music Education Advocacy D.C. fly-in.  Each spring, Jordan Kitt’s Music is joined in its home town by other NAMM members to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music by visiting with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

NAMM Fly-In participants receive intensive training with policy experts to learn about the policies and priorities of the current administration. With guidance from veteran delegates and seasoned professionals, NAMM members prepare research-based talking points for visits with their Members of Congress.

Tiffany Waddell, Director of Federal Relations for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (center) with Chris Syllaba, President, Jordan Kitt’s Music (right) and Joe Pritchard of Pritchard Music (left).

These visits are not just a time to make demands of our legislature, however. It is also when we encourage Senators and Representatives to celebrate the school districts and schools that receive national recognition through The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education SupportMusic Merit Awards within their states and congressional districts.

Suzanne Bonamici,
Chris Syllaba of Jordan Kitt’s, baseball legend and musician Bernie Williams, U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, and NAMM Chair Robyn Walenta at the Tuesday evening NAMM dinner.

The event included a Day of Service, where NAMM members commit a day getting involved in local music education, meetings on Capital Hill, and a number of NAMM hosted special events designed to maximize the impact of the event.

J. Dash Chris Syllaba
Musician, recording artist and entrepreneur J. Dash with Jordan Kitt’s CEO Chris Syllaba

For more information about NAMM or the Fly-in Event, visit www. namm.org

 

Towson University Keyboard Day

On Friday, March 16th, Towson University is proud to present Keyboard Day from 8:30am – 5:00pm
The day will include events such as:
• A Piano Masterclass with Eva Mengelkoch, Christopher Dillon, and Yoon-Wha Roh
• Organ and harpsichord workshops with Profs. Marc Bellassai
• Introduction to extended piano techniques
and much more.

for more information and to register, visit here!

Jordan Kitt’s Music helps Strathmore introduce more than 12,000 students to classical music

National Philharmonic welcomes more than 10,000 second graders to the Music Center at Strathmore during the annual Strathmore Student Concerts from now through Thursday, Nov. 16. The purpose of the program is to expose every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to a live performance of classical music.

The students learn about classical music and prepare for the concert hall experience during the month of October.

For many young people in Montgomery County, the National Philharmonic is their first exposure to classical music. The orchestra was a founding partner in the annual Strathmore Student Concerts, a hallmark education initiative that welcomes every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to the Music Center concert hall for a live performance. The National Philharmonic, Strathmore, and Montgomery County Public Schools are shaking up the annual concerts with a new conductor, new repertoire, and new vision to better serve students.

National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau is now at the helm. She worked closely with key partners and educators to create an experience that aligns with evolving MCPS curricular goals. Gau wanted students to leave the concerts with a better understanding of how they process music and how it can elicit specific emotional responses. The lively new format explores rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and musical texture—foundational elements of the concert experience that can make a piece feel happy or sad, serious or lighthearted, contemplative or full of unbridled excitement.

To reinforce these touchpoints, Gau selected music that bridges the classical canon and new works, demonstrating that classical music is evolving. Works by Beethoven and Brahms are paired with compositions by American composers Leonard Bernstein and Jennifer Higdon, and music by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. Gau was also conscious to include gender and ethnic diversity to reflect demographics in the County and show that anyone can enjoy and be a part of classical music.

The concert also includes a new commission from Bethesda-based composer Charlie Barnett, Second Grade Second Line, a short participatory work that introduces different sections of the orchestra—woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings, and keyboard.

Students are engaged through call and response, clapping, and percussive music-making from the audience—National Philharmonic musicians even get in on the fun from stage.

Gau has maintained a relationship with National Philharmonic since 2005 and joined National Philharmonic’s conducting staff in 2010. Gau is in demand nationally as a youth orchestra festival conductor. She is also Artistic Director and Conductor of the Takoma Ensemble and Capital City Symphony, where she has written and performed annual family concerts for 20 seasons.

The 2nd grader student concerts represent a $185,000 investment in public education, with sponsorship provided by The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, GEICO, and Jordan Kitt’s Music.

via Mongtomery Community Media.  Read more here…

Adaptive music lessons give kids a place to be themselves

via NPR

The benefits of music on individuals with autism are widely known. Improved focus, advances in speech and language, and better motor skills. But sometimes it’s about the growth that you can’t quantify in numbers.

On a Tuesday night in a sleepy plaza in Penfield, the Music Education Center is buzzing. Kids are in the waiting room, parents are catching up and students are practicing anything from trombone to piano.

Noah Svokos is a curly haired 13 year old who has been taking piano lessons for 5 years at the center.

The facility is open to anyone but they have a focus on adaptive music lessons, for individuals with disabilities.

Noah’s dad Tony Svokos brought him to class, and said over the years he’s seen his sons confidence grow, his memory get sharper, and he can remember notes and song titles and adapt these skills to his day to day life. Tony says places like this center are essential.

“Like it or not, there is a bit of a stigma still when it comes to special needs kids, kids who have autism. Thankfully, the awareness is growing and there are a lot more programs now. Even at his school he’s got integrated classrooms.”

A lot of Noah’s classmates have grown up around kids with autism Tony says, so they don’t treat them any differently.

“But there are a lot of other places out there who have no contact with kids like this. And it can be nerve wracking sending your kid to a place like that where you’re not sure if they’re going to be accepted, you’re not sure if their insecurities are going to get really, really magnified by negative experiences.”

The music education center started in 2004, co-owner Sarah Jamison tells me. As a graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, she never really pictured her career going down this path, but the students kept her coming back.

“It really brings a lot of light into their lives. There’s a lot of other things they might be struggling with in school or at home and music ends up being something that they’re really good at and that they can be proud of and show off to their friends and family. And that’s probably the best thing about our job is just seeing that.”

Read more here!

The 2017 NAMM Music Education Advocacy Fly-In to Washington, D.C.

Jordan Kitt’s Music was proud to take part in the 2017 NAMM Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In, which was a great success!

Fly In NAMM

The week started with more than 50 NAMM members attending the Day of Service at Jefferson Middle School Academy.

Day of Service

On Tuesday, ninety-eight delegates prepared for their efforts on Capitol Hill by participating in advocacy training at the Newseum and a lunchtime keynote by David Brooks, New York Times columnist and Turnaround Arts artist.

David Brooks

The next day, the Country Music Association, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and three-time World Series winner, Bernie Williams joined NAMM members for a day of advocacy. Over 170 meetings took place with Members of Congress or their staff to advocate for music education.

Riley Williams CAS

(pictured from left to right: former U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley, Jordan Kitt’s Music CEO Chris Syllaba, and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams)

Jordan Kitts Music was once again proud to take advantage of this opportunity to work with NAMM to create a larger and more vibrant presence for music education in schools throughout the country.

For more information, visit NAMM.org