The Science behind Music and MR PIWI
By using music, we can engage and strengthen these mental powers, which in turn makes us better learners at anything we attempt to learn.
Music that is learned as a child is stored in the brain in an area that is the last to degenerate. Songs you learn as a child you will take with you to the grave, even if you remember nothing else. By repeatedly singing the lessons in Honeysuckle Cottage, the lessons become permanent.
There have been many scientific studies that show a link between music and language learning. Early music training before age seven has been shown to increase the number of words a child can remember. Other studies have shown that music training for preschoolers can help them in later years in areas of mathematics and science skills.
Music is so powerful that it can make us see things that are not even there! Music affects us emotionally and it can be a valuable tool in helping children overcome emotional blocks to learning. Music can be a mood shifter and can help children achieve small learning goals easily. These small victories can encourage a child, who then becomes ready both academically and emotionally to progress.
Music can help children relax and enjoy creative thinking, new ideas and tackling new skills.
Because music engages both our physical senses as well as “MR PIWI” (the higher mental skills), music can help a child maintain focus on the material and move new information into longterm memory.
An interesting study from Stanford University in 2007 showed that music literally lights up our entire brain. It “primes the brain to pay attention”. Music helps us to understand our feelings and to interpret the world around us.
What makes music so valuable for the young learner?
Through the simple songs in Honeysuckle Cottage, the children can learn not only vocabulary words but also study other subjects such as science and mathematics. Listening skills as well as communication skills are being developed.
By giving children a chance to ignite their imagination, they can learn to express their opinions and ideas about the books and songs. Children are naturally drawn to music and rhythm, so the lesson becomes very engaging for them.
The words to the songs in Honeysuckle Cottage were carefully crafted to help young learners understand the stressed words in a sentence and to understand the rise and fall of words within a sentence. English is a musical language, and music is the natural vehicle to carry young learners through a successful lesson.
Babies will turn to the sound of music and young learners will naturally move to the beat of a rhythm. When that natural response to rhythm is combined with vocabulary and patterned sentences, learning becomes intuitive.
One of the key factors for a healthy self-esteem is a sense of belonging. Music offers an excellent opportunity to connect with the group, with the teacher and with their own ideas, feelings and emotions.
The Power of Music
The easiest way of creating a harmonious balance of the mind and body for young learners is through music.
In the area of the body, music moves our bodies. We are the only creatures on the planet that move to the beat of music. Some birds and animals can be trained in this, but in humans, it is an inborn “gift”. When children incorporate gestures and movement into their learning, they are in the process of active learning.
In the area of the mind, music can relax us and help us to enjoy learning. New progressive ideas can flow. Music-based learning moves us to be more open and positive.
The word enthusiasm comes from the greek words “en theos”, which means in God (in Spirit, in the power of the universe). We have amazing powers which we can tap into, and music serves as a bridge to help you strengthen and engage these amazing mental powers.
And once again you have become HAPPY (Harmonious, Active, Progressive, Positive You).
The Magic of Music
Music offers an abundance of learning opportunities for youngsters. When we look at the the word “music”, we begin to understand its possibilities. The most common definition, coined by Edgard Varese, is “organized sound” ; however, the Greek meaning of the word shows the real possibilities of music.
In ancient Greece, the word mousike was used to mean any of the arts or sciences governed by the Muses. In the European middle ages, musica was part of the four essential subjects of mathematics. These four subjects were arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. The preparatory work was grammar, logic and rhetoric (speaking). These seven arts comprised the liberal arts education of the Renaissance and is the basis of liberal arts education as we know it. Music was considered to be one of the keys to unlocking the world around them.
In addition to using their physical bodies to learn, young learners also use their mental powers to explore the world around them. These mental powers are our “superpowers” and they are Memory, Reason, Perception, Imagination, Will and Intuition. I have given these powers the nickname MR PIWI™ to stand for each of these “superpowers”. Developing these mental abilities is crucial for becoming a successful HAPPY learner. Processing information from the mind and incorporating it into physical learning is top down learning, going from the mind to the body.
MR PIWI (Memory, Reason, Perception, Imagination, Will, Intuition)
When young learners have an idea, they can call on “MR PIWI” to give them the information they need to successfully explore the world and to solve any challenges along the way.
Honeysuckle Cottage uses music as a bridge between these two learning processes and can help young learners connect both methods of processing information. When these learning tools are combined, you create a “star”, a HAPPY LEARNER.
How the HAPPY Learning Process Works
Part one of the Happy Learning process is "Bottom Up" learning, moving from the physical body to the mind. Young learners naturally use their physical bodies to learn. They explore the world with their five senses and by movement. Young learners especially like to learn by using their hands. Honeysuckle Cottage utilizes this tactile learning with built in games such as flaps to open, a spinner, stickers and cards. It also utilizes movement and gestures to reinforce meanings of words in a physical way. This is learning from physical to mental or bottom up learning. When young learners have an idea, they want to express it in a physical way, for example sing a song, do a dance, draw a picture, or have a pretend game about it. They want to make their idea physical. Tomorrow let's take a look at the opposite way of learaning, "Top Down Learning". See you tomorrow!
The Steps to HAPPY Learning (I'M HAPPY)
We can start the creative learning engine by engaging the imagination. Show the children the cover to the book and ask some questions.
Enjoy the rhythm, the instruments and the beat of the music to help your child intuit what the book is about.
Once their imagination is sparked, let the children hear the song and see the images. We use our ears to hear, but we think in images. As the children hear the song, they can understand the meanings of the words through the simple images in the book.
Young children are naturally active and want to touch things, spin things, open things, and move things. Each book in Honeysuckle Cottage has a game designed to engage the physical senses and to build learning skills such as memory, deductive thinking, perception, imagination, concentration and predicting.
The next step is to repeat the key words so that the
child knows how to correctly say the key words. By listening to and repeating the Cool Key Words track, the child can become familiar with the key words and can start
to sing along.
Gestures and movement are a great tool for helping children understand the meanings of the words. By turning each book into a performance with music, words and movement, confidence is gained and the child learns how to harmonize the mind with the body. A little performance, which can be as simple as a morning song time, can be a small goal that every child can successfully achieve.
We all grow up hearing “Practice makes perfect.” Unfortunately, this is not true. Practice makes permanent or as the famous football coach, Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Correct repetition is key to learning any skill whether it be football, playing the piano or learning to read. By reviewing the music, words, games, and images often and finding creative ways to explore Honeysuckle Cottage, your child will be well on his or her way to HAPPY LEARNING THROUGH MUSIC.
Tomorrow, let's get into How the Happy Learning Process Works.
Recipe for a HAPPY Learner
Here is the English Garden’s recipe for children who say, “I’M HAPPY”.
In this blog, we will use these ingredients to explore the concepts of each book. The activities are varied and can be made age appropriate. Some activities are designed for children as young as two years of age and some can be enjoyed by children as old as ten. Please pick and choose the activities that will make Honeysuckle Cottage come alive for your child.
What does a HAPPY Learner look like?
A HAPPY learner can be tall or short, boy or girl, or any nationality. A Happy Learner is a Harmonious, Active, Progressive, Positive, You! Anyone can become a HAPPY learner at anytime, in any place.
Tomorrow let’s explore the Steps to HAPPY Learning.
Happy Learning is a journey that lasts for a lifetime. It is a journey of discovery, exploration and delight in learning. We begin this journey at birth and we are given all the tools we need to become successful learners. We do, however, need some guides along our stages of growth. The English Garden is a safe, friendly and imaginative place, where young learners can grow. In The English Garden, we begin with Honeysuckle Cottage, where our first character Ruff will be your child’s friend and guide.
Ruff will teach your child many things in a child-friendly, ”HAPPY” way by using music as the primary tool. The result is delightful learning for both children and those who teach them. Learning simple subtraction becomes a musical game of pulling the goats home from Billy Goat Hill with Ruff. Learning about animals becomes a plea for Just One More Pet from Ruff to his mom. By playing make-believe in The Weather Bee, your child can learn how to predict and ask questions. Learning colors and beginning phonics is disguised as a magic show to enchant the imagination. Science lessons become an adventure to hunt for bugs with Ruff. Beneath the fun and games, there are many layers of learning and Honeysuckle Cottage is designed to help your child become a HAPPY LEARNER, who has learned how to learn.
It is my hope that this blog, which will be full of activities and ideas to enhance your English Garden experience, will give you hours of fun and spark ideas of your own on how to make Ruff and Honeysuckle Cottage come alive! If you come across any questions, ideas or comments while exploring Honeysuckle Cottage, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!