Kids Music Day is an annual celebration that has been taking place since October 2016; it is mostly concentrated in the United States and Canada, but more parents and educators around the world are recognizing the importance of setting aside one day to spread awareness about the benefits of early music education. As can be imagined, all staff members at Prodigies Music are excited about the Kids Music Day initiative, which this year will be observed on Friday, October 2; for this reason, we are pleased to bring you some relevant information and thoughts.
Keep Music Alive is the non-profit organization that proposed Kids Music Day. The mission of this group is simple: Promoting the intrinsic and highly important value of music in our lives, starting with our children. To this effect, the supporting activities organized by Keep Music Alive are:
- Kids Music Day, which is observed on the first Friday of October.
- Teach Music Week, which in 2020 was celebrated from March 16 to 22.
- Forging partnerships with music schools, shops, and other non-profits for the purpose of providing free education and discounts.
- Organizing regional events to promote awareness of early musical education.
As of September 2020, the board members of Keep Music Alive included:
- Vincent James: Founder and president.
- Joann Pierdomenico: Co-founder and executive director.
- Julianna Pierdomenico: Composer and member of the Hofstra University alumni.
- Nate Richards: Music teacher at the Garnet Valley School District of Pennsylvania.
- Morgan Lunn: Senior vice president of wealth management at PNC.
Although Kids Music Day is a relatively new activity, it has been gaining attention steadily over the last couple of years.
The Basis for Kids Music Day
In essence, Kids Music Day aims to recognize and celebrate the various benefits children can derive from music education. This celebration is not meant to act as a stepping stone towards a professional music career, although we will always be pleased to learn about young learners who end up pursuing this goal in the future. To a great extent, music education can be compared to school athletic programs such as team sports. Let’s look at the success of girls’ soccer programs in the United States: The National Women’s Soccer League, which plays at the highest professional level, has nine clubs. The player roster for each club ranges between 20 and 25 members; this means that the number of spots for female soccer players to reach this level is very limited and highly competitive. Not all participants of girls’ soccer programs will make it to the professional level, but this does not take away from the love of the game, nor does it diminish the importance of participation.
Pedagogic researchers have determined three main benefits of early musical education. Let’s review these benefits so that we can better understand what Kids Music Day celebrates:
The social benefit is the one most parents are familiar with, and it boils down to building self-esteem and confidence, particularly with regard to performance. Music elicits emotions, and a structured music learning environment promotes management of emotions.
The cognitive development benefit is undeniable, and it is the one that the Prodigies Music program mainly focuses on. The few public school curricula that still teach music theory do so in a way that is not really fun for children. When young learners go through Prodigies Music, they can sing, play, and hand-sign notes for the purpose of injecting a dose of practical reality to the abstraction of music theory. Successful professionals in the fields of science, architecture, and even medicine will tell you that music has been an important aspect of their career development. You probably know that surgeons often play classical music in the operating room, and there are strong reasons for this. Jazz legend John Coltrane got into abstract mathematics through his mastery of chord progression. Basically, learning music can spark a fire in the minds of young students.
The academic development benefit is similar to the one described above. It is no secret that young students who obtain music scholarships often qualify for academic scholarships as well. Many linguists will tell you that mastery of music equates to mastery of speech. Self-expression through music composition, for example, is very similar to putting words on paper or delivering engaging speeches; the tenets of melody, rhythm, and harmony all apply to written, spoken, and musical expressions.
With all the above in mind, we can see that the reasons we should celebrate Kids Music Day are more than valuable. While we can certainly hope that our children will one day become musicians on the level of Ella Fitzgerald, John Williams, or Vanessa Mae, this is purely secondary at this point because the benefits of early music educations are simply too powerful to pass up.
What Happens During Kids Music Day
Celebrating Kids Music Day means putting together special events for children at music shops, schools, and other places. In previous years, there have been special performances by famous ambassadors such as Canadian chanteuse Sarah McLachlan and former baseball star Bernie Williams, who went from the New York Yankees to being nominated for the Grammy Awards in the Latin jazz category.
You can expect everything from free music lessons to special discounts on instruments and from open mic sessions to music workshops at participating locations. To find out a Kids Music Day location for your part of the world, head over to the Keep Music Alive website and enter your zip code in the locator page. In 2019, nearly 750 locations across the United States celebrated Kids Music Day; the goal of reaching one thousand locations will soon be accomplished.
Kids Music Day During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Unfortunately, Kids Music Day will have to unfold a little differently in 2020 because many areas of the U.S. are still observing social distancing restrictions in order to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Check the Keep Music Alive website for scheduled digital streams of performances, virtual open mic sessions, and online workshops.
You can also get in touch with the participating locations in your area to learn about how they will celebrate Kids Music Day; some may open to the public in regions where local health officials have relaxed restrictions, but please be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a surgical or cloth mask. Needless to say, children should also wear personal protective equipment as dictated by local health guidelines.
For this year’s celebration, television and Broadway actor Matthew Morrison will be the official spokesperson of Keep Music Alive. Even though Morrison has mostly worked in television studios and on theatrical stages, his introduction to show business was made possible by early music education. He has recorded a few studio albums including one released by Walt Disney Records in the midst of the pandemic.
It is important to remember that Kids Music Day is expanding. Parents and children who feel that the coronavirus pandemic has diminished the impact of the celebration because of social distancing should keep in mind that Teach Music Week is scheduled for March 2021, and there is a good chance that things will have improved considerably in terms of treatments and even immunization against COVID-19. There will be many more Kids Music Days to celebrate in the future, and they will be packed with special events such as “instrument petting zoos” like the one organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year in Cleveland.
At Prodigies Music, we believe that any day is a good day to celebrate musical education. You can never be too early to start teaching your children about music; even playing classical music to babies developing in utero has been shown to have positive effects in terms of cognitive development and emotional response.