Ages 7 – 12: Critical Years for a Successful Future

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When I first entered undergraduate music school in the early 1990’s, the tides were turning as to opinions on when was an appropriate time to put kids into formal music lessons. As a parent or grandparent you may have asked this same question.

Twenty-five years ago when a new student wanted to sign up for voice lessons many teachers would not accept them for voice study until they had reached the mid-teen years/early high school age. This practice is still common today with older generations of voice teachers. We would often suggest that they should take on piano first even though the mother had just said “well, she just sings all the time, we can’t get her to stop so we thought lessons might be a good idea.”

As a newly degreed musician who began teaching like so many of my colleagues (to pay the bills), I welcomed ANY new student that wanted to study voice lessons and I trusted that hopefully I would just “know what to do.” And so young students began to come to me for voice lessons because so many of the teachers had turned them away. As I began teaching this young batch of eager little musicians I found that they were very teachable, they loved having fun and parents loved seeing them having fun and all in all everyone involved was having FUN!!….and this began my teaching career of specializing in teaching music to young musicians. It took a few years for me to get into a groove, learning the ins and outs of working the kids of the 1990’s when YouTube and the internet were in their infancy. Now I’m moving through 2023 with hundreds of kids (and parents) and tens of thousands of music lessons under my belt.

Science and the brain

Our knowledge and understanding of music and the brain over the past 25 years has helped us to learn and accept the fact that kids should be involved with the study of music as much as possible from infancy to adulthood and beyond. Music enriches our health, our happiness and benefits our lives in so many positive ways that we would being doing a dis-service in 2023 to say a child was “too young to study music“. They may be too young for certain instruments and they may be too young for advanced study for example in voice training but we know now that we’re never too young (or too old) to study music in its many vast and adaptable forms.

woman playing piano during rehearsal in music hall
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So what really are we teaching in these formative years from ages 7 – 12?

The answer to that is all of the foundational aspects of musical success and how to be successful in life. Music is SO complex! To really study an instrument; to really become good at making music takes years and decades. Musicians are NEVER done learning music. We live for perfecting one thing and then move on to another song or another level of difficulty. This is what drives us; we are never satisfied with stagnancy.

We’re laying the building blocks of the foundation of musical education. What we’re teaching is so complex that our most successful students are often those we start teaching around these ages. They are excited, they are easily motivated and inspired, as a rule they absorb the complexities of music easily and willingly. They are easily transitioned to new kinds of music and new songs and new concepts. It’s easy for us to teach routines and schedules and time management. We teach them solid musical foundations in many areas like rhythm, notes, music history and terms and signs. We begin teaching the mathematics of music; addition, patterns, themes. We’re teaching them how to be students of music; how to respect the activity of learning music and to appreciate the process of hard work. We’re building self-esteem, motivation, self discipline and confidence little by little each week.

We’re teaching them how to accept constructive criticism as part of the growth process. We’re teaching them focus and how to face fears and push through challenges and to never give up. When the brain and body are at maximum frustration or maximum disappointment we teach them to “start again”…..over and over we say “it’s ok, you’re getting it,….start again”. And we’re teaching them that music is a life long learning activity that you can choose to study and improve at for years to come. All of these qualities make good and successful performers and musicians and ALL of these qualities spill over into the rest of their lives.

I work with students for the long haul, 5-10 successive years of lessons is my average. I weave the fabric of music into their lives, week after week, year after year. My students have gone on to become lawyers, doctors, NASA scientists, German opera singers, teachers, composers doctors of music, rock stars in China, pharmacists, social workers, speech pathologists, and Broadway singers just to name a few. The formative years for a child between the ages of 7 – 12 are a great time to introduce your child to the life changing and amazing benefits of music classes and lessons.

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students full time and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

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The Impact of Music Study on College-Bound High School Seniors

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a close up shot of mortarboards

As high school seniors approach the pivotal stage of transitioning to college, it’s essential to recognize the profound benefits of music study in shaping their journey toward scholarship auditions, college acceptance, and overall success in higher education. Music education empowers college-bound seniors, enhancing their chances of securing scholarships, thriving in college, and achieving academic excellence across various disciplines.

  1. Enhanced Cognitive Abilities: Music study cultivates a range of cognitive skills that extend beyond the realm of music itself. By engaging in the intricacies of rhythm, melody, and harmony, students develop improved memory, attention span, and critical thinking abilities. These enhanced cognitive skills can be transferred to other academic areas, enabling college-bound seniors to excel in scholarship auditions, entrance exams, and rigorous college coursework.
  2. Discipline and Time Management: The pursuit of musical proficiency demands discipline, commitment, and effective time management skills. Music students learn the value of consistent practice, setting goals, and managing their time effectively to meet deadlines and balance their academic responsibilities. These invaluable skills carry over into the college environment, empowering students to excel in coursework, extracurricular activities, and other commitments.
  3. Performance Experience and Confidence: Participating in music ensembles and performing in front of an audience builds confidence and fosters stage presence. These experiences develop public speaking skills, poise, and the ability to handle pressure. Such attributes are crucial during scholarship auditions and college interviews, helping students present themselves with confidence and authenticity. Additionally, the self-assurance gained through music study permeates other aspects of academic life, promoting classroom participation, leadership roles, and overall success in college and higher education.
  4. Teamwork and Collaboration: Music education often involves ensemble performances that require teamwork, collaboration, and effective communication. By working together with fellow musicians, students learn to listen, adapt, and contribute to a unified artistic vision. These skills are highly transferable to group projects, academic collaborations, and extracurricular activities in college. Students with music experience possess the ability to work harmoniously within diverse teams, fostering a cooperative and inclusive environment in school and the work place.
  5. Emotional Well-Being: Music provides a medium for emotional expression and self-reflection. Through music study, students develop well rounded skills and possess the ability to understand and connect with others. These qualities contribute to personal well-being and social interactions in college. Music also serves as a stress reliever, offering an outlet for self-care and a way to balance the demands of academic life. Those seniors equipped with stress management skills are better equipped to navigate the challenges of college and are able to excel academically.

Music study has far-reaching benefits for high school students, positively influencing scholarship auditions, college acceptance, and success in higher education. By developing discipline, confidence, and teamwork skills, music education equips students with a robust foundation for academic achievement and personal growth. As they embark on their college journey, students with music experience possess a unique set of skills and qualities that make them better equipped to thrive in a diverse range of academic disciplines and extracurricular pursuits. The power of music resonates beyond the classroom, harmonizing success and helping to shape well-rounded individuals prepared to excel in college and beyond.

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here:

The Power of Music in Child Development: Ages 3-6

music for children ages 3 -6

Music has a profound impact on a child’s development, and the early years, specifically ages 3 to 6, are a critical period for fostering various skills and abilities. From cognitive and language development to emotional expression and social skills, music offers a myriad of benefits that shape young minds and lay a solid foundation for future growth.

  1. Cognitive Development: Engaging with music at a young age stimulates various areas of the brain, promoting cognitive development. Music can enhance memory, attention span, and problem-solving abilities. Children exposed to music often exhibit improved spatial-temporal skills, which are crucial for mathematical and scientific thinking. By listening to and playing music, children develop pattern recognition, sequencing skills, and a sense of timing, fostering their overall cognitive abilities.
  2. Language and Communication Skills: Music and language are closely intertwined. Exposing children to music helps develop their listening skills and promotes phonological awareness, making it easier for them to grasp language patterns and develop speech. Singing songs, rhyming, and engaging in musical activities enhance vocabulary, phonetic recognition, and language comprehension. Music provides a rhythmic structure that aids in language acquisition and expression, strengthening communication skills and setting the stage for future literacy success.
  3. Emotional Expression and Self-Regulation: Music has a powerful impact on emotions. It provides a means for children to express their feelings, develop empathy, and understand the emotions of others. Singing, dancing, and playing instruments allow children to explore different moods and express themselves creatively. Additionally, music can help children regulate their emotions, providing a soothing and comforting outlet. Learning to identify and manage emotions through music fosters emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-awareness, all essential aspects of healthy social-emotional development.
  4. Social and Motor Skills: Participating in music activities in a group setting cultivates essential social skills. It encourages collaboration, turn-taking, active listening, and cooperation. Singing and dancing together promote a sense of community and belonging. Furthermore, playing musical instruments enhances fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity. Actions like clapping, tapping, and dancing to music develop coordination and spatial awareness. Through music, children learn to work together, share, and communicate effectively, strengthening their social and motor skills.

The early years of a child’s life provide a unique window of opportunity for music’s positive impact on development. From cognitive abilities and language skills to emotional expression and social interactions, music plays a crucial role in shaping well-rounded individuals. By incorporating music into the lives of children aged 3 to 6, we nurture their cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and social growth and we better prepare them for the adventures they will have in Preschool and Kindergarten. Whether through listening, singing, or playing instruments, the power of music paves the way for a brighter future, unleashing creativity, fostering self-confidence, and providing a lifelong appreciation for the universal language of melody and rhythm.

Click Here for our little Pioneers Music and Movement class for ages 3 -6

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here:

Meet our Team: Ginger Hunt – Yoga & Wellness

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Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness Coach

Ginger Hunt studied plant science at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln which gave her a full science background. Later, she completed dental assisting in an associate dental program. Today, she’s empowering others with her insight on how she brought ease to her life with yoga and meditation and embodying practices to live her best life.  She specializes in the use of the limbs of yoga and advanced knowledge in physics, neuroscience, and biology to help individuals achieve optimal wellness, health and healing.  

She’s an advanced student of the teaching of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Advanced Student of Meditation transformative workshops. She is also certified in teaching Yoga to kids as well as coping methods for dealing with PTSD, depression and anxiety.

She works to attain with her students freedom in the mind and body, less physical pain, clearing blocks in the mind and body, finding coherence in the brain and heart, improved health, inner peace, balance in the in the autonomic nervous system, joy, expressing positive mind and body energy.

She’s empowering others with her insight on how she brought ease to her life with her easy to read books which are available below on Amazon or in her classes.

Meet Our Team: Emily Rose

A native of Abingdon, Virginia, Emily Rose completed her Bachelor’s studies at Appalachian State University where she received degrees in both Clarinet Performance & K-12 Instrumental Music Education. Currently, she is pursuing a DMA in Clarinet Performance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she completed her Master’s previously.

Emily has performed throughout Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, Nebraska, and New Mexico in various solo, chamber, and new music ensembles. She has been a featured soloist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, performer at both the Women Composers Festival of Hartford and the John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium, and Second Place winner of the Romantic Music category in the Charleston International Music Competition. 

As a performer, Emily advocates and performs new music compositions in hopes to bolster collaborations with composers and other various media forms. Her most recent escapades have included designing and creating visual media for Fantasy compositions and serving as Chair of the Membership and Development Committee for the International Clarinet Association.

Emily is available for private clarinet and saxophone lessons and also teaches our Music and Art Class and Preschool Music.

Uncovering Learning Disabilities and ADHD in Music Lessons

adhd text
group of children playing on green grass

Music lessons can be an incredible avenue for personal growth and self-expression for individuals of all ages. However, it’s essential to recognize that some students may face additional challenges such as learning disabilities or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Let’s explore how these conditions can be discovered during the music lesson process and discuss strategies to support students with such challenges, ensuring an inclusive and empowering learning environment.

  1. Observing Behavioral Patterns: During music lessons, attentive teachers can often observe various behavioral patterns that may indicate the presence of a learning disability or ADHD. These patterns may include difficulties with sustaining focus, impulsivity, difficulty following instructions, or struggles with coordination. By keenly observing these behaviors, music educators can identify potential learning challenges and initiate appropriate interventions.
  2. Communication and Collaboration: Building strong relationships with students and their parents is crucial for identifying and addressing learning disabilities or ADHD. Open lines of communication allow parents to share their concerns and provide valuable insights about their child’s unique learning needs. Collaborating with parents, teachers, and other professionals involved in the student’s education can help create an effective support system to tailor music lessons to their individual requirements.
  3. Adaptation and Differentiation: One of the strengths of music education is its inherent flexibility. Music teachers can adapt teaching methods to accommodate diverse learning styles and address specific challenges faced by students with learning disabilities or ADHD. Utilizing multi sensory techniques, breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps, and providing visual aids can enhance understanding and engagement. Differentiating lesson materials and providing additional support resources can further empower students to overcome challenges and thrive in their musical journey.
  4. Patience and Encouragement: Students with learning disabilities or ADHD may face unique frustrations and setbacks in their music lessons. Patience, understanding, and encouragement are vital in helping them navigate these challenges. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, music educators can boost students’ self-confidence, motivation, and overall well-being. Celebrating small victories and providing constructive feedback can inspire their progress and instill a sense of accomplishment.

    The music lesson process can serve as a platform for discovering and addressing learning disabilities and ADHD in students. By keenly observing behavioral patterns, maintaining open communication with parents, and implementing adaptation strategies, music educators can create an inclusive and empowering learning environment.

    Through patience, encouragement, and collaboration, students with learning challenges can unlock their musical potential, develop new skills, and experience the numerous benefits that music education offers. By embracing and supporting the diverse needs of all students, we can ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue their passion for music and achieve personal growth and artistic fulfillment.

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here:

Is Your Child Ready for Formal Music Lessons? A Guide for Parents

photo of a toddler playing a ukulele
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As a parent, you want the best for your child, and exploring their interest in music is an excellent opportunity for growth and self-expression. But how do you know if your child is ready for formal music lessons? It’s important to consider various factors to ensure a positive and rewarding experience for your little musician. Let’s look at some key indicators that can help you determine if your child is ready to embark on a formal music education journey.

  1. Interest and Passion: The first and most crucial factor to consider is your child’s genuine interest and passion for music. Does your child show enthusiasm when listening to music or playing with musical toys? Do they exhibit a curiosity about different instruments or enjoy singing along to their favorite songs? Genuine interest is a strong indicator that your child may be ready for formal music lessons.
  2. Attention Span and Focus: Music lessons require concentration and focused attention. Consider your child’s ability to sit still and engage in a structured activity for a reasonable amount of time. While young children may have shorter attention spans, a willingness to concentrate and follow instructions demonstrates readiness for more formal instruction. If your child can sustain focus for a reasonable period and enjoys activities that require attentiveness, they may be prepared for music lessons.
  3. Physical Development: Before starting formal music lessons, it’s essential to assess your child’s physical development. For instance, playing certain instruments may require fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and finger dexterity. If your child is adept at manipulating objects, enjoys puzzles or crafts that involve precise movements, and shows good motor control, they may be physically ready to handle an instrument.
  4. Emotional Maturity: Music lessons can be challenging, especially when faced with new concepts or techniques. Emotional maturity plays a vital role in dealing with frustration, setbacks, and the dedication required to improve. Observe how your child handles disappointment or constructive criticism. Do they exhibit perseverance, resilience, and a willingness to practice? Emotional readiness is a valuable trait that can contribute to a successful music education journey.
  5. Reading Ability: Music is such an interesting subject: in music we teach many parts of things like language, emotion, expression, story telling, math, logistics, movement, memorization, listening, and focus. The study of music touches every aspect of the human experience. Children that have already started to read and that know their ABC’s, their left and right sides of the body and that have began to count correctly and understand counting are generally ready for a private music lesson where they work one on one with a teacher to learn an instrument and the basic foundations of music.

While every child develops at their own pace, considering these factors can help you gauge your child’s readiness for formal music lessons. By observing their interest, attention span, physical development, and emotional maturity, you can make an informed decision about embarking on this musical journey together. Remember, the goal is to nurture their love for music while fostering their personal and artistic growth. Engaging in music lessons can provide them with a creative outlet, enhance cognitive abilities, and teach discipline and perseverance. So, if your child exhibits these signs of readiness, it may be the perfect time to explore formal music education and unlock their musical potential.

What if your child is young, shows an interest in music but is not yet at a reading level? There’s great news! It’s not too early for them to begin their own explorations in music. This is a great time to enroll them in our Little Pioneers Music and Movement Classes where we engage with music in a different way to help prepare kids for entering school. These classes help to build early educational foundations with a lot of fun where family members can participate too!


music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here:

Meet our Team: Lisa Oltmans – Guitar

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Simple Gifts performed by Gunnar Gonzales-Dorn and Lisa Oltmans – May 2023
Music Works Academy – Beatrice

HADLEY HAVEN – University of nebraska – Omaha


The Harmonious Path to Success: How Music Study Boosts Children’s Academic Achievement and Social Well-being

a girl playing a ukulele while smiling

In a world filled with endless opportunities for our children, it is essential to equip them with the tools they need to thrive academically and socially. One such powerful tool is the study of music. Music education goes beyond the realm of melodies and rhythms; it has been proven to have a profound impact on children’s success in school and their overall social well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the remarkable benefits that music study provides, enabling children to flourish academically and cultivate meaningful connections with others.

  1. Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement: Engaging in music study enhances children’s cognitive abilities, leading to improved academic performance. Learning to play an instrument involves reading sheet music, recognizing patterns, and understanding complex musical structures. These cognitive processes stimulate the brain, enhancing critical thinking skills, spatial-temporal abilities, and mathematical reasoning. Numerous studies have shown a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement in subjects like math, language arts, and science. By developing a strong foundation in music, children strengthen their overall cognitive skills, enabling them to excel academically in a wide range of subjects.

  2. Discipline, Focus, and Time Management: Music study instills discipline, focus, and effective time management skills in children. Learning an instrument requires consistent practice, setting goals, and adhering to a practice schedule. As students strive to master musical pieces, they develop the ability to concentrate for extended periods, resist distractions, and persevere through challenges. These valuable skills transfer to other areas of their lives, enabling them to excel in school assignments and extracurricular activities. Moreover, music study teaches children the importance of prioritization and managing their time effectively, as they balance their academic workload with practice sessions and other commitments.
  3. Emotional Intelligence and Social Well-being: Music has a unique ability to tap into our emotions, and music study cultivates emotional intelligence in children. Through music, children learn to recognize and express a wide range of emotions, which fosters empathy and understanding. Additionally, participating in group music activities, such as playing in an ensemble or joining a choir, nurtures social skills and promotes a sense of belonging. Collaborating with peers in music rehearsals and performances fosters teamwork, communication, and mutual respect. These experiences develop valuable social skills that extend beyond the music classroom, enabling children to form meaningful connections and navigate social interactions with confidence and empathy.
  4. Confidence and Self-expression: Music study provides children with a platform for self-expression, boosting their confidence and self-esteem. As children learn to play an instrument or sing, they gain a sense of accomplishment with each milestone they achieve. Public performances and recitals further enhance their confidence as they showcase their skills and receive positive feedback from their peers and teachers. The ability to express themselves through music allows children to develop a strong sense of identity and empowers them to share their unique voices with the world.

Music study is an invaluable investment in children’s academic success and social well-being. Through music education, children develop cognitive skills, discipline, and focus, which translate into improved academic performance. Moreover, music study nurtures emotional intelligence, social skills, and self-expression, providing children with a solid foundation for success in both their academic and social lives. Enrich your child’s journey with the transformative power of music, unlocking their full potential and paving the way for a harmonious future.

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here: