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.

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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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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.

Our Military Kids – $300 Grants at Music Works Academy – Beatrice

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We’re pleased to announce that all of our lessons and classes qualify for the Our Military Kids Fine Arts Grant Program. Eligible participants must be children age 3 – 18 with parent that is a Post 9/11 Combat Injured Veteran or that are currently deployed Reserves or deployed National Guard.
Visit the Our Military Kids website to learn more about how to qualify or contact us to help you in your application process for the Grant.
Visit Our Military Kids Web Site HERE:


How Music Benefits People with Special Needs

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Music has been proven to have numerous benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds, including those with special needs and autism spectrum disorders. At Music Works Academy, we believe in the power of music to transform lives and improve the well-being of individuals, especially those with unique challenges. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of music for special needs children and autism spectrum children.

Improved Communication and Social Skills

One of the primary challenges for children with special needs and autism is communication and socialization. Music has been shown to improve these skills by providing a nonverbal and creative outlet for self-expression. Playing music with others can also promote social interaction and cooperation, and music therapy can help children learn to recognize and respond to social cues.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Research has shown that music can enhance cognitive function in children with special needs and autism, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Learning music can also improve executive functioning skills such as planning, organizing, and multitasking.

Increased Self-Esteem and Confidence

Learning to play a musical instrument or to sing can be a rewarding experience that can boost self-esteem and confidence in children with special needs and autism. Music provides a safe and supportive environment for children to express themselves and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Performing in front of others can also help children overcome shyness and anxiety.

Emotional Regulation and Stress Reduction

Music has a powerful effect on the brain and can help regulate emotions and reduce stress levels. Listening to calming music or playing a musical instrument can be a soothing and therapeutic experience for children with special needs and autism, helping them to manage emotions and reduce anxiety.

Improved Motor Skills and Coordination

Playing a musical instrument requires precise motor skills and coordination, which can be beneficial for children with special needs and autism who may struggle with these skills. Learning to play an instrument or to sing can help improve fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Overall, music has the potential to be a transformative experience for children with special needs and autism spectrum disorders. At Music Works Academy, we offer specialized music programs and lessons that are tailored to the unique needs and abilities of each child. Our experienced teachers are trained in working with children with special needs and are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

We believe that music can play a critical role in improving the quality of life for children with special needs and autism. By providing opportunities for self-expression, social interaction, cognitive development, and emotional regulation, music can help children with special needs and autism reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

If you have a child with special needs or autism spectrum disorder, we encourage you to consider the benefits of music education and to explore the music programs and lessons available at our music school. We have a class called “Little Explorers” for children grades 1 -3 that meets once a month. We are here to support you and your child on your musical journey and to help you discover the transformative power of music.

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.

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