Musical Thinking – 5 Simple Steps To Teaching Children How They Think

What is Musical Thinking?

Musical Thinking is a cognitive empowerment strategy utilizing music, movement, and rhythm that teaches children how they think and learn helping them gain better control over their approach to daily tasks and activities related to learning and behavior.

What are the components of Musical Thinking?

  • Tempo, Rhythm, and Timing
  • Cueing
  • Compositions
  • Cognitive Exercise
  • Direct Instruction
  • Cognitive Conversations
  • The Tools: The Love Notes; Cueing Cards; Story-Telling

Musical Thinking translates learning into musical notes with movement and rhythm to teach children how their brain works and why they need to move to learn. Tapping into their natural curiosity for understanding, Musical Thinking uses musical notes called “The Love Notes” to teach children the cognitive science behind how they learn. Introducing four musical notes and matching the notes with the cognitive processes needed for learning makes schooling meaningful for children. Adding movement, rhythm, and timing makes learning a whole brain process children no longer resist, but enjoy.

Musical Thinking is simple yet robust.  First, we show the children that they are naturally musical with simple marching activities. Then we introduce The Love Notes, showing them how their brains encode, store and retrieve information. Next, we ask the children to creatively apply The Love Notes with rhythm and movement to academic content, self-regulation, or behavior to achieve a desired change in the outcome of their actions. By providing children the opportunity to collaborate in the learning process, children are empowered to improve their thinking, attention, impulsivity, and problem-solving skills leading to better learning and behavior. Written for ages 6-12, we have used the concepts with children age 3 to adults age 80.

In Musical Thinking: 5 Simple Steps To Teaching Children How They Think, Dr. Kenney provides the five step method she uses in clinical practice to teach children how their executive functions work.  Using music, play, activities and collaborative education, Dr. Kenney helps children gain confidence in their thinking skills by showing them how to improve their attention, sequencing, memory, behavior and learning.”

Purchase the Musical Thinking full color digital book with printables for immediate download here.

Musical Thinking Quick Start CoverMusical Thinking 5 Simple Steps - Step 1Musical Thinking HALF NOTEMusical Thinking REST NOTE web

Having worked with hundreds of children on the development and application of executive function skills, Dr. Kenney found that, many children benefited from laying down a “scaffold of cognitive skills” on which they could layer their academic learning and knowledge.

Musical Thinking Brief Overview

Written to engage children to become masters of their learning, Musical Thinking: 5 Simple Steps To Teaching Children How They Think makes the cognitive processes that underlie thinking “transparent” to the students by providing direct instruction regarding what executive function skills are, how to develop them and when and how we use them.

STEP 1: Teach children how their brains work

STEP 2: Teach children how to sequence and organize their thoughts and actions

STEP 3: Teach the children to encode in half-notes and retrieve information in quarter notes

STEP 4: Introduce The Love Notes to bring music, tempo, rhythm and thinking alive for them

STEP 5: Apply The Love Notes to real life experiences such as learning new content, managing their behavior, enhancing their self-regulation and becoming empowered to think and behave in a new way

Musical Thinking helps children:

  • Understand Executive Function skills such as planning, previewing, sequencing, attending, prioritizing, organizing, inhibiting and task execution
  • Learn academic content such as math facts, vocabulary, spelling, reading and factual knowledge requiring memorization, through movement and music
  • Shift behavior by managing impulses and actions with better planning, previewing, and inhibition
  • Manage frustration, agitation, anxiety, and anger by learning how the brain works
  • Communicate with others in a pro-social manner

This book applies cognitive science, kinesiology, and music research to make learning more interactive and fun. In this full-color digital book (immediate download) you will find reproducible pages of cognitive activities, rhythm activities and the printable Musical Thinking Quartet – The Love Notes.

Prefer the book in Print – Find it on Amazon or Unhooked Books.

Looking for 70 Play Activities? Find it Here as well. 

“We aim to improve the trajectory of children’s learning and behavior by teaching them the science behind how they think.” Lynne Kenney, PsyD