In an era where children are learning academic content earlier than in the past, the ability to creatively problem solve with cognitive flexibility, focused attention and self-control has never been more important. Having worked with hundreds of children on the development and application of executive function skills, we have found that when we teach children “how they think” not simply what to think they become empowered learners.  

Early in my work as a psychologist in schools and clinics, I heard students told to alter their behavior with words like, “Just slow down,” “Think it out,” and “Use your creative problem solving skills,” only to see the children look up bewilderedly. It struck me that we often tell children what to do without telling them how to do it.

This results in children who become disorganized thinkers, using trial and error to try to meet the expectations of teachers, parents and those whom they love. In an effort to empower the children to become masters of their actions, we began to make 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. We interacted and played with hundreds of children applying cognitive science, kinesiology and music research to make learning more interactive and fun. We observed over and over again, that when children were:

  1. Taught how their brain works

  2. Taught some foundational executive function skills

  3. Provided an opportunity to move not sit

  4. Asked to collaborate in the creation of better learning methods

  5. Introduced to tempo, rhythm and timing to enhance their executive functions


Musical Thinking Quick Start Cover


How is Musical Thinking Musical?

Over time, our approach became Musical Thinking, a cognitive empowerment strategy utilizing music, rhythm, and movement 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. Our digital book about Musical Thinking, Musical Thinking -The Quick Start Manual is available now.

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