🎶 This week’s newsletter is focused on music education. There are so many wonderful kids' podcasts in this category. I’ve broken them out by age, starting with the younger listeners, though most are perfect for the whole family. I learned so much about the benefits of music for child development while putting together this list.
First, music education helps kids develop stronger hand-and-eye coordination, language development, memory, study habits, and problem-solving. Second, research shows that kids' brains develop faster when they are exposed to music. Third, music in schools (or as part of kids' education), helps keep kids engaged and develops creative thinking, among dozens of other benefits.
🎵 Music educator Elizabeth Nixon created Clap for Classics, an online music education program that provides caregivers and families with an easy-to-use curriculum and a library of musical play activity guides. In addition to the online program, Elizabeth launched a podcast. In each episode, Elizabeth and her co-host Forte the Lion, teach listeners musical play activities and games inspired by classical music. Most episodes are about 10 minutes and encourage the use of movement and props like rhythm sticks, scarves, pillows, and whole bodies! The website has wonderful resources for parents and caregivers looking to introduce more music education into their homes or classrooms.
🎵 Lingokids: Music to Our Ears was created by the popular children’s language app Lingo Kids. The show is created for kids under 8 and incorporates music with learning exercises to help develop kids' curiosity. Lingo Kids, known for its interactive play learning, incorporates this philosophy into its podcast. In a recent episode, the focus is on new languages, why learning one can be fun, and the magic of discovering new cultures and traditions. The song “where are you from” shares the uniqueness of each location in the song and teaches listeners what they might experience in each place.
🎵 Noodle Loaf is designed for the preschool and younger elementary crowd, but families and kids of all ages will find themselves quickly sucked into the shows' catchy songs and silly segments. It's not uncommon to catch the grownups in our house quietly singing, "I am a lonely T-Rex..." while making coffee in the morning. The show is the brainchild of music educator and host Dan Saks and is a long-time favorite kids’ podcast, with 100 shows all about 10 minutes long. Listeners are encouraged to get involved, whether through echoing songs, drawing segments, or lending their voices to the Noodle Loaf choir. This show is probably not new to most of you. It has been around since 2018, which is almost ancient for a kids' podcast. For those of you learning about this show for the first time, there are so many awesome offerings from Dan including:
📚 A series of his books celebrating families
👕 Noodle Loaf Merch
🎶 2 volumes of his echo songs from the show
Volume 2 of Dan's echo songs has just been nominated for an EMMY which is pretty epic! This show is a great example of why kids' podcast creators are the best. They all sound like they are genuinely having so MUCH fun! Elementary Audiences
🎵 Classical Sprouts is a classical music education show hosted by Emmy-award-winning Kate Botello at Interlochen Public Radio. Episodes are about 20 minutes long and are packed with whimsical details about everything from the history of the bagpipes to the music of the Middle East. Botello goes deep into each topic in a fun way that helps kids ears understand the complexities of classical music and its roots. If you’re looking for a light and accessible way to expose your kids to a wide range of classics, add this to your playlist today!
🎵 The Music Podcast for Kids, created by elementary music educators Mr. Henry and Mr. Fite, is a great show for kids to learn about different styles and genres of music from around the world. The podcast has over 100 episodes where the duo interview musicians, dive into the history of music genres, and teach listeners about instruments and sounds from around the world. Each episode incorporates listening challenges, the music word-and-joke of the day.
To complement the podcast, Mr. Henry and Mr. Fite have included educator resources on their website and have also created a YouTube channel with a few dozen videos. The musician interviews are really great and appropriate for all ages but may lose the attention of your youngest listeners.
🎵 The Music Box, hosted by Kiana Del and Fiona Palensky and produced by Louisville Public Radio, has been running since 2017. Each episode comes with transcripts, printable lesson plans, and links to additional resources. In a recent episode, Kiana and Fiona take listeners through what it means to be a music therapist and how music affects your brain. Another episode explores the business of music production and goes behind the scenes of being a music producer. The website is well categorized by episode and topic.
Most show episodes are created for elementary-aged kids, but occasionally a show will note that its topic is meant for middle grades or high schoolers. Keep an eye on the show notes if you have younger kids. The content is suitable for the whole family, but shows meant for older audiences may not keep the attention of the little ones.
🎵 Music Blocks is an award-winning kids' podcast produced by Colorado Public Radio’s Audio Innovations Studio with help from music educators. The show is aimed at middle and high school students and focuses on education around the building blocks of music in quick, under 10-minute, episodes. A recent episode explores how songwriters and composers use sound to express their emotions and share their experiences. The host dives into how a well-crafted song can drive a feeling of empowerment, sharing examples from Yuna , Run DMC, and BTS. 🎺 I'll leave you with some a quote from the Dutch composer Hanne Deneire, "When we sing or create music, we use all the parts of the brain: left, right, front, and back. All these parts collaborate. That is very unique. Music is complex; that is, it uses so many aspects of a person’s being."