The Tuneables is an award-winning children's music education DVD and CD series designed to teach the key building blocks of music at a critical time in a child's development.  Sponsored by the Music Intelligence Project, this fun, interactive program engages children in songs and activities that provide a foundation of music understanding and growth in intellectual development. Ages 3-8.

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To help prepare your child for active music instruction and learning, play recordings of music by Mozart and others as a background for other activities and rest time when the child is very young.

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The Young Child's Personal Music Playlist (Repertoire): A Context for Learning

Very young children (ages 0-3) need a personal "playlist" of songs and classical musical compositions to serve as their cultural context for music learning. (See blog: Let's Start at the Very Beginning: Early Exposure to Music-the "Playlist".)

The following lists include important children's songs and classical compositions that are well known and appropriate for every child's "Playlist". Although many more selections are available, these examples were chosen because of their tonal and rhythmic content and their appeal to very young ears.

I. Thirty Children's Songs for the young child's "playlist".

1.   Alphabet Song

2.   Are You Sleeping

3.   B-I-N-G-O

4.   Baa, Baa Black Sheep

5.   Eensy, Weensy Spider

6.   Farmer in the Dell

7.   Hickory Dickory Dock

8.   Hokey Pokey

9.   Hot Cross Buns

10. Hush Little Baby

11. I'm a Little Teapot

12. If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands

13. Jingle Bells

14. London Bridge

15. Looby Loo

16. Mary Had a Little Lamb

17. Mulberry Bush

18. Old MacDonald

19. Paw, Paw Patch

20. Ring Around the Rosies

21. Row, Row Your Boat

22. Six Little Ducks

23. Skip to My Lou

24. Teddy Bear

25. The Bear Went Over the Mountain

26. This Old Man

27. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

28. Wheels on the Bus

29. Where Is Thumbkin

30. Yankee Doodle

(Religious and holiday songs could also be included)


II. Thirty Classical Compositions for the young child's "playlist".

1.     Bach: Minuet in G (Anna Magdalena Notebook)

2.     Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C Major (Well Tempered Clavier No. 1)

3.     Beethoven: Bagatelle in A Minor ("Fur Elise")

4.     Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D-Rondo (3rd mvt.)

5.     Bizet: Carmen-March of the Toreadors

6.     Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5

7.     Chopin: Grand Valse Brilliante

8.     Debussy: Arabesque No 1.

9.     Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No. 3

10. Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1-Bourree (8th mvt.)

11. Handel: Water Music Suite No. 2-Hornpipe (2nd mvt.)

12. Haydn: Symphony No. 101 ("Clock") (2nd Movement)

13. Haydn: Symphony No. 94 ("Surprise") (2nd movement)

14. Haydn: Trumpet Concert in E-Flat (3rd Mvt.)

15. Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat (3rd Mvt.)

16. Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night's Dream (Scherzo)

17. Mozart: Andante in C Major for Flute and Orchestra

18. Mozart: Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (1st Mvt.)

19. Mozart: Marriage of Figaro Overture

20. Mozart: Minuet and Trio for Piano, K. 1

21. Mozart: Rondo Alla Turka (piano or orchestra)

22. Mozart: Rondo No.2 in C Major for Violin and Orchestra

23. Mozart: Twelve Variations in C Major on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

24. Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumble Bee

25. Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals-The Swan

26. Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever

27. Strauss: Radetsky March

28. Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

29. Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, "Spring"-Allegro (1st mvt.)

30. Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, "Winter"-Largo (2nd mvt.)

(Note: Music enjoyed by children, such as "Peter and the Wolf", that describes a scene or tells a story are not listed. Those compositions should not be avoided, but it is important to include these pieces in the child's "Playlist" where the focus is on tonality, rhythm, and musical design or structure, rather than a story that the music represents.)

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 6 October 2011


Let's Start at the Very Beginning: Early Exposure to Music the Playlist

Very young children (ages 0-3) benefit most from music learning experiences when they have had a rich exposure to music in the home starting at birth.  Such exposure gives young children a personal repertoire of songs and instrumental compositions that become part of the cultural fabric of their everyday lives. Let's call it their "playlist". This is their readiness for learning music in a music education program, such as The Tuneables.

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 6 October 2011

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Music Intelligence Project and Music Education Supporters Contribute to Washington Post Write Up on the Importance of Music Education

The Music Intelligence Project recently contributed along with numerous companies and organizations that support school music education programs to create an eight-page editorial supplement for the Washington Post highlighting the many proven academic, social and wellness benefits for kids and teens who play music.

Posted by Jill Todd on 22 September 2011

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The Early Stages of Music Learning

The foundation of a young child's music learning is built on aural (hearing) experiences. These learning experiences progress in three stages: 1. stimulus, 2. recall, and 3. discrimination. Parents and teachers should be aware of these important music learning stages. For any one of them to be missing or partially included reduces the child's learning opportunities and the potential for future musical growth.

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 14 August 2011

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The Early Years: The Best Time to Learn Music

Music learning, like language learning, must begin early in the child's life. The early years are the period of most rapid growth in brain development. This growth is "wiring" the brain to recognize, remember, and understand the sounds and patterns of music and speech.  Individuals rarely develop musical capabilities later in life if their early years did not include learning that involves a rich mix of rhythmic, tonal, and performance skills. 

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 19 July 2011

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Listening to Background Music and Music Instruction in Brain Development

When the question arises as to whether playing recorded background music for young children provides any benefit, the answer must be, "Yes." This is a convenient and pleasurable way to introduce children to the music of their culture and allow them to become familiar with a repertoire of songs and other compositions. In addition, when the music selected for listening is sufficiently complex, like Mozart's, some benefit to increased intelligence may occur. Most importantly, these listening experiences provide the readiness for structured music instruction.

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 21 June 2011

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Why Should Young Children Listen to Mozart's Music?

Parents often ask, "What recordings should I have my children listen to?" High on the list of recommendations are compositions by Mozart and his contemporary, Haydn. Among the many reasons given for choosing these two composers, and others like them, is that their music is highly suited to stimulate brain development in young children as well as providing an excellent foundation upon which to develop basic concepts of music.

Posted by Robert E. Johnson on 13 October 2010

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Movement Is Essential For Music Learning

All human performance of music involves movement. We move our vocal mechanisms; expand and contract our lungs; manipulate instruments with hands, arms, lips, tongue, etc.; dance with our feet; jump, spin, sway, and bend with our bodies—all in connection with rhythms and tones of music. In addition, all movements must be precisely timed and executed for a successful music performance. The human capacity to learn and execute a large number of complex movements with split-second accuracy enables 100 musicians to perform together in a symphony orchestra, or an individual to recreate a performance of a solo piece of music over and over.

Posted by Robert Johnson on 29 June 2010

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Music Curriculum Is Important for Young Children

Many young children experience music informally through such means as singing games, hearing songs sung on television, music time at preschool, and interacting with parents who feel comfortable providing music experiences for their children. Such informal encounters with music are valuable as pleasurable moments and as readiness experiences for sequential music learning.

Posted by Robert Johnson on 14 June 2010

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Knowing The Sounds Of Music: "Training" The Ear

An important aspect of any music learning is training the ear to know the sounds of music, or what some call the "content" of music. The two basic content areas are *tonal* (the pitches or tones that we sing and play) and* rhythm* (the place in time that we place pitches and other sounds).

Posted by Robert Johnson on 17 May 2010

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