DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 March) — As she formally opened her school’s first branch in Mindanao, singer and music educator Nikki Junia brought to the south a unique educational program that puts emphasis on the importance of music in children during their formative years.
During the opening of Muzikgarten Manila in SM Lanang Premiere in Davao, Junia, who’s also the president of Musikgarten Philippines Inc., said that music can stimulate and awaken pathways in the brain, support academic skills, provide holistic development, and sharpen kids’ various skills (listening, concentration, hand-eye coordination).
In the Philippines, Junia said that parents are used to having their children engaged in music during kids’ teenage years.
Parents can do the same even when their young ones are in their formative stages (ages 0-7 years old).
“Music can be very beneficial for the young—and even for unborn babies,” she said. “It can help in brain development and stimulation.”
Junia said that music can be a major tool in stimulating the brain—it nourishes the nerves and optimizes learning capabilities of kids.
She cited a common example: “Try to teach kids the alphabet without singing it,” she said. “Nobody will ever memorize the alphabet without singing it.”
This learning pattern, she said, recurs as a child grows older. Hence, she encourages parents to have their kids exposed to music at a young age because music sparks a different kind of interest among them.
Junia is a cum laude graduate of the UST Conservatory of Music; she majored in voice. She was trained by Seth Riggs, world-renowned vocal coach to international artists like Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, and Josh Groban.
She also studied in the US and was a music scholar since she was 10.
Music and movement
Junia said that children are born to be active and constantly moving.
“This only shows their eagerness to learn and demonstrates their good physical condition,” she said. Musikgarten Manila, designed to appear like a playhouse (it actually is), provides a kind of learning environment where they could release the kind of energy that they can’t express in traditional preschools.
Musikgarten Manila offers a special curriculum that is based on music and movement education. This was created by top experts in childhood development; the results combines the concepts learning processes approved by neuro-physicists, music educators, medical experts, and childhood educators, and music therapists.
Early childhood programs for toddlers are available as well as lessons on voice and various instruments for teens. (Jesse Pizarro Boga/MindaNews)