A pioneering music educator reveals how music can supercharge early childhood development—and explains how parents and educators can harness its power.
Since opening her famed Parisian conservatory over three decades ago, Joan Koenig has led a global movement to improve children’s lives and minds with the transformative power of music. With a curriculum and philosophy drawn from cutting-edge science, L’École Koenig has educated and empowered even its youngest students—from baby Max, whose coordination and communication grow as he wiggles and coos to targeted songs and dance routines, to five-year-old Constance, who nourishes her empathy, creativity, and memory while practicing music from other cultures. In The Musical Child, Koenig shares stories from her classrooms, along with tips about how to use the latest research during the critical years when children are most sensitive to musical exposure and most receptive to its benefits.
A gift for parents, caregivers, musicians, and educators, The Musical Child reveals the multiple ways in which music can help children thrive—and shows how, in the twenty-first century, its practice is more vital than ever.
JOAN KOENIG is the American-born founder of L’École Koenig Music School, Preschool & Kindergarten in Paris. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she has performed as a soloist and chamber musician and has taught in French national conservatories. She lives in Paris.
“We need music in our lives now more than ever, so that healthy minds and bodies can develop humane and compassionate values—just what music-making instills. There were statements in this wonderful work that brought tears to my eyes. I hope the decision-makers of the future will heed the message of The Musical Child.”—Herbie Hancock "The Musical Child is full of sensible ideas to try out on newborn and young . . . you will probably want Koenig to move in with you to help with those games-exercises, from clapping to squatting to waggling legs in the air."—The Guardian “A beautiful book, and one that is great fun to read—and which addresses an unmet need. Drawing from her experience as a music teacher, Joan Koenig gives readers the tools to make music with their children during the first few years of life. Her approach is accessible and her loving tone is full of the spirit—of optimism, generosity, joy, and energy—that music instills. I wish I could have been one of her students.”—Nina Kraus, Director, Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University “In The Musical Child, Joan Koenig helps get music off the stage and back into our bodies, souls, and families. Her examples and exercises are simple and easy to follow, helping any parent get in touch with this timeless gift.”—Silke Rose West & Joseph Sarosy, authors of How to Tell Stories to Children “By matching Joan Koenig’s personal observations as a gifted teacher of young children with the scientific findings of some of the most brilliant minds in the field of music cognition, this wonderful book makes crystal clear how music can be used to develop the minds and enrich the lives of all children. The Musical Child shows us that music holds the key to developing a healthy life full of humanity.”—Charles J. Limb, music cognition neuroscientist, University of California San Francisco Medical Center "Joan Koenig is on a wonderful mission to enrich children’s lives through music."—Dr. Guy Deutscher "Joan Koenig’s The Musical Child blends observation, empathy, experience and detailed research to present the invaluable benefits of bringing up children in music. The natural joy that children have in music, the importance of creativity and the vital role music plays in developing curious, confident and happy young people is beautifully illustrated in a book that abounds with love and fundamentally believes in the deep potential of children. As a family for whom music was there from the beginning, we are happy to recommend this book to all families and to anyone interested in childhood and education."—The Kanneh Mason Family —