Kristi Judd has been around music her entire life. She is the daughter of a music minister, was active in school choirs and musicals, and continued her education by obtaining a music degree in college. Now, as the owner of Music Junkies, a studio for students of all ages, she brings her passion and knowledge to Fort Worth. We had a chance to chat with Kristi about how music can enhance a child’s life, and as it turns out, music appreciation is one of the most important gifts a parent can give.
Music is more than a catchy jingle you might find yourself humming or a hit song on the radio you hear a hundred times in one summer. Music fosters life skills like organization, follow-through, and self-reflection and helps with social and emotional development. It helps kids interpret emotions and increases their ability to respond with sensitivity and awareness. It promotes personal expression, fosters cultural awareness, and improves mood.
“Playing and hearing music allows kids to become aware of the beauty in the world and themselves. It’s a supportive, holistic learning environment that teaches kids to cultivate grit and equips them with tools that set them up for success. Kids get satisfaction from mastering something, whether it be an instrument or a song,” says Judd.
Music helps develop cognitive skills like spatial and temporal skills, too, which come in handy for everything from geometry and physics to reading and language comprehension. “Vocabulary, phonological awareness, rhythm, pitch, and verbal communication are enhanced through music. And, kids are learning math in a fun way,” she says.
According to Judd, there are so many ways music can be a part of a child’s life. Kids bond with friends and family through music; you can start with nursery rhymes for infants and introduce age-appropriate instruments to toddlers, listen to music at home and in the car, and move on to taking the kids to musical events like outdoor concerts or the symphony, using music-making apps. Even playing the drums on makeshift pots and pans works. You can even find restaurants with live music sessions.
“Listening with intention or mindfulness is just as important as playing. You don’t have to be the best singer in the world. You can dance, sing, listen to all different styles of music, and talk about how the music makes them feel. A parent’s affirmation is so important. Creating an environment where music is accepted and celebrated, not something that’s in the way, helps nurture a love for music and fosters an emotional connection between parent and child,” she says.
Music connects us to all our other senses and creates important memories for kids. Think back to a favorite song of your mother or father or an instrument a family member used to play. You might hear a tune and remember a special moment. Your child might be able to honor a loved one by learning and playing that very instrument. It’s all part of the experience of being human.
The Music Junkie offers private lessons for kids, teens, and adults ages six and up in everything from singing to piano, drum, guitar, songwriting, violin, and even the ukulele. For the little ones, there’s a toddler and preschool just for them. In its eighth year, Judd and her Music Junkies teachers love being able to bring her love of music to others, and to watch their transformation. “It’s my jam. If we can grow the love of music in families, it’ll be so good for the world,” she says.