Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

concerts are good for your health

Or Eminem. Or Yo-Yo Ma. Or PJ Masks Live.

Or whoever it is that you saw when you were 16 and have seen a million times since.

Because apparently, going to live concerts helps us live our best—and longest—lives.

Some research done in Britain by O2, owner of some of the biggest music venues in the country, has shown that attending live music concerts every couple of weeks could possibly help you live up to 9 years longer. Dude, I’ll wave my hands in the air for that.

Okay, so the study may not have been perfectly scientific or impartial, but it’s not the only study of its kind, and many others have pointed to music in general being able to increase individual positivity and longevity.

Participants in this particular study showed an increase of mental stimulation by 75%, which seems pretty obvious to me. You can’t watch a 90-minute Beyoncé dance party without some serious neurons firing.

But the coolest part was that the participants actually increased in closeness to others and self-worth by an extra 25%, too. I’m not sure why or how, but I can get on board with anything that makes me realize how awesome I am by that large a degree.

And if those feelings of self-worth then translate into almost a decade more of a healthy, satisfied life…well, encore.

 

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This is Your Child’s Brain on Music

I’m not expecting my son to become a concert pianist. He’s one of the most okay-ist 11-year old piano players around. And that’s just fine with me.  So why do I keep paying for lessons and nagging him to practice every day? I think his music lessons do far more for him than I can measure and research backs me up. A comprehensive longitudinal study, (German Socio-Economic Panel, 2013) found, “Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.” The study described kids who take music lessons  as having “better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious.” Personally, I’ve seen great things from my son as he has studied piano and now violin. When asked, he said that the greatest thing about studying music was that he was proud to be developing a talent. That alone gives me incentive to encourage him to continue and to give my other kids the same opportunity. Want to know what other benefits learning music can give your children?

Improved grades

Probably the most noticeable improvement you’ll see in your child’s academics is the increase in your child’s reading and verbal skills. Your child will also see improved mathematical and spatial-temporal reasoning and raised IQ. Learning to read music is akin to learning a new language and your child will see benefit when learning other languages. Plus, kids that study music are better listeners. Anything to get your kid to listen to you, right?

Slow the effects of aging

With the benefits of improved working memory and long-term memory for visual stimuli. Some studies suggest that music engagement may delay cognitive decline. You’ll be setting your kids up for a life-long skill which will benefit them for the long-term. It may not seem like something to worry about right now but slowing the effects of aging is an immeasurable benefit.

Strengthened motor cortex

There is no question that fine motor skills are important in all aspects of a child’s life.  Virginia Penhune, a researcher at Concordia University said, “Learning to play an instrument requires coordination between hands and with visual or auditory stimuli. Practicing an instrument before age seven likely boosts the normal maturation of connections between motor and sensory regions of the brain, creating a framework upon which ongoing training can build.”

Social-behavioral

The social-behavioral benefits can’t be ignored. My son was a very anxious child. Around the time he began studying piano, I saw that his anxiety began decreasing significantly. I was working hard in other realms to decrease his anxiety but I feel like it certainly contributed to an improvement in my son’s ability to manage his anxiety. A study by researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that a child’s musical background appeared to contribute to enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem and those children were better at managing anxiety.

There is a whole lot of research supporting the claim that music benefits your child’s brain. It’s almost difficult to point out all the benefits. Hopefully, your child’s school has a music program and you’ll be able to look on the bright side of your kid playing the recorder non-stop. But even in early-childhood, unstructured play with musical instruments is great exposure. And if you’ve been on the fence about music lessons, consider the many benefits it can provide your child. If you don’t have the resources to provide music lessons, don’t write it off completely. Consider getting a Ukulele and learning alongside your kids – YouTube has a plethora of instructional videos. Consider it time well-spent and reap some of the awesome benefits learning music can have on your child’s brain.

 

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10 Best Broadway Shows for Kids this Spring in NYC

From Disney musicals to shows involving social issues, there has never been a better time to catch a show on Broadway with your child. Whether it’s their first experience or not, Broadway has something special to offer everyone, every single night of the week. With its spectacular sets and costumes, first-rate performers, and a chance to wait at the stage door after a show, Broadway is where it’s at.

So do what you can – clear your schedule, book tickets in advance or look for discounts, and use this handy list of ten Broadway shows we think your kids will love this spring.

 

Frozen

Frozen at the St. James Theatre is the newest and brightest play for kids on Broadway. This movie turned Broadway production is widely anticipated by many and, thankfully, the play is worth the wait and ticket price. It’s the beloved story of a kingdom that gets trapped in perpetual winter due to a spell cast by the Snow Queen and the journey of her sister to save the day. The play faithfully brings Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and the evil Prince to the stage, along with a few new songs, a grand set and, naturally, “Let it Go.” Recommended for kids ages 6 and up – make sure your daughters or granddaughters don their favorite princess costume. They’ll be far from the only ones!

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Come From Away

Come From Away at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is a musical about the incredible true story of 7,000 plane passengers who landed in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 and stayed for a few days, getting to know the natives. The cast of 12 lays a multitude of characters who lived through the experience, and the result is heroic and memorable, along with some completely memorable tunes.. It’s the kind of play that will restore faith in mankind and make you wonder how you never heard about Gander. This show is recommended for kids ages 12 and up….after all, it’s 9/11 and there are dark tragedies that transpired on that dark, dark day.

 

Anastasia

Anastasia at the Broadhurst Theatre is based on the 1997 Disney animated film of the same name. Through music and an intoxicating story, the show is about a brave woman, as we follow her from Russia to Paris, with a huge desire to find out who after losing her family as a young girl. Her journey involves discovering the truth about her royal family’s tragic history. Along the way, she not only encounters danger but also a bit of romance, which ultimately leads her to a new life. The play a grand theatrical experience that will stand out in any child’s memory. It features a book by playwright Terrence McNally. This show is recommended for kids ages 6 and up.

 

The Play that Goes

The Play that Goes Wrong at the Lyceum Theatre comes to NYC after a successful West End run in London. The show is about an accident-prone university drama society performing a play about a murder mystery. As the characters melt down, so does the set, and it ends in total chaos. It’s complete slapstick and the cast incorporates the audience into the show. If you’re looking for a good night out on Broadway that is full of laughter, this show is for you and your kids. This show is recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

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Wicked

Wicked the Musical has been gracing the Broadway stage since 2003, and it’s still popular with audiences. It’s the untold musical story, based on the book by Gregory Maguire, of The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, before Dorothy dropped in. It’s quite a magical journey for any theater goer with its grand set, costumes, and a musical score straight from heaven, and if you make this your child’s first Broadway show, you won’t go wrong. The recommended minimum age is 8 for this show as it is long in length and has a storyline that is a tad complex.

 

Aladdin

Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre is an ideal show for any Disney-obsessed child, of which there are many. Based on the musical film, with music by Alan Menken, it’s the story of a poor man granted three wishes by a genie in a lamp and his affection for Princess Jasmine. Little girls love putting on their best Princess gear for this grand show, and special needs parents should keep an eye out for autism-friendly performances. This show is recommended for kids ages 6 and up.

 

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen at the Music Box Theatre is a show for older kids, preferably teenagers, and it’s sure to blow anyone’s minds with its dazzling songs, relatable plot, and powerful storytelling. It’s a socially conscious show revolving around technology, social media, and bullying. As timely and current as the show is, the actors are equally as compelling. The score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also happened to write the lyrics for “The Greatest Showman,” as well as musical direction by Alex Lacamoire from “Hamilton,” will also floor you. This show is recommended for kids ages 13 and up.

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School of Rock

School of Rock at the Winter Garden Theatre is a play for fans of the film it was based on, as well as

music lovers. Based on the Richard Linklater film starring Jack Black and adapted by “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes. the show is a faithful adaptation with songs composed by the iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber. It offers up a lot of great lessons, including fostering independence, doing what you love, and being accepted for who you are.  Another wonderful possibility is that your special needs child will embrace the play’s sense of familiarity, strong music, and sit through a show for the first time. Our recommendation is that this show is for kids ages 8 and up.

 

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre will make any kid think about what is most important to them with its credo of “You change the world when you change your mind” mantra. Based on a book by Harvey Fierstein, with songs written by Cyndi Lauper, it won six Tony Awards. It’s the true story of English shoe factory owner Charlie Price, who saves his family business by manufacturing shoes for a niche market: Drag queens. The songs are so catchy that kids will go dancing right out of the theater. This show is recommended for kids ages 8 and up.

 

 

Hello Dolly

Hello Dolly at the Shubert Theater is an adaptation of the famous film about Dolly Levi, a New York matchmaker who falls in love with Yonkers merchant Horace Vandergelder. It takes place in the 1880’s and is based on Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker, which debuted on Broadway in 1964. The play features some famous songs, such as ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’ and ‘It Only Takes A Moment’ and it’s a classic theater experience for any child. Bette Midler debuted in the role as Dolly in this version; then the role went to Donna Murphy; and now the legendary and amazing Bernadette Peters has stepped into the role. You can’t go wrong with any of these phenomenal women. This show is recommended for kids ages 10 and up.

 

 

About the Author

Holly Rosen Fink is a full-time marketer and part-time writer living in Larchmont, NY with her husband and two children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here Are The Super Bowl Commercials That Had Us In Tears

I cry a lot. It doesn’t take much.  I like the commercials that remind us about all the good — and all that girl power!

Mass Mutual: I’ll Stand By You

 

Winter Olympics: Always Be Faster Than The Boys / Mikaela Shiffrin

 

Toyota: Good Odds

 

Lindsey Vonn Winter Olympics Best of U.S. 

And was it just me or was every movie trailer TERRIFYING? Those movie trailers also made me cry. 

The Funniest Super Bowl Commercials of 2018

We’ve recapped the funniest commercials from Super Bowl 2018!

Basically the Tide commercials WIN the Super Bowl! We love Officer Hopper (David Harbour), and we love him even more in these Tide commercials. That white jumpsuit? Seals the deal.

It’s A Tide Ad


 

 

 

 

E-Trade: 85 And I Want To Go Home

 

Avocados From Mexico

 

 

Pringles: Nobody Asked You Kevin!

 

 

Crocodile Dundee

 

Time of My Life

 

What did we miss? What commercials made you LOL?!?

 

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How to Get Kids to Create Media — Not Just Consume It

By Christine Elgersma, Common Sense Media

During a typical day, kids and teens check out YouTube, watch TV, play video games, scroll through social media feeds, and listen to music. Overall, they’re passive consumers of the content they love — which is fine. But with a little nudging — and the right tools — they can be using that time to build creative skills while sharing their stories, opinions, and ideas.

Kids actually love to express themselves, but sometimes they feel like they don’t have much of a voice. Encouraging your kid to be more of a maker might just be a matter of pointing to someone or something they admire and giving them the technology to make their vision come alive. No matter your kids’ ages and interests, there’s a method and medium to encourage creativity.

Photo by Brad Flickinger, Flikr

 

If they have a story to share

As soon as kids start talking, it’s great to get them to tell storiesFor younger kids, encourage them to narrate their activities as they build, climb, and pretend by asking questions such as, “What are you building? Who will use it? Tell me about your adventure!” There are also apps that let kids record their stories as they play. With older kids, some will naturally put pencil to paper, but others take a bit more prodding. For those kids, digital book creation can make their writing process feel more grown-up and tangible. Having a real audience also shows kids that their writing can matter, so tweens and teens can use sites and apps where they can share creations, and they can even riff off their obsessions in the form of fan fictionFinally, if your tween or teen has strong opinions about issues or interesting people in their lives, they can use tools to document and share those stories, too.

Storytelling tools

 

If they have a directorial vision

For kids who love to watch television and movies (spoiler: Most do!), it can be exciting for them to get in on the actionWhen they’re younger, kids love to combine their toys with storytelling, which is not unlike directing a movie. To share those stories, they can play around with animated storytelling apps that let them record a mini-movie with movable characters, props, and settings. As they get older, stop-motion animation might be more their jam, and there are apps for that, too. And if you’d prefer tweens and teens to not have their own YouTube channels but you want to encourage the fun of making videos, there are tools that let kids record, edit, and share in a more limited way.

Video-creation tools

 

If they have an inner artist

When your kid is naturally artistic, it probably won’t take much prompting to get them to draw or paint. But sooner or later, they’ll want to expand their horizons. If your little kid loves to color, give them more inspiration with apps that introduce famous artists. Older kids who don’t claim to be artists but love superheroes, comics, or manga can create their own cartoons with panels, dialogue balloons, and unique characters. Even emerging fashion designers can find a tool to help them express their inner Versace. Of course, for tweens and teens, there are more advanced digital drawing and painting products to create sophisticated designs.

Artistic tools

 

If they have an ear for music

Most kids love music right out of the womb, so transferring that love into creation isn’t hard when they’re little. Banging on pots and pans is a good place to start — but they can take that experience with them using apps that let them play around with sound. Little kids can start to learn about instruments and how sounds fit together into music. Whether they’re budding musicians or just appreciators, older kids can use tools to compose, stay motivated, and practice regularly. And when tweens and teens want to start laying down some tracks, they can record, edit, and share their stuff.

Music tools

 

 

If they have the next big game idea

Learning to code may seem intimidating, but there are a ton of fun apps that teach programming basics in a way that doesn’t feel like work. Young kids who learn to code get introduced to ideas such as cause and effect, thinking ahead, and how little steps add up to a final product. When they’re older, they can make and share simple games using some basic block-coding tools. Tweensand teens can learn actual coding languages so they can create more complex games.

Coding tools

 

If they don’t consider themselves to be creative

Some kids are sure they don’t have a creative bone in their bodies — but they’ll play Minecraft for hours. Others will turn their noses up at art — but will jump at the chance to design a robot. If this sounds like your kid, rest assured that — no matter their age — their bones are actually brimming with creativity. Even if kids aren’t painting masterpieces, playing the trombone, or writing the next hit for Netflix, there are lots of ways for them to make things, especially using digital tools. Any app that requires kids to create a world or creature — especially those that allow them to test their designs — teaches the creative process. Even silly apps that only focus on the process and not the product can free up kids who might feel stuck.

Covert creative tools

 

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This Imagine Dragons Video Will Make Your Heart Explode

What is it with all the music videos making us feel all the feelings?  I mean, we’ve got Macklemore paying tribute to his grandma and now Imagine Dragons gives us a gem that will make your heart explode.

Imagine Dragons Walking The Wire Video

Imagine Dragons latest album, Evolve has been out for a few weeks and I’ve been listening non-stop along with my kids who seem to have memorized the lyrics overnight. Fans of their Facebook page have been enjoying a bit of treat. The band has posted bonus videos featuring home videos and photos along with their new songs from the album.

The latest video posted to the Imagine Dragons Facebook has the simple caption, “the evolution of love” for their new song, Walking the Wire. The video features the band’s front man, Dan Reynolds. He’s made no secret of his devotion to his wife and his love of being a dad. He posts on his personal Instagram feed beautiful photos of his family.

my #1

A post shared by Daniel Coulter Reynolds (@danreynolds) on

arrow gave me "tattoos"

A post shared by Daniel Coulter Reynolds (@danreynolds) on

‪welcome to this beautiful world Gia James and Coco Rae‬

A post shared by Daniel Coulter Reynolds (@danreynolds) on

But this latest video. It melts my heart into a giant puddle. Sure, I may have a soft spot for twin baby girls but oh. my. heart. This is one adorable couple the evolved into one beautiful family. The home videos of them playing around and goofing off. So adorable. It is absolute perfection set to an amazing new song. Relationship goals, my friends. This is it.

Imagine Dragons: Walking The Wire

 

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Get SING in Digital HD for Family Movie Night

This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

I’ve got great news for your “Friday night what to watch that the whole family will agree on without someone ending up in tears because they don’t like that movie and they never get to pick” dilemma—SING in Digital HD is available now!

SING in Digital HD Sequined Pig

If you ask me, a diva pig in a sequined jumpsuit singing the hits of Lady Gaga is reason enough to get this movie. If you need something more compelling, how about the fact that when you purchase SING in Digital HD on VUDU, you’ll get 3 all-new mini-movies and so many extras? It really is the most dynamic way to watch the year’s biggest animated musical hit.

Using VUDU is pretty simple. You can purchase SING in Digital HD at VUDU.com or on their app. Vudu is easy to use and the app is on your favorite devices (Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, streaming devices [i.e. Roku], and both Android and Apple mobile devices). So that also means you can start a movie on your TV and finish it on your tablet!

The Vudu mobile app is also a great way for kids to watch SING on their own. It lets them tap and swipe their way across the most robust set of interactive bonus content available, including the “SING Interactive Experience,” featuring a carousel of the film’s iconic characters loaded with animation galleries, profiles, cast voice over sessions and more.

If you missed catching SING in the theaters, you’re in for a treat! It was made by Illumination Entertainment, the same studio that made THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS. The basic premise of the film is that all of us have something within us that we can share with others.SING in Digital HD castSING stars Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition to save his crumbling theater; winner Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, an overworked and underappreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva; Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior; and Taron Egerton as Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies. But in my opinion, the best part of this movie is the likelihood that at some point you’ll end up with a family dance party on your hands while you watch. Movie night and a dance party? I can’t think of anything better.

The SING Special Edition is Coming to Digital, DVD, and Blu-Ray in March

This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

If you and your kids loved watching SING in the theaters, then prepare yourself to get super excited for what I’m about to say. Are you ready? Ok, here goes . . . THE SING SPECIAL EDITION IS COMING OUT ON DIGITAL HD ON MARCH 3rd AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD ON MARCH 21st!!!!!!!

 

SING Special Edition Digital, DVD, and Blu-Ray Release

I’m sorry, was I yelling? I’m kind of excited. Did you catch how I said “SING Special Edition?” Yeah, this isn’t just the same thing you saw on the big screen cut comin’ at ya. The special edition of this music-filled comedy will include over 60-minutes of bonus content and will incorporate three (YEAH, I SAID 3!) all-new entertaining mini movies featuring the cast from SING as well as an exclusive Tori Kelly music video and a variety of musical extras. That’s almost enough bonus content to equal a whole new movie in and of itself.

Before I get too carried away, I’ll tell you why we loved SING. I feel like the new trend in animated movies is to make them entertaining for both adults and kids. The Illumination studio made SING. That’s the same studio that brought us The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise. They’ve already proven they have the chops to be popular with kids (uh, seen a Minion anywhere lately?) and they’re quickly becoming a grown up favorite too. This movie was a Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. You’ll totally recognize ans sing along to the more than 65 hit songs in this movie, and you’ll love ‘Faith,’ a brand new song by the legendary Stevie Wonder (featuring Ariana Grande). He hasn’t made a song for a major film release in 25 years!
 

Check out this SING Special Edition trailer:

 

 
If that doesn’t make you laugh, then you should probably watch it again with your eyes open. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a movie that has as many A-list actors and artists. SING is truly a wonderful, funny, heartwarming film with great music and a fantastic cast. It stars Academy Award® winner† Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition to save his crumbling theater; Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, an overworked and unappreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva; Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior; Taron Egerton as Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; as well as Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Basically, SING takes all the best parts of a reality T.V. show—the stories of people uh, I mean, animals down on their luck, the crazy talented ones who don’t have any self-confidence, those trying to live up to their true selves, and those trying to rise above their surroundings—it subtracts the super drama, tears, and rose ceremonies, but leaves in a few crazies and a diva, just to keep things interesting.

We loved SING at our house, and can’t wait for the SING Special Edition to release. It may just be the musical comedy event of the year!

This Musical Mashup by Us The Duo is Everything

In 2014 and 2015, the husband/wife musical group Us The Duo hit us with a mashup of the top songs of the year. If you missed those, get your life together. You can watch the 2015 version here and check out the 2014 version here. Talk about a trip down memory lane!

us-the-duo-2016-mashup

 

Well, they did it again! The 2016 version includes songs “Cake by the Ocean” from DNCE, “Cheap Thrills” by Sia, “Work” by Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” They fit 17 songs into this three minute medley you won’t want to miss. I can’t get enough.

Mashup of the Top Hits of 2016 by Us The Duo

 

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