Music and Movement – Why we move to learn

Kindermusik for Young Child  Semester 4 – Wk 8

 

In Kindermusik we cover a large amount of material concerning music terminology, pitches, songs, composers, playing instruments, etc. Meanwhile, we never forget the importance of movement! Just today we continued to dance while singing “Bow Wow Wow” and also incorporated a fun movement game into an up/down listening activity.  In listening for pitches that go higher or lower in steps (one note to the one next to it) or leaps (to one farther away), the children were asked to move up or down in small or large increments.  This is a fun activity to try at home.

“Movement is the essential ingredient of space perception…. By observing his own body and the relationship among objects in space to parts of his body, [the child] relates himself to the space outside himself….” (Dance and Grow, by Betty Rowen, p. 57.)

 Also, movement in activities such as listening for ascending or descending pitches brings a different type of understanding (a kinesthetic understanding) to an auditory concept.

To ‘pin down’ a thought, there must be movement.  A person may sit quietly to think, but to remember a thought an action must be used to anchor it.  We must materialize it with words.  When I write, I am making connections with thought by moving my hand… Talking is very much a sensory motor skill…  

Recent research is helping to explain how movement directly benefits the nervous system.  Muscular activities, particularly coordinated movements, appear to stimulate the production of neurotrophins, natural substances that stimulate the growth of nerve cells and increase the number of neural connections in the brain.”  (Smart Moves, by Carla Hannaford, pgs. 98-102.)

Literary Notes:

Smart Moves  If you want to read a great book that describes the importance of movement in the learning process, I  HIGHLY recommend “Smart Moves” by Carla Hannaford.  There is fascinating information in that book, based on extensive research, which she lists, and is written in a way that makes it very understandable.  She talks a lot about the development of neural connections in the brain, and how movement is KEY to developing strong connections, and a foundation for further learning.  It also talks about movements that help your left and right brain hemispheres to work together.

Awakening the Child Heart  I have also read her new book “Awakening the Child Heart”, which takes her theories a step farther than the nuts and bolts of the body’s hardwiring.  It’s a bit more philosophical, and I do recommend reading “Smart Moves” first.  But if you are up for a book that will make you really stop and think about human beings and how integrated our body systems are – and how even little things make such a difference – pick that one.  From Carla, to me, to you:  I wish you Coherence.

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