Today we’d love to talk about one of the ways in which we get more in touch with our students’ musical learning progress: the observation of their motor responses to music.
Some of the easiest reactions to notice are the little legs (or little hands) moving to the beat. Finding ourselves moving when we listen to music happens to all of us, most of the time unconsciously. Rhythm, although, is something that gets stable later in the age (if properly supported).
So, how should we consider these little movements showed by the children during the sessions? We should remember that children’s body movement is in resonance with what they’re listening to, namely the music that surrounds them.
We can say that music moves the child even before the child knows it.
Children move unconsciously, in a space that is specially created for their freedom to experiment.
Furthermore, during the sessions, we can often observe children swaying with their whole bodies to the beat, shifting the weight from one leg to another, most of the time accordingly to the tempo and the speed of the music. Their centre of gravity is perfectly linked to the ground.
What else can we observe? Children move, run, jump. They fall. We can pay attention and notice exactly when that happens. We will then see that children fall on the musical cadences; at the end of the musical phrases; or at the end of the songs, meaning that they are constantly listening and following the music (even if they’re not looking at us).
Now is the moment to ask you… have you ever observed your students’ movement? Have you ever paid attention to these details? By doing it, you will be able to evaluate children’s rhythm development in a very natural way.
Why don’t you try to catch their motor responses in your next sessions and share with us your discoveries? You can describe them here in the comments or use the hashtag #firststepsinmusicon Instagram (remember to tag @Gordon UK so it will be easier for us to find you).
In a non-verbal context such as a music lesson that follows the Gordon’s MLT principles, body language becomes very important. Every glance, small movement or smile becomes a way of communicating with the children.
As we sing the songs, we observe the children and their parents, trying to capture their mood and their needs. Children aged between 0 to 3 cannot yet verbalise how they feel but through the body language, they express their entire world. They can tell us if they’re happy; if they feel good in the group; if they need more time to feel free to explore the space; if they are not yet ready to imitate our musical productions.
Everything is written in their expressions, in their way of moving and interacting.
Eventually, when they feel welcomed, they are ready to share and play with the sounds, without fear of experimenting, in a totally non-judgmental environment.E
Right there, at that moment, when the necessary trust between the educator and the child has been created, the most important learning window of the human being’s life opens up. That is the space for us as educators to enter and step by step share our experience, sometimes on tiptoes, sometimes jumping!
FIRST STEPS IN MUSIC – LISTENING is a FREE 5-day course online that will help you to create a musical listening path with your students.
In the last weeks, we have worked hard to prepare this training opportunity and we hope you’ll find it interesting!
You will find many tips on how to create a good environment for listening, and insights on the role of silence and movement in children’s musical learning. At the end of the 5th day, there will also be a special gift for you.
This offer is exclusively for subscribers to our newsletter. So, if you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to the link below👇🏻 Check your inbox (or junk mail) to start the course 📨
If you live around the Arsenal Stadium in and your child has specials needs you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Music therapy should soon as well!
Few spaces left on the next PEPTalk group sessions running in January-February. They are lead by a therapist called Louisa who is an advanced sensory integration therapist and Occupational Therapist.
The sessions will focus on sensory integration and be held in the specialist sensory room at The Arsenal Stadium in Islington. The sessions will provide you with practical advice and activities to support the development of your child’s sensory integration which can impact upon the development of a range of different skills including attention, communication, social interactions and daily living skills.
The 5 session block costs £50. For children new to the group sessions, an initial online consultation fee will apply. There will be no fee for children who have already engaged in PEPTalk sessions.
For children living in Islington, Camden and Hackney the initial consultation is paid for by the Arsenal Foundation.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in finding out the dates and times of the sessions.
Our new paper is out today, investigating the impact of a musical intervention on preschool children’s executive function!
Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.
Thanks to Creative Futures and my colleagues Alice Bowmer and Katie Mason for this first step together!