Day light savings , the week after spring break , getting back to the school schedule and the full moon – this calls for movement, and a lot of it! Kids need to move. I am a person who needs to move ,I am a kinesthetic learner. The definition of a kinesthetic learner is is someone who needs to be actively engaged in their learning, it is considered one of our multiple intelligences and a way kids learn naturally. Sitting too long does not work well so well for me and for most kids. Our bodies help our brains understand information, help us become more engaged with what we are learning and helps get the blood and oxygen to our body.
One of the ways my students experience movement is by using body percussion ,clapping , patting, snapping and stomping. This helps them learn rhythms and to keep the steady beat . This is the method I use for teaching music to any age . First listen, then experience it through movement and the voice and then add the instruments – a whole body learning experience.
We move our hands while we sing . You might have heard some of your kids say we played a poison So La Mi game. This is a way to introduce my students to Solfege (Do Re Mi) It is a way to teach singing where the hand moves along with the intervals or pitches that are sung to help sing more in tune and to help with sight singing. I will often have the students learn hand motions to help describe the verses of a song or they will make up their own motions to express what the words mean to them. Not only can this be fun but also a way to help memorize the words to a song , and to sing more musically.
We move through games. Music games are a way to teach SEL , focus on listening, skills, to all support all kinds of music concepts and are just fun. Most of the music games I do involve movement, Hungry Giant, Giant and Pixies, circle games such as Cut the Cake, Little sally walker are a few that we have explored this year.
This past week in music class we were moving to an Irish Folk dance and played the Celtic drum ,the Bodhran. There is so much rich learning through folk dances. Working as a team, or with a partner , building community, identifying instruments that are played in the song or learning the words to the song, keeping the steady beat and being introduced to music from around the world. The music concept we have been focusing on with the dance this past week has been FORM or how a music is put together. To understand the form of a piece of music by just listening takes a lot of focus and a lot of explaining, but to move to a song and realize when you change your movement the music changes too is a way to experience the form.
Preschool through grade two danced to the folk song the Irish Washerwoman. Preschool focused on steady beat, kindergarten and first grade moved to the steady beat and added a contrasting part and grade two moved to a more complicated pattern where they crossed their mid line with the hand movements . They also developed their own movement variations to add the dance.
I have included a link to the Dancing Bears a local contra folk dancing group that are not meeting due to Covid but they are a great resource for our non Covid future. And I have included the link to the Irish Washer woman song. I hope you are and your family can dance up a storm at home!