CHILDREN’S MOTOR RESPONSES TO MUSIC

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 #firststepsinmusic on Instagram (remember to tag @gordonukinstitute so it will be easier for us to find you).

THE IMPORTANCE OF NON- VERBAL COMMUNICATION IN EARLY YEARS MUSIC

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!


ITALIANO

In un contesto non verbale come quello delle lezioni di musica secondo la Music Learning Theory di Gordon, il linguaggio corporeo diventa importantissimo. Ogni sguardo, piccolo movimento o sorriso si trasforma in un mezzo per entrare in comunicazione non i bambini.

Mentre cantiamo le canzoni osserviamo i bambini e i loro genitori, cercando di cogliere il loro stato d’animo e le loro necessità.

I piccoli di 0-3 anni non possono ancora dirci come si sentono ma attraverso il linguaggio corporeo esprimono tutto il loro mondo: sono contenti, si sentono bene nel gruppo, hanno bisogno di più tempo per sentirsi liberi di esplorare lo spazio, non sono ancora pronti per l’imitazione musicale.

Tutto è scritto sulle loro espressioni, sul loro modo di muoversi e di interagire con noi.

Finalmente, quando si sentono accolti, sono pronti a condividere e a giocare con i suoni, senza paura di sperimentare, in un ambiente totalmente non giudicante.

Proprio lì, in quel momento, quando nel bambino si è creata la fiducia necessaria nell’adulto, si apre la finestra d’apprendimento più importante nella vita di ogni essere umano. In quello spazio, noi educatori, entriamo passo dopo passo per condividere le nostre esperienze, a volte in punta di piedi, a volte saltando!