The Power of Music

Written by Marni Levitt

I can’t underline the importance of music enough.  In education, in wellness, in life!  In my 10 years experience teaching within the school board (and the past 5 years of private work), I have found over and over again that when I use rhythms, a musical way of talking, call and response dialogue etc., then kids listen! They literally TUNE IN when they hear the phrases I am chanting or singing.  Sometimes they tune in EVEN MORE when I add some simple body movements.  Adults are more reserved at first, but the effect is still the same.  They love music, and want MORE of it.  Yesterday I shared some of my newest original songs for kids at a special summer camp – they loved them!

Listening and tuning in can be a particular challenge for some, (and for many kids and adults alike these days, we are so distracted with  technology!!!!).  When the kids knew I wrote the songs, and they felt the melody, rhythms and even the meaning of the words (words designed to instill positive self-image, relaxation and stress-reduction) – the calm and joy in the room was palpable.

That being said, you DON’T have to be a musician, a songwriter or a dancer to share music with kids.  Any teacher, education professional, social worker, yoga teacher or parent can learn some simple fun rhythmic phrases to engage young people.  I have seen it work over and over again – I would even say that children these days are CRAVING more music.  Humans need music, like we need water and food.  Our bodies are made up mostly of water, and water responds to sound vibrations, by vibrating in response.

Want more information? check out this article on the scientific benefits of music!

Like what you read? I would be happy to speak with you about professional development opportunities for teachers or anyone who works with children.

May the music find you!

Marni


1-416-910-3114

@Move_N_Music
Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), B.Ed. OCT, RYT
Founder Move-N-Music
Wellness Educator, Animator, Speaker
Ignite the potential for your body and mind

 

Tuning Into The Rhythm of Life

By Craig Hanauer E-RYT 500 RCYT

Isn’t it remarkable that a healthy vestibular system can process lower frequency rhythmic sound vibrations and translate them into corresponding bodily movements? Alfred Tomatis the creator of the Tomatis Listening Method observed that both rhythm and sound are processed through different parts of the human ear. He described the vestibular apparatus as the ear of the body, the part involved in the feeling and production of movement and rhythm, and the cochlea or hearing apparatus deals with the perception of sounds and pitch. Music helps to join brain and body in their response to the resonance of sound so that the body itself becomes an instrument of expression.

It is no coincidence that many disciplines designed to address vestibular dysfunction have a rhythmic component to them. Take for example traditional Sensory Integration Therapy’s focus on rhythmic movements to stimulate the vestibular system in different ways; Harald Blomberg’s Rhythmic Movement Therapy designed to address nonintegrated primitive reflexes through rhythmic movements; and although not aimed specifically at vestibular dysfunction, the therapeutic branch of Eurythmy (a practice common to Rudolph Steiner’s Waldorf Schools around the world) aims to restore an individual towards balance and equilibrium.

Clearly rhythmic movements are comforting and organizing for many children, and that is why rocking a baby tends to be soothing and swinging forward and back upon a swing is a popular activity for many kids. But what about the child who avoids the swing or is upset by even a gentle rocking motion? What does this say about her vestibular system, and how can she gradually become acclimatized to such movements so that she begins to enjoy them and to develop a corresponding internal rhythm and order?

It is through being bounced, rocked, and spun that babies develop a healthy vestibular system, so children who are hypersensitive to vestibular input should not be allowed to avoid it completely, but rather should be exposed to it with consideration to time and intensity. Much like the child who has difficulty waiting; if always called upon immediately s/he will have no opportunity to increase her capacity to wait, however kept waiting too long will send her into unproductive distress.

So what does all of this have to do with Children’s Yoga? I wasn’t aware of the many ways I was already incorporating rhythmic movements into my children’s yoga classes until I attended training on Blomberg Rhythmic Movement Therapy. All of that rocking, rolling and moving to music has a rhythmic component to it, and engaging my students through rhythm makes the class run so much more smoothly; it’s is akin to moving with the river rather than against it. In addition, I have become aware of so many new ways of incorporating rhythmic movements into my classes, now that I see how these movements benefit my students, and myself in terms of the energy I expend in leading a class. We often hear the expression “being in the rhythm of life” and this is something that can begin like so many other things on the yoga mat!


 

You can read more about Craig and his programs by visiting his websites and Facebook page.