The Benefits of Music: Movement is the Magic Ingredient


My mentor used to tell us that turning a child upside down nurtures brain development.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Nina Mogar, Professor at City College in San Francisco, has been studying brain development in young children since the nineteen sixties! I was fortunate to have been in her Child Observation Classes during the 1970s when my own children were very young. Read more about Nina at his link: Nina Mogar Project Commotion

Nina Mogar, ECE Professor at City College San Francisco, CA

One important component of these parent education classes sponsored by City College, was the Movement Room. The first half of Nina's 2 hour class would be held in the activity room where children 15 months to 5 years old would explore hands-on activities like sand play and building blocks. Nina would be buzzing around the classroom quickly explaining to parents the benefits of these activities for their child's overall development, especially their brain development. 

 Photo from the artists at Dollar Club Photo

Photo from the artists at Dollar Club Photo

The second half of Nina's class was held upstairs where we  had a whole gymnasium set up for little tots to move to their heart's content! This was Nina's passion! There were metal and wood climbers along with large balls and cloth tunnels galore. But the really popular activities were Nina's "inventions." 

There were sturdy hammock swings hung with both ends connected to the ceiling from a single huge  hook so that a small child could straddle it like riding a horse. We put small pillows in the "swing" to create a comfortable spot for the child to sit and the child's feet were able to touch the floor so they could push themselves off with little help from the adults. Children could swing back and forth or even twirl around and they did! 

                                                                    From the "La Siesta" Hammock Swing Site

This, Nina told us, helped nurture both sides of the child's developing brain so that the child could later easily learn to read and write as well as solve problems. 

There was this "thing" she called a "Bumpity-bump" that was a very popular activity center. Nina sewed king-sized sheets together and then filled these with chunks of  foam cut-offs that you could get at foam bed stores around the city. When a child took a step onto the Bumpity-bump, s/he would immediately experience a change in the center of balance and with each step that center would change. There was always a soft place to land and roll around upon a Bumpity-bump, and children clamored to get a turn on this fun "thing."

                                                      From "Star Fish Therapies" Website

 But the true benefits of walking, crawling, and  tumbling on this "thing" was, according to Nina, the beginning of problem-solving and negotiating in space that the child was forced to do. The child was finding her/his own center of gravity.

Amidst the giggles and wonderful movement fun, the children were getting a good dose of food for their developing brains. Learning to take risks in a safe environment! And, this was definitely the most engaging part of her wonderful program for young children and their parents.

Movement fun in Music Class October 2011

                         The Following photos by Jeri-Jo Idarius Photography (from Carolyn's Archive: Magical Movement Company)

Movement is a part of every one of my music classes for children and the adults who attend with them! Music simply cannot be experienced without moving and so it is a natural occurrence, especially in the case of young children. 

However, we also understand that children need to move in order to learn. This important component of a child's experience in music class is thoughtfully incorporated and welcomed in every one of my lessons.

A young student will be encouraged to hop, hop, hop along to music that is "staccato" (filled with short, separate notes) and then encouraged to sway and rock to music that is "legato" (filled with long, connected notes). 

And, of course, the teacher always delights in the child's spontaneous expression (within safe classroom guidelines!) of movement to the varied musical selections that are offered to the children. 

Movement is the magic ingredient for success in the music classroom for young children!

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. Thanks for your support!

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home