Diving Deeper - Physical Skills - By Taryn Wright
"You are the music while the music lasts" TS Elliot
This is a quote that has always resonated with me. I think we all know that feeling our favourite music elicits. The music takes over and there's that irresistible pull to tap, twirl or dance and a invigorating surge of energy that goes with it. It's a challenge to sit still when music comes on, as is demonstrated so wonderfully when we see babies bopping along to the beat and often perfectly in time.
The fact is there is a natural musician and dancer in us all. We are born with a predisposition to move to music. There is a great deal of research into music and movement, but in short it stimulates the cerebellum and pleasure centres of the brain. The cerebellum plays a role in co-ordination, timing, balance and precision and, when stimulated, enhances learning of physical skills. Studies have found that the more babies move to music and match the beat, the more they smile. The conclusion, music makes us happy and being happy makes us move.
So what could be better than to pair music and movement to assist in children's physical development? Using them in tandem provides a great reciprocity where our musical development is enhanced by movement and physical development is enhanced by music.
Mini Maestros classes are loaded with physical learning opportunities. Here's a brief insight into some of the ways in which our classes encourage children to learn through movement.
Finger plays are a great way to develop body awareness and motor control. Finger plays can be simple such as "This Little Pig" where you wiggle your child's finger/toes to assist in rhythmical awareness and body awareness, or like Tommy Thumb where children gain finger awareness independently. They can be even more complex as in Eency Weency Spider where children learn more advanced finger control and perform a variety of actions in the context of a story.
Percussion instruments are an integral component of our classes. For the younger children they provide opportunities for grasping and using larger movements of the arms and hands. As children get older they start to use instruments in response to contrasts such as loud/soft, fast/slow, thus learning how to adjust motor control to an external stimulus. Ostinati or rhythmical patterns add a new level of complexity in our 3 - 4 year old classes. Then the program introduces tuned percussion (chime bars) which provide further physical challenges for children to master. Pincer grip, hand-eye coordination, precision in motor control and crossing the mid-line of the body are among the skills learned during our 4 - 5 years chime bar activities.
Action songs and body percussion can be used to develop all kinds of gross and fine motor skills, and to internalise a sense of musical beat. Our body is the first musical instrument we encounter and by internalising beat children can learn to coordinate movements and interact with their environment in a purposeful way. Repetition is essential for children to master these skills and practising in a musical way ensures they enjoy the learning process. Our welcome songs are great examples of body percussion and actions. A ritual opening to the class, the welcome song is an energising beginning and provides opportunities for children to explore and practise their developing motor control.
Body percussion and partner work are also features of our classes that refine children's motor skills. Hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness are learned through interacting with with a partner, as is cross lateral movement which is so essential in developing neural pathways that help both sides of the brain coordinate in cognitive and physical ways. This is essential for tasks such as writing, reading and tracking with the eyes and even putting on socks and tying shoelaces. Simple songs and rhymes that encourage crawling are also a great stepping stone for crossing the mid-line. For example "I spied a spider" in our babies classes and acting out "The Old Grey Cat" for the older children.
This is just a glimpse into the ways in which music can enrich the physical learning of children. Our Mini Maestros teachers are always happy to explain the purpose of our songs and activities, so feel free to ask if you would like to know more. Most of all remember - we're all born natural musicians and dancers, so put on the music at home and get moving.
- How Music is Like the Clothes We Wear - By Pip Hargrave
- Term 3 classes - New enrolments are welcome at any time.
- Benefits of Early Music Education - By Freya Dalgleish
- Inter-Generational Music Making = Strengthening Friendships Through Songs and Dance by Jo Irwin, Macedon Ranges Franchisee.
- Diving Deeper - Music from Around the World - Janet Collins
- Why Have Concerts? - By Maddy Kelly, Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Music and Mood Enhancement
- Diving Deeper - Music and Vocabulary By Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo.
- Diving Deeper - Lullaby and good night - hopefully... By Judy O'Neill
- Kodály, Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki - By Jo Irwin - Mini Maestros Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Franchisee
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- Diving Deeper - Connection by Maddy Kelly - Mini Maestros' Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Imagination. By Caroline Paterson
- Diving Deeper - Creativity by Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo Franchisee
- Interview with Dr Anita Collins – By Esther Bertram
- Onlooker Learners - By Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head Of Teaching
- Meet The Team - Ally Hvalica
- Music and Intellectual Development - By Alison Cusack & Linda Repic
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 1 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 2 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Inter-generational music making is building healthy communities
- Writing Music Down - by 3MBS
- Diving Deeper - Social Skills by Kate Rice
- The Importance of Repetition
- Diving Deeper - Learning to listen by Robyn Stewardson
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Esther Bertram - Marketing and Franchise Development Manager
- Meet the Team - Jo Irwin
- Diving Deeper - Imagination and Music By Lisa Marcolin
- Speech Development - Stories from Parents by Annette L. Graham
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 1 of 2
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 2 of 2
- Meeting the Head Office Team - Maddy Kelly
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Bruce Fethers - Co-owner & Managing Director
- Diving Deeper - Dance - by Cathy Edgar
- The Senses - By Robyn Grose
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Jennifer Smith - Co-owner & Music Director
- The Power of Music in Expressing Children's Emotions by Chantelle Alvaro
- Play - By Kate Howard
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Stephanie Migliore
- Relationships - By Ally Hvalica
- Developmental Milestones - By MaryRose Harrison
- Stories From Parents/Grandparents - Bobbie Carroll
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Monika Szilagyi
- JOY by Tiff Ikin
- Music Education
- Peekaboo Scarves by Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- All Shapes of the World
- Music Forever
- Children of Tomorrow: Thoughts On Mindful Music Education in the Early Childhood Space
- Nurturing the Love of Music
- Music. Feel it all over.
- Mini Maestros - It's Not Just About The Children.
- The Creative Life
- 5 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity in Our Children
- Discovering the Joy of Music
- Five Alternative Ways to Say "Well Done!"
- "Good morning Bumblebee"
- A Mini Maestros Moment
- The exchange between teacher and child
- The joy of being a new mum, and the importance of connection learning and play
- BABIES CLASSES - a very special and important time for you and your child.
- 5 Ways To Jam With Your Child At Home
- Was Your First Mini Maestros Class What You Expected?
- Moving to a Steady Beat and the Young Brain
- Learning an Instrument