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Music and movement: the many benefits for young learners

During group and 1:1 music therapy we use movement to music quite frequently. Sometimes we keep the beat with body percussion and add melody with our voices. Other times we use pre-recorded music to move to.

Music activates the motor cortex and helps to time movements. We use movement to music for children who are working to develop gross and fine motor skills, motor imitation, attention and developing social awareness and pro-social behavior.

"Studies suggest that music can positively affect social behaviors of children. For example: (i) kindergartners are more likely to choose to cooperate with another partner than to play by themselves following a shared musical experience, as opposed to a shared non-musical experience (Kirschner and Tomasello, 2010), (ii) repeated sessions of joint music-making enhance elementary school children’s emotional empathy compared to verbal play controls (Rabinowitch et al., 2013), (iii) elementary school children’s singing is associated with a self-reported sense of social inclusion (Welch et al., 2014), and (iv) children undergoing musical training in elementary school tend to be more sympathetic to others, according to self-report questionnaires (Schellenberg et al., 2015)."

Interested in learning more? Read the full article here!

We write many of our own motor songs, some of which can be found in the "videos" section of our website. Other favorites include:

-Movement to music using Phyllis Weikart's CD "Rhythmically Moving to Music" (favorite is "Seven Jumps")

-When the Spirit Says (Raffi) (unaccompanied for modeling)

-Down in the Jungle (Barefoot Books....we use individual photos instead of the book so our hands are free to model)

-Little Red Car (motor sequencing song)

-Bear hunt with actions (we use individual pictures instead of the book so our hands are free to model the movements).

Have some favorites you'd like to share? Let us know and we'll add them to our list!

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