Movement (3)

Januari 2019

Young children love to move to music. And often you will see that when music is being played or even an unaccompanied song is being sung, young children will move along. Lovely to see. The question is: is this dancing or movement to music? Is there something we (should) see in this? What would we want to see ( if desired)? Is there a meaning?

Music is movement because it is impossible not to move when making music. But this is not the same as dancing. Also, music can be made without instruments. Moreover, making music is not the same as making big movements with/on musical instruments. Music incorporates also listening and sitting still is a part of this.

Synchronising movement and singing are the most important musical activities in a music lesson. Letting the body move to the beat of the music. This can be done with large movements but also with very small movements. Even when we sing and sit still, something moves. Except that it is impossible not to move at all, there is always movement when we make music. Small movements of, for example, the fingers are less obvious, but not less important. On the contrary. For singing, for possible playing a flute, piano or bassoon later the fine motor skills are of great importance. Vocal cords are also a muscle and belong to fine motor skills.

Singing a song and making movements that support the musical purpose of the song with the fingers, is perhaps less spectacular than making big leaps on music. Of course it may be cheerful and fun, the intention is that something is offered that can be taken along in the sense of new musical information.

Dancing is stylised movement to music. Dancing is beautiful and very important and wonderful to do. Dance lessons have a different purpose than music with the under-fours. Movement itself is the goal. In music, movement is a means to the goal: to make music sound. Now the means and purpose are almost inherent to each other, but that is another discussion.

The counterpart of moving is, rudely spoken, sitting still, but in the meantime you can "set in motion" your hearing organ, your listening. If you are moving all the time, or better in large, clearly visible movement, something is missing: calmness. Calmness to listen. Calmness to see what someone else does. Calmness, to literally synchronise with what is other. 

So, in addition to musical body control in movement, musical body control at rest is also an important part of the music lesson. Because especially if you make music together you have to take the other person into account.

Parents are - literally - a moving example. During the lesson, I always say: join in! Sing along. Move along. Be an example for your child. Synchronise with and on the music together.

As adults, we can connect to the musical experience that young children have through movement. We can give movement (musical) meaning by participating, by giving an example. To eventually make music together.

More information:

Thesis: Music is Movement