Music AND Movement

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #174 – 20th May 2019

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Music AND Movement

When children are in the music class, or doing a music activity in the classroom, the class often includes movement, the purpose of which is either to teach a musical outcome like beat or tempo or for the affective aspect of music as in acting out a drama according to the musical sentiment. While movement in this context is perfectly valid and to be encouraged, it is usually seen as incidental to the specific music outcomes being taught. Movement is not incidental but fundamental to brain training.

While music certainly strengthens connections in the brain which improves co-ordination, it can be assumed that all you need is music. That is not quite the full picture. You need strength in the upper body to hold yourself upright, to hold an instrument for a period of time, and the stamina to endure the entire exercise. Above all, you need the fine-motor co-ordination to play the notes. The strength of those fingers comes initially from upper body strength, especially in the shoulders and arms.

Strength, stamina and co-ordination notwithstanding, how a child (any person really) moves is not only an indicator of how much exposure to movement they have had, but how well the brain is ‘wired’. Music can’t do it on its own. Movement can but those neural connections are enhanced through using music simultaneously. That is why it is called Music and Movement. There is a synergy there. It is not one or the other.

If you look at a child in your class who appears to be developing normally and keeps up with all class work including music, don’t assume there are no problems. Observe how they move. Timing is vital in music. Can the child stop when the music stops, move precisely as instructed with all the pauses and tempo changes and stay focussed throughout? What’s their balance like? Can they walk around the room on their heels, sides of feet, balls of the feet? Can they walk along a piece of ribbon heel to toe one foot after the other without looking down? Can they use both sides of the body correctly (for example galloping with one leg out front and only changing lead leg when you tell them to change) or do they rely too much on their dominant side?

There are lots of ways of testing movement skills. If you are in Perth or nearby, I recommend you attend the Move to Learn training being conducted this weekend. (Click here) I am sure you will be inspired to do the movement sequences regularly with your class. I promise the exercises are such fun for the children and, of course, immensely beneficial. Then all their lessons, including the music class, will improve immeasurably. You will have set them up for life, more so than you are already doing.


Move to Learn Perth

Saturday 25th May at Kalamunda (S.K.A.M.P) – all day training. Click Here for details. I will be attending briefly and holding a small stall.

Music Market Day Perth

For those in the music community, you will know that the details have changed. The date is Saturday 25th 8.30-10.30 am at Glengarry Primary School. Conflicted about attending the Move to Learn training? Get in touch with Anne Trigg and I’m sure you can make other arrangements. There are further details in the last Music Network News. Click Here.

Early Childhood Education State Conference Perth

Please diarise Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd June for this conference which I will be presenting at on the Friday. My session will be on the importance of movement and of course I will do my activities to music. Please come along if you can and say hello. For further details Click Here.

Quotes of the Week

Be the Biggest winner wanting to win.
Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to is.
Success is connected with continuous action.
It’s largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
You’re not finished when you’re defeated,
You’re only finished when you quit.
You can start afresh any time you choose.
Your failure is not in the falling down, but in the staying down.
It’s not over until it’s over.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.
If you’ve got the courage to stick it out, you can win.
The most important quality essential to success is
Be the biggest winner wanting to win.
Shelley Taylor Smith


Workshop with Move to Learn 21/10/2017

What was the most important thing you learned today?

The importance of music.
Use more music.
A reminder of the importance of music and movement.
How to use the scarves.

What would you tell others about this presentation?

It’s a fun way to add learning and movement. Thank you!
Do it!
I will tell everyone about it.


(Thanks to Dr Jenny Brockis)

What does a brain do when it sees a friend across the street?

It gives a brainwave!

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at conferences. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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