As a music teacher, I am often disheartened when a classroom teachers tells me there is 'no time' to use music in the classroom. Music enhances a lesson; it doesn't take time away from it. And that is what my blogs will be about - how to use music in the curriculum and have the knowledge to back up what you are doing.
On the 25th of each month, I will focus on a particular skill / activity and how music helps to develop the ability to perform. This month, I am just posting a general, rounded commentary on why music NEEDS to be part of your daily routine along with brain based activities.
Ken Robinson is an advocate for the arts in education. He has a Ted Talk that is informative, entertaining and relevant. You may want to check it out at Ted Talks - Ken Robinson
A new school year has begun. Everyone usually begins with either an invigorated "It's a new year and I'm going to accomplish a lot!" OR a disillusioned "It's a new year and I don't know how I'm going to include everything they are demanding of me now!" attitude. You are the only one who can adjust that. I'd like to offer some simple suggestions for activities that can get you and your children in a good place to learn.
1. Always hydrate! The body needs 1 6oz glass of water for each 20lbs of body weight per day.
2. Brain buttons are helpful when feeling uncomfortable. Placing a hand over your belly button and one on your chest and moving hands in a circular motion increases oxygen by relaxing the muscles. This movement helps to stimulate right and left brain connection. Plus, it is VERY easy to do. Background music can provide mood as well as a prompt for time.
3. Cross crawls can be done by bringing the right knee to the left elbow and then left knee to the right elbow. This is helpful when a child is operating from one side of the brain - which is what we do when stressed. These can be done to any song with a good basic 4/4 count. (Check out "Maerobics" at www.muciwwithmar.com Go there from Sept 25 to Sept 30 and download it for FREE. Yup. FREE. Use code - Brain)
PSST! ~ ~ Some extra info - This is also a reading readiness indicator. Children who have difficulty with this activity also have trouble reading. Which means - - DO this a lot to help for cross lateral stimulation.
Here is a link to me doing "Maerobics" with some of my children. I had the children take a brain break and we did some hook ups. One of them asked "Wow! What just happened? That felt good!" YES!
4. Hook Ups help to calm. Many schools have begun using these at the beginning of the day. They can be done standing, sitting or laying down. You cross your right leg over your left. Put your arms in front of you, palms down and cross your right arm over your left. Clasp your hands and bring your arms into your body, resting under your chin. Stay in this position and breath in through your nose and then blow out your mouth.
Music can be used while doing hook ups. However, it should be instrumental, calm music so as not to interfere with the brain focus on the activity.
Doing all these things every day will not only improve the mood and enhance learning; it will also give your students the skills to help themselves.
This year, when your music students have to leave to go to lessons, keep this brain fact in mind :
Please let me know if there are particular activities you want to know about that have to do with music and brain research. I would love to help with an answer. In the next few months we will will explore the benefits of marching, keeping a beat, kazoos, singing, dancing and much more. Stay TUNED (get it? tuned?)
Maryann "Mar." Harman is the founder o Music with Mar., a company dedicated to producing top quality, brain research based music, products and workshops. Her recordings have won several national awards. She travels world wide sharing her love of music and hosted BAM Radio's Music and Learning Channel. Learn more about Mar. at www.musicwithmar.com or visit her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/musicwithmar