Saturday, September 16, 2017

4 Reasons to Dance

Kids need to move - we all know that. And yes, GoNoodle is a wonderful brain break for the kids in the classroom. But using dance in the Music room is different.

Phyllis Weikart is the accepted authority on using pattern dances in the music class. Her Rhythmically Moving series is the ultimate source for step by step instructions for folk dances from ALL over the world.

But when your principal walks by your room and questions why your students are movin' and groovin', here are 4 valid reasons to give to him or her.

1. It's truly engaging. The idea is simple. All of us retain whatever we are learning if we are truly interested. Because dancing is so enjoyable, your students will be focused and joining in the fun. Even reluctant students will see their classmates have a blast and they won't be able to stop themselves from giving it a try.

2. Kids are actively listening, not passively sitting. Now knowing how to listen to music in a concert is definitely a desired skill to have your students master. This kind of listening is different. Students must listen to the music in order to move at the correct time. They listen for melodies, repeated sections and changes in phrases and tempo. And they can demonstrate with their bodies that they are understanding what they are hearing.

3. Dancing is social. Brain research tells us that we are social creatures and we retain material better when we are participating and sharing it with others. It requires using appropriate behavior. It encourages cooperation and support among all peer groups. When students make mistakes, their classmates are ready to help them get back on track in order to keep the dance going. Students frequently laugh at their own mistakes so the stress level of trying something is reduced, even eliminated.

4. Dancing exposes kids to music from all over the world.
The Music Education National Standards mention becoming familiar with folk music from all cultures. As we know, music, particularly from our own personal background, evokes emotion. Connecting students to music of different heritages brings an understanding on this more emotional level as well as an intellectual one.

Introducing dance into your music curriculum is sound pedagogy It's also really enjoyable!

As always, I'd love to know if you've used dance in your music classes. Please leave a comment below.

Happy Honking! Ellen


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