Friday, February 18, 2011

Beat Competence: Natural Ability or Learned Skill? (post No.2)

The Surprise
My first instinct when I am working with a child who clearly can not keep a beat is to do something that is not obviously musical.

I want to have them immediately on their tummy.  
I call it "floor work" or "tummy time".
Parents and most teachers are surprised by this response. I know it's not obvious but I also know it's one of the ways to bring children to a place of readiness for keeping a beat.

I know that children who can not keep a beat have missed a piece in their development and that it is recoverable.  We just have to incorporate developmental movements as often as possible in class and in activities outside of class.

As I mentioned in my first post earlier this week about beat competence that I am not including children here with severe cognitive, physical, developmental challenges...those challenges require a more complex response.

Getting Ready
We slither and lizard around.
We crawl on all fours and roll on the ground.
We pull ourselves on the floor using just our hands and legs with the full weight of our bodies on our tummies.

I touch on some movement games in previous posts, and also in a 5-part blog posting about why we use movement in a music class.

All this crawling and slithering is physically demanding for children who "need" it.  They often resist it.  
Children who don't really "need" it, usually love games with these movements in them.  
Children who DO NEED it, complain and resist and generally try to get out of playing this way.

Interesting, no?!


  1. Great post. You would be very interested in some training in Brain Gym!

  2. Thanks for your comment! In fact, I do have some training in Brain Gym:) It's such a great resource.

    My next post, post #3 on Beat Competence (next week) recommends a book by Dr. Hannaford, titled "Smart Moves". In that book she gives an in depth description of Brain Gym with photos, etc...


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