What are the benefits of incorporating music and movement into the classroom?
“Music is wonderful.”
On my first day of field placement surrounded by wide-eyed, curiosity-filled children, my co-op transitions the children into the music and movement time of the day. I smile at her as she begins to dance and sing along to the video she put on for her students. GoNoodle is a common program she uses, so the video was similar to the one I have included down below. As she sings and dances, she looks at me and says, “It is amazing what music can do. Music is the only reason these children learned patterns. Music is wonderful.” I immediately felt so connected to this statement and to my co-op because I now understood that my passion for music can truly benefit my future students. Since that first day, I have been taking note of her use of music and movement in her daily routine so that I can explore this important topic even further.
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Music and Movement to Improve Transitions
As I continued to observe in my field placement, I noticed that music is often used to alleviate the stress that can occur during transitions. Transitions can be tough for students because changing from one activity to another might be frustrating or confusing. I think playing a fun or soothing song is a great way to calm students down during this time. My co-op typically uses the same songs for certain transitions, such as the clean-up song when center time is over or a morning song for transitioning to the carpet for morning meeting. I think creating this routine for children is important so that they can feel some sort of consistency even while they are transitioning from one area to another. Transitions are a serious struggle for many teachers and students, so I strongly advocate the use of music and movement to lower stress levels during transitions.
Music and movement is an extremely beneficial brain break for students. It allows the students to have a moment to recharge after a long day of learning and develop their gross motor skills. When I observed their designated time for music and movement, the children were able to dance as wildly as they wanted to so that they could get their jitters out to focus on their learning for the remainder of the day. After this time of dancing and fun, they were able to continue their learning with less issues of focusing on their work.
Movement can also allow students to express their emotions and learn about their own boundaries between their peers in a safe space. The music that supports the movement can influence the children’s emotions and moods as well, depending on the tone and pace of the songs. Children can practice regulating emotions while still having fun with their dancing and singing along. With certain videos used for movement activities, children can even increase their skills of following the directions and imitating movements. These are just a few benefits of many to support the use of music and movement in the classroom!
How to Implement Music and Movement
Teachers are becoming more and more focused on sticking to their curriculum and preparing for standardized tests, struggling to find time to incorporate music and movement for their students. They also fear that these types of activities can get out of control. Although following the standards and a certain curriculum is very important, educators must remember that students will need a brain break between learning. The standards support this as a necessity as well, which is something important to note. It is crucial that educators have an intentional mindset as they incorporate music and movement activities into their schedule so that they do it with a purpose. I think by having this set time for these activities will help the teacher and students stick their schedule to prevent time being wasted for other daily events.
On a final note, one of the most important factors of incorporating music and movement in a daily routine is to just have fun with it! If the children see a teacher letting loose while dancing and singing, they will feel much more comfortable in that learning environment. I have had to learn that it does not matter if you feel embarrassed in front of the children because they will LOVE you as long as you are enthusiastic and excited to sing and dance with them! I have such a passion for music, and now with my experiences in field, a passion for movement as well. I cannot wait to bring this passion into my future classroom, and I hope that you feel encouraged to try these types of activities in your classroom as well!
Thank you so much for reading!
Furmanek, D. donnafurmanek@yahoo. co. (2014). Classroom Choreography. YC: Young Children, 69(4), 80–85.