To be able to participate in movement, children must be able to choose to control their movement, they also need motor control and awareness to be able to listen and feel the music. Brain Gym exercises can be used for children who have not developed this naturally to help to connect the two hemispheres. As children get older they become more self-conscious but they still need to be able to move, even though their are academic goals we demonstrate that their is a need for balance in life. Accept children’s choice as to whether they move and sing.
Free movement with music for fast walking, slow stepping and galloping
Have a time and space for a group of children to move freely in the environment to respond to music. Let them listen to the music and respond with their feet as they like. This should be part of the integration of music and movement each day.
Further ideas are in the book Montessori and Music by Elizabeth Barn Barnett who worked at a children’s House in Vienna with Dr Montessori. It contains a compilation of games with many styles of music including Waltzes and Polka.
Bouncing a ball on the Beat
A soft ball is attached to an elastic band with a hoop around the child’s wrist, it can be thrown against the floor or wall when the child hears a beat. This was an idea of Anna Maria Maccaheroni.
Link with literature
Read a story or poem and ask some of the children to respond using movement or with the bells.
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General body awareness exercises
Ask the children to move and respond to a bell you play by changing directions, freezing, touching an object or a body part. Children can be paired to have an ‘acting person’ and a ‘mirror’ and copy the movement when they hear the signal.
Walking on the Line
Young children can continue the ellipse exercises, walking on their tip toes or heals and carrying things.
The Silence Game
Older children can practice inhibiting movement in their changing bodies
Make games which relate to the accents encourage the children to relate to them sensorially and later give language ‘Tonic accent’ emphasises pitch, ‘agogic accent’ relates to duration, ‘metric accent’ is the recurrent rhythm and ‘dynamic accent’ the loudness or softness of a sound. Adajego (slow), allegro (fast) allegato (smoothly connected movement) and staccato (harsh). Subdivide the dynamic accent sing a simple song, have a modifying word on card e.g. ‘Piano’ (soft)or ‘Forte’ (strong). Also give the terms and symbols for a crescendo and a decrescendo.
To give these ask the children sing a familiar song and show them a card with one of the terms above and the children moderate their singing. Once the child knows the meaning of one song well use several modifiers in one song. Later show them the abbreviations musicians use and use these in the game.
Later play some music and ask the children to use the nomenclature you have given to describe it.
Stanford-Jones offers workshops with children which lead to a performance with a focus on songs and his wife who is a ballerina. He offers many games playing with the piano including a ‘heartbeat exercise’. For the Heartbeat exercise’, find your pulse on your wrist or neck and tap it with your free hand on a desk, tap it with your foot or on the back of a friend.