12 Nov The Rhythm is Gonna Get You
Preschool is an exciting time for many “firsts.” It’s the first time children leave their parents to brave the day with their first community of classmates. The first time children learn to acclimate their minds and bodies to the rhythm of the classroom’s daily schedule. Their first time with art, music, library and movement. As a movement specialist, I believe that just as we learn our ABC’s, learning about rhythm is also an essential foundation for early childhood experiences.
While I incorporate many forms of movement and music in my sessions, my favorite part of movement class is the drum circle when body awareness, creativity, and rhythm coincide. In movement class, we have already begun a guided rhythm exploration with the most popular tempo: 4/4. I lead with my drum and the children each grab a rhythm instrument.
The 4/4 tempo has historically been used in all existing musical genres and continues to triumph over all other rhythmic patterns. So, when we incorporate the drum in our preschool movement routine, we count to 4 in repetition, graduating to a steady syncopated 4/4 drum beat. We open our minds and our bodies to the rhythm as we dance and move until we ultimately break out into a wiggle frenzy! Movement class is a celebration that is innate and shamelessly filled with elation!
When your little child dances to music they love, it is the purest form of joy! They move in ways that haven’t been taught, organically knowing to bounce their knees or jump, to move their arms and wiggle. Sometimes, I will offer movement inspiration into the activity to encourage children to let different body parts lead and tell a story. For example, I may ask the children “What would it look like if you danced with your chin?” Of course, there are no wrong answers! It is important for the children to have a safe space where they can be silly, explorative, and do things THEIR way. I love to celebrate that intuitive joy that erupts in drum circles as we connect movement with a deeply rooted self-confidence and independence.
I have found that children are the most receptive to trying something like dancing when I participate with them. Is there a favorite song your child likes listening to? One that they just can’t help but dance to when they hear it? I highly recommend dancing with your little one at home, and feeling how joyful they become. Turning up the tunes and being silly can alleviate some adult stress, too! Grab a spatula or a hairbrush as a microphone, jump around the living room, and have a ball! Soon, your little one will be picking up on all of your cool dance moves!
Rhythm and dance can bring families together, whether it’s through a drum circle, a concert at Lincoln Center, or a dance party in your living room. My challenge to you is to encourage your child to dance with you. Maybe they will teach you something new about movement, too!
Lindsay Andretta is Montclare’s Movement and Library Specialist. With a rich background in music, dance, and yoga, Lindsay adds that: “My background with drum circles originated in my own hometown, where I grew up dancing to the beat of my friend’s drums weekly at the Village Green. I loved listening to the music, but even more, I loved seeing people making music together. My little wiggly feet couldn’t help but move to the beat of the drum. The whole experience left me inspired by the magic that communities could manifest when they spend time celebrating and creating a communal rhythm.”