Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

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ECMMA Guest Room

Periodically, we hear from writers who wish to submit one article, or a short series of articles to the ECMMA Blog area. We now have a place, ECMMA Guest Room, for such writings.
We look forward to hear from many members of the ECMMA community.

 
 
 
 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily promote official policy of ECMMA.

The Kazoo – A Surprisingly Beneficial Instrument

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Put a kazoo in a child’s hand, even infant / toddlers, and they will explore.  At the same time, their brain will be reaping tremendous benefits.  In this blog, we will explore those benefits. Below is a definition of a kazoo.  Notice how they refer to the kazoo player as a musician.  This is because, as with any instrument, it can be played with great skill or just for fun.

A kazoo is a wind instrument unlike conventional brass and woodwind instruments. It is typically an open-ended, short

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Pointing Out the Finger Puppet Connection to Learning

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Maryann “Mar.” Harman BA Music/MA Ed
Founder of Music with Mar., Inc.

The cerebellum is larger in musicians by up to about 5%.  This suggests that finger exercise (as used in fingerplays for younger children / instrument lessons in older children) may prompt additional nerve growth.  (Schlaug et al 1998)

Why are finger plays and finger puppets so important for children?  Besides the fact that they are fun and very engaging, they get the whole brain involved. Any time we move, we activate

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Music Touches the Heart of Life

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  For many, that month just passes through without any thought of cancer.  Most focus on Fall, leaves, cooler weather and the coming of Halloween and Thanksgiving.  You are fortunate.  Others have a hard time getting through the month as they remember lost, innocent children or the children whose lives they are trying so desperately to save. 

Results showed that music increases an antibody that plays an important role in immunity of the mucous

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How Bouncing a Baby Leads to Reading Proficiency

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Stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences is necessary during the early years.  (Greenbough & Black; Shatz, 1992).

Innately, when holding a baby, we bounce it.  The baby's face lights up and that is usually followed by sounds of pleasure.  In this picture, you can see the infant already focused on the mom's face.  You may think you are just bouncing a baby.  BUT that baby is internalizing rhythm which will one day lead to reading proficiency.

Here is a blog I found that

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Singing the Praises of Music

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Those who know me are quite familiar with my passion for the brain research that supports the importance of music.  In my workshops, I interject brain facts and attendees often ask “Where is that from?”  Some of those facts were things I just knew from my Music Ed courses.  I needed to research more.  On my journey to get more familiar with these facts and putting them to practical use, I decided to answer their questions by creating a Facebook Page where every weekday a different fact about

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Music Every Day: Towards Integration in Early Childhood Education

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A guest column by Amoriza Gunnink

Music is a key component of children’s early development. Unfortunately, research shows that many educators in early care settings feel they lack the skills to provide authentic music experiences for young children.  It has been my experience and observation that while most early childhood centers honour creativity through play, few however, focus on arts skills development across the performing arts.  Music is often reduced to singing action songs

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Musings on Teaching

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“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” – Horace Mann

            I have slowly reached the realization, as the years pass, that early childhood music is truly our salvation for the future of music education.  Much of what is valuable learning– or in some cases harmful learning–occurs before the child reaches school age.  In early childhood music education we avoid grades and examinations, while assisting in the development of good habits and abilities that greatly

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Welcme to the ECMMA Guest Room

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Welcome to our most recent ECMMA Blog.

Periodically, we hear from writers who wish to submit one article, or a short series of articles to the ECMMA Blog area. We now have a HOME – ECMMA Guest Room.

If you have an article or two in mind for this venue, then please feel free to email Rick Townsend, ECMMA Managing Director, with your idea.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Enjoy your ECMMA Blogs.

Early Learning Through Contingent Music

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The term contingent music seems to be everywhere I look this week.  Interestingly, the phrase has been used in discussions about children of varying ages and abilities.  I found myself mulling over with fascination how amazing music is as a tool to shape outcomes and behaviors for young children.  Dr. Dena Register at the University of Kansas recently shared a very interesting music therapy case with students at University of Louisville where I teach.  She discussed the functions of music for

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Music Rich Environments

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Music naturally accompanies much learning that young children engage in during their day.  Anyone who has tried to get a young child to disengage from a toy he wants to play with and is met with screaming and protesting, may want to try inserting a song to distract and engage him in a new activity.  Getting young children to march can be difficult, but when you pair the marching with music, the task is usually more successful.  Children who are learning a new sequence of actions like dressing

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Mirror Neurons and the Infant Brain

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Let's take a dive into mirror neurons for a few posts.  Here are some short facts about mirror neurons:
 
  • A mirror neuron is a neuron which fires both when an animal/person performs an action and when the animal/person observes the same action performed by another 
  • The neuron "mirrors" the behavior of another just as if the observer were performing the action themselves
  • These neurons have been observed in primates, including humans, and in some birds
  • In humans, they are
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Harps, Drums, and Rainsticks, Oh My!

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For the past few weeks I have been providing music therapy services in the infant room at my university's Early Learning Campus.  The babies range in age from 6 weeks to 6 months.  Many times several of the infants are fussy and crying when we begin sessions.  Three effective uses of music for calming have shown consistent results in calming the infants.  The favorite of the staff members in the infant room (by far) is the use of the small 26 string harp.  As soon as the infant's feet are

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Puppet, Puppet, Play With Me

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How do you know which puppet will be the one that causes the screaming and crying when passing out puppets to toddlers and young children?   There are both ends of the spectrum possible during this event...the child who is scared of the puppet and is crying and/or screaming in fear, as well as the child who is extremely upset because they did not get the puppet they wanted when it was pulled out of the bag.  I've tried many different methods with this befuddling puppet process.  A traditional

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Developmental Music Interactions with Infants

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What developmental skills can be addressed through music?  If you visit the developmental milestones section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, you will find links for 2 months old through 5 years old for milestones you can observe as infants and young children develop.  As you scroll through each stage, you may begin to start thinking of ways music can address and set up learning for different developmental skills.  Music therapists assess these very skills as they

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Mine, Mine, Mine!

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What do you do when there are not enough of the same instrument for every child in a music group to have identical instruments?  Invariably, if some young children have lollipop drums and others have shakers or claves, there will be crying and tears about not getting the lollipop drum.  There is always the "you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit" saying.  But anyone who has worked with children under 2 years old would probably agree that the saying will not only NOT be heard or

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Music For Developmental Play

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How early do you start using music for developmental stimulation?  As soon as the infant is able to attend to musical interaction without becoming over-stimulated, you can begin fostering development through music.   For the very young infant, singing songs with exaggerated facial expression close to your infant's face is a good place to start.  This will encourage bonding and nonverbal communication.  Babies love to see expressive faces and enjoy music.  Adults can hold infants facing a

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Establishing Infant Routines

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We last discussed soothing babies with new music that is attention grabbing.  Now, we will talk about the opposite method of using familiar music to establish routine.  Very young babies have the ability to establish expectation based on cues from their environment.  Music has the ability to serve as an auditory cue, and with repetition can let an infant know what is about to happen.  An obvious choice then, is to sing the same song during every naptime/bedtime routine.  If this is

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Musical Peek-a-Boo

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I was recently asked how new mothers could use music with their newborn infants.  There are so many opportunities to sing to babies and use music with them, but the question is, how do sleep deprived new moms remember to add one more thing into their full day?  The next few posts will explore this question and will hopefully provide a resource for realistic incorporations of music with little ones.  The first image that comes to mind when thinking about newborns is crying.  As unnerving as it

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Music To Structure Your Day

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Can you imagine a day without music?  So many people incorporate music into their routines without really thinking about it.  In taking an inventory of how music served my day, I found that I used music to get motivated on my drive to work, to chill on my drive home from work, to have a dance party with the kids during clean up time at home, to relax while cooking dinner, and to reminisce when the house was quiet.  Conversely, taking an inventory of how music served my children’s day, I

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Time For New Music!

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After listening to the same set of music while traveling across 4 states, I am now looking into new music. The interesting thought about my desire for some new music is that I am tired of hearing the same music. None of my children have asked me to get new songs…nor have any of them complained about the music they heard over and over again. It seems that young children have the ability to withstand the repetition of songs for a much longer time period than adults (at least this adult!). 

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