Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

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Movement Matters

After many years of making music with children, Eve Kodiak, M.M., became interested in the brain/body processes that underlie the learning process. As an Educational Kinesiologist, she now works with people of all ages, using music and developmental movement to create positive change. Eve can be found in her office at The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, MA, or at home in New Hampshire, writing and recording. Her CD/book sets include Rappin' on the Reflexes and Feelin' Free, which combine developmental movements with songs, raps, and narrations with music. Eve also performs and records as an improvising classical pianist. More information and articles on music and developmental movement may be found at www.evekodiak.com.

 
 
 
 

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

Flow

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I just returned from the ECMMA Northeast Regional Convention, and I am feeling peaceful and happy. I usually return from these conferences packed with information and conversation, but feeling exhausted and overstimulated. What was the difference?

There were some practical differences – a smaller group than you find at the National Convention, an easy car ride home . . . but I think the main difference was in the content. Just about every presentation was really about Flow.

Like a musical

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If You’re Happy And You Know It, Integrate a Reflex!

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People often think of movement as something to be added to other material to make it more interesting. But actually, movement is the original deal. As the embryo forms, hormones are created and changed - and so are movements, in equally specific and developmentally timed ways. These movement patterns, present from the very beginning, are called infant reflexes.

As children and adults, we make all of our movements in relation to those original reflex patterns we experienced as embryos,

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Planes, Ears, and Babies: A Survival Manual

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I can usually find an empty seat next to a baby because babies tend to cry more than other passengers do. There are physiological as well as emotional reasons for this. Here are some of those reasons – along with some things you can do to help bring your baby out of stress.

Aching Ears. Take-off and landing – and the resulting barometric changes - can be particularly hard on babies. Our Eustachian tubes equalize pressure between the middle ear and the outside atmosphere, acting as valves.

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Getting Centered: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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When I meet a new child, and want to catch his attention – like the little boy squirming on the window seat of my last airplane flight – I often begin with “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” This song has great hand and arm motions – both fine and gross motor, and these motions are automatically integrating. Itsy Bitsy Spider is a fantastic way to catch a child’s attention, and bring that attention into a centered and grounded place.

To explore why and how, let’s first look at the movements.

“The

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Flying with Kids

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I’ve been flying Southwest a lot lately, which means no assigned seats – and I seem to always be one of the last people boarding the plane.
But there’s almost always an empty seat next to a baby. Most people aren’t interested in sitting next to a source of potential crying, squirming, and errant crumbs.
But babies are my favorite airplane companions. The air on a flight is always stale and recycled, and the people are generally hunkered down in “airplane mode” – absorbed in their laptops or

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The Threat of Joy

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Last week, I went to a meeting at my son’s high school to re-visit the school’s mission statement for the athletic program. The principal had us go around and circle the phrases and words that we wished to keep. One of these phrases referred to making athletics an “enjoyable and rewarding” experience.
Interestingly enough, “enjoyable” turned out to be a hotly contested word. Many of the parents and coaches present seem to feel that the word was unnecessary (“if you have a rewarding

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I LIke to Laugh, Laugh, Laugh… .

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On Fridays, I have a regular 3:30 appointment with Luis. This is a great way to end my work week, because the only thing eleven year-old Luis loves more than music is laughter. We didn’t always know that – when Luis showed up at The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine, he was scared, angry, uncooperative, constantly clinging to his mother, and so unstable structurally that couldn't even really sit up. But a couple of my colleagues did their magic, and by the time they sent Luis to me for

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Sensory Childhood

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I’ve just returned from visiting my parents. They still live in the house I grew up in, and every time I visit them, I re-enter the country of my childhood. The old neighborhood has changed some in these fifty years – many of the little bungalows have pushed up second stories, the wide canopies of elm trees had to be cut down, and the empty lots where we played hide-and-seek have been built up. But the streets still form the ancestral map, running the exact same directions toward the exact

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Order and Attention

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A twenty year-old college student came to see me a couple of weeks ago. She said, “I think I might have Attention Deficit Disorder.”

“Why?” I say.

“I’ll be sitting in class and I keep looking at my cell phone to see the time.  Sometimes it’s three minutes.  Sometimes it’s one minute.”

I asked her to draw a picture of her daily activities, so we could see what priorities emerged. As she was working, she stopped to pull her cell phone out of her bag. “It’s my brother,” she reported,

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No News Is…

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I don’t watch the news.  And when I listen to it on NPR, it’s usually in five-minute increments. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for being bombarded by pain from every corner of the globe.

Some years ago, I had a conversation with an older woman who grew up in the rural south. She heard her first radio broadcast at the age of sixteen. “The announcer related that there had been a murder,” she said, “and then, in the exact same tone of voice, went on to say that today, the weather

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A Clear Window

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Movies and novels used to be my bread and butter . . . but not in the last ten years. I think about the characters, and I spend enough time thinking about clients, friends, and family without adding a host of fictional people to the list.  And, as I wrote in my last entry, No News Is . . . , I can find sheer amount of suffering in any given half hour of the news to be overwhelming.
But among the things I do like to watch, at times, is a BBC series called The Vicar of Dibley, which aired

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Listen!

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I know that I’m writing this blog for the EARLY Childhood Movement and Music Association, but ten or fifteen years after that toddler is sitting on your lap singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” he may be holding his first rock band rehearsal in your basement.  Here’s my report, live, on-location:

Last week, my son’s homeroom teacher asked him to get a few kids together to play at a creative writing event he was hosting at the school. First task:  find a name for the band.

These days, you

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Jambo

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If “Slap-Clap” is my favorite kind of body percussion, my favorite song to do it with is “Jambo.” This Ella Jenkins classic has been my basic opening song for thirty years. Ella is a heroine of mine – someone who has been spreading authentic, multi-cultural, easy-to-sing-and-play children’s music all over globe for longer than I have been alive.  And at 86, she is still performing and teaching!

“Jambo” means “hello” in Swahili, and “Sana” means something like “together.” That’s it – those

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Slap-Clap!

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My “hands-down” favorite type of body percussion is “Slap-Clap.”  This simple alternation between slapping thighs and clapping hands is pure genius.

Clapping, by itself, can get tiring, both for the body and for the ear.  You have to hold your arms up to do it, at roughly the same level, and we don’t have the same kind of muscle control for lateral movement as we do up-and-down.  And, for the listening ear, a series of claps can get motoric. It’s possible to lose the sense of the rhythm in

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The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

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It is natural to want our children to participate in the things that give us pleasure! But "helping" children to perform actions for which they are not developmentally ready may not be the best way to teach them these things. In Waving Bye-Bye, my most recent blog entry, we explored what happens when a child’s arm is waved for him. http://www.ecmma.org/blog/movement_matters/waving_bye_bye   After “Bye Bye," the next most common reason for an adult to manipulate a child’s limbs is probably

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Waving Bye-Bye

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How many times have you seen a mother scoop up her baby to leave a gathering, brightly call, “Bye bye!” – and wave her child’s arm? Children generally are very stoic about this procedure – but what are they learning?

Imagine the feeling – you are suddenly moved from the floor to adult eye-level. While you are taking in the people and scenery from this new perspective, you your arm gets waved back and forth. Does this movement have anything to do with you?

Or better yet, have a friend wave

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Participation or Performance?  A Cultural Dilemma

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In most cultures throughout history, all the people sang and danced and played games.  There might be designated “experts” – the village dance bands, the traveling bards, the Olympic athletes, the court composers – but music and movement were activities that engaged everyone, for recreation and community, for self-expression and healing and for play.
In many modern cultures – especially here in North America – this is no longer true. Many children are now being raised and educated by adults

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Play Part II

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On attending The Play Is The Thing: The Serious Work of Play, a conference sponsored by The New England Consortium of Artist-Educators and Professionals, Sept 23, 2010 in Brattleboro, VT. For Part I, see the previous post.

Touch

A plain white ball lies in juggler Michael Moschen’s open palm.  It does not move.

My sister was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, he says.  I did not want to close my hand.  So I did this for a long time.  And suddenly – this happened.

The ball has

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PLAY - Part 1…

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The Play is The Thing:  The Serious Work of Play

I just came back from a conference on play, sponsored by NECAP (New England Consortium of Artist-Educators and Professionals).  It was a beautiful fall day in Brattleboro, VT.  Lots of interesting people, inspiring workshops, great food.  I had fun.

But having fun was not a foregone conclusion when my day began.  Driving, I debated about whether to focus my attention on the on the first or second half of the conference title.

I was

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Movement From The Heart

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In her new book, Playing in the Unified Field,  noted researcher Carla Hannaford talks about coherence.  Coherence is a term that scientists use to describe the stabilization of wave forms.  A regular light bulb creates an "incoherent" series of waves that move in no discernable pattern.  But when the beams are focused into a "coherent" pattern, the result is a laser.

Researchers have extended the term "coherence" to the wave forms emitted by the heart. Coherence is correlated with

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