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.

Teaching Literacy is Teaching Music!


Eve Kodiak presents Using Music to Teach Literacy: Our Best Hope for Saving Music in Schools? at The Children’s Music Network Northeast Regional Gathering Saturday, March 23, in Canton, MA.

I thought I might start this post by talking about the general state of the arts in public education. But I’ve decided not to go there. I may think that the impetus to teach children to read at younger and younger ages is not only developmentally insupportable - but can actually be damaging to the




Last week, as I sat myself down at circle time in a new (to me) Horizons for Homeless Children class, chaos erupted. Two kindergarteners started yelling –a and escalated to grabbing, then hitting, one another. The other children stared in alarm. As the teacher separated the two tiny gladiators, I wiggled my fingers in the air.

“Wave Hello! Watch your fingers go!

“Other hand!

“Wave hello . . .”*

I extended the activity to use every integrative motion I could think of:

We tapped on


Add Meaning, Take Away Candy


In my thirty years of teaching piano to young children, there were two holidays I came to dread. On Halloween and Valentine’s party days, children would come after school for their lessons literally drugged. Hyper, logy, unfocused - tracking a line of music could be impossible.The siblings were challenged, too -  I remember a 3 year-old brother who spent the half hour literally bouncing from one side of the room to the other.

The effects would last for a week or two, as the children ate


Something’s Coming Towards Me…


Last post, I wrote about preparing to work with homeless preschool and kindergarten classes.  I was concerned about discipline issues cropping up, but none did.

I was warned about a new boy, who had just had a lot of changes in his life – new school, new location. I was told that he sometimes hits people as a way of saying hello.

He didn’t hit me. He did come at me, though, like a dog pulling at a leash and bombarding me with questions in a very loud voice. It was interesting, though – by


Teaching Children in Trauma


I am preparing to teach some demonstration classes for homeless Kindergarten and Pre-K children. It’s part of a grant through Massachusetts Young Audience Healing Arts for Kids, in which music educators give teachers tools and skills for integrating music into their classes.

Last month, I gave a training at the Horizons for Homeless Children Center, and the teachers were enthusiastic about me coming to their classrooms and teaching their children. One of them told me afterwards, “It’s so


Watering the New Year

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For this first post of the New Year, I’ve asked myself - what could I share that would help the parents and teachers of young children the most?

What comes to mind is not specifically about music or movement. But it’s about something that makes music and movement come more easily. And it’s very simple.

Drink water. And have your children drink water. Often.

I need to ‘fess up; I tend to get dehydrated. I get busy and forget to drink. Right now it’s morning, and I don’t think I've had a


New Year’s Intentions

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Just before the New Year, there is a sort of lull. It is after the brunt of the holiday season, but before ordinary life resumes in earnest, We still have another vacation day or two ahead.  It is a time when think about what we might like to be different in the coming year, and about what we might do to make that happen. 

I don’t find the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” very helpful. Usually, we don’t keep them, and this experience of “failure” ultimately reinforces the unsatisfactory


Messages in Water Bottles

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Every school morning, I sing into my son’s water bottle.

It’s a simple song - just a C major chord. I start by singing his name. Then I go on to sing everything I wish him for that day: Health and Strength, Love, Joy, Life, Compassion, Wellness. Lately I’ve been adding Focus, Attention, Motivation. If he has a test that day, I’ll visualize him doing well as I sing. Or if he seems a low energy, I’ll imagine boosting his immune system. I send him off to school with a bottle full of love.


Live in the Solution

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I do a lot of things - in my clinical practice, in my writing and performance, and in my personal life. Brain Gym® is the underlying framework for all of them – that is, when I’m making sense!

Here are two principles of Brain Gym that I find universally relevant:

1. Movement grows the brain. If the way we move our bodies wires us – for thought, for feeling, for action – how we move is a powerful choice. With every movement we make, quite literally modify the equipment we use to live. When


Circle of the Sun: Birth and Death and Children’s Songs


Babies are born in the circle of the sun,

Circle of the sun on the birthing day . . . 

Sally Rogers sang this at the Children’s Music Network conference in October, and it has been running through my head ever since. Circle of the Sun is one of those songs, like ‘Tis the Gift to be Simple, that catches the spirit, and tosses it up into the widest context we know.

It was interesting, though, that the songwriter introduced Circle of the Sun with a caveat about the last verse not having


All One Family: Children’s Music Network Conference 2012


More than anything in the world, we want to be loved. One reason we love babies so much is that they come to us expecting love. Babies inspire us to give that unconditional stuff that is everyone’s birthright.

But these days, it can be a challenge to live surrounded by that original brightness. Competition in the workplace, strife at home, rush hour traffic, health and financial challenges, social disunity, environmental toxicity, media that broadcasts pain, terror, and dissociation 24/7 –


Reflexes 4: I’m Not Scared


Last week, Luis walked in my door, looked me in the eye, and said “Eve. I went on the escalator. I’m not scared.”

Every weekend, Luis goes to the mall with his family. But while everyone else could hop on the escalator up to the Food Court, Luis was stuck. He would try. He would take a deep breath, walk up to the edge of the moving stairway with the shiny sides – and stop. He just couldn’t do it.

 The week before, Luis had come in with his mother, and the two of them told me a story. They


Reflexes 3:  Buried Trauma, Buried Treasure

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When we work with primitive reflexes, we skate on the edges of trauma. That’s because the reflexes are there to save our lives.

When the bus pulls up to the curb, and we jump backwards before we even realize that anything is happening – that’s a reflex. When we gag to quickly regurgitate that thing that might get stuck in our windpipe – that’s a reflex. Everything we do reflexively, before there is time to think or feel, is an act of survival.

We might not think of a bus coming too close


Reflexes 2: The Bricks at the Bottom of the Pyramid

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Now you can watch Reflexes: The Rosetta Stone of Children’s Development in the ECMMA 2012 virtual convention! For a live experience, come integrate some reflexes with me at the Children’s Music Network International Gathering on October 13th.

Last week, a mother told me that immediately after the first reflex integration session, her two year-old had stopped biting her brother. She said that, in all her professional life in psychology, she had never seen any modality work so effectively.


Reflexes I: Emergence, Development, Integration

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This Reflex series is based upon, “Reflexes: The Rosetta Stone of Children’s Movement” –part of the ECMMA 2012 Virtual Convention coming soon to a computer near you! For a live version, on October 13th I’ll be presenting “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Integrate a Reflex” at the Children’s Music Network International Conference in the Midwest.

My breakout session at the ECMMA 2012 Convention was entitled “Reflexes: The Rosetta Stone of Children’s Movement.” Working with reflexes is about


Pre- and (Way) Post-Natal Music

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I am cleaning house with my son, which means listening to selections from his Ipod. He knows what I can’t stand by now. We do have some shared tastes, so he tries to go for those. Right now we’re listening to  a band called Balkan Beat Box.

So, interspersed with dialogues like, “Mom. Can you tell me what this is?” “Throw it in the compost.” “Umm . . . I think you can . . .” I am hearing every possible permutation of the harmonic minor scale. For my son, that bluesy, middle-eastern-y sound


Parents Make Their Own Music

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I think that the first piece of classical music that I ever recognized was the Bach Double violin concerto. It’s because I heard it live in my living room when I was five.

Both my parents grew up taking violin lessons. I remember that my mother, although she purported not to be able to carry a tune, had a rich tone on the violin. When he sang, my father’s voice rang out, but when he played the violin, the sounds he produced were correct, but timid. When they practiced the Bach Double in my


Should Young Children Perform?


“I do not offer performances as part of my early childhood music program. But I keep getting pushed to provide some for the parents. What can I tell my (principle, director, supervisor, etc.)?”

This question, raised at the recent ECMMA convention, is one that many early childhood music professionals encounter. One way to answer is to take a developmental approach. Here is some information that might be helpful.

“Performance” is a rather advanced concept, developmentally speaking. It


Bouncing to the Beat, Helping with the Chores


To tell you the truth, I usually find that talks on research do not hold my attention. But David Gerry’s (of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind) recent presentations at the recent ECMMA International Convention were unusually entertaining.

I won’t go into the “famous” study, because you can watch a TV spot and read numerous articles about it. (I highly recommend checking these out – great material for convincing any skeptic about the value of active music classes for young


Is Barney Real?

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Questions and memories about imaginary beings have been coming my way - emails, blog comments, personal conversations - ever since my last post (Trusting the Tooth Fairy, June 29th). Last Saturday, driving with my radio on, I was surprised to hear the topic aired in a larger arena:

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency issued a statement this week after receiving several queries following the broadcast of an Animal Planet program called "Mermaids: The Body Found."

The show


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