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.

All One Family: Children’s Music Network Conference 2012

12 Comments

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 – it’s hard on babies and children, and it’s hard on us, too. We’re just not wired for it. And as we rewire ourselves to deal with it, we begin to lose that easy expectation of joy.

There are ways to undo the revisions we have made to the musical score of ourselves. I can return to my “ürtext” in moments of laughter with my family and friends, or improvising with my piano, or looking up through the branches of a tree, or seeing the relief on the face of a client.

But I don’t often access my original score with a very big ensemble. It’s uncommon to find a large group of people who are all simultaneously willing to enter into a state of unconditional joy.

So imagine my surprise as I entered the Illinois Beach Resort dragging too much luggage, seeing the endless blue horizon of Lake Michigan beyond the glass, and getting hugged by – somebody – I can’t even remember whom, because we’d probably never met before. A hug seems to be the normal hello for members of the Children’s Music Network.

Most of the current members seem to work professionally as teachers and performers. But CMN did not start with the intention of being a professional guild. It was to be a network of musicians who wanted to make the world a better place through music. Musical quality was valued, of course! But the ticket to admittance was not some kind of professional criterion. It was passion – for music, for children, for global harmony. Anyone is welcome, and anyone who shares this vision feels at home.

This egalitarian current flowed beneath the whole conference experience. Each night included a “Round Robin” of song sharing, and anyone could sign up for 3 minutes at the mic. People were asked to stay throughout, so everyone had an audience that enthusiastically jumped into the participatory choruses. People could choose to attend sessions with “experts” like me – and there were a lot of impressive professional credentials in the CMN group! But no one made a big deal about it. One of the four breakout sessions was always a “songswap.” If you chose to, it was entirely possible to spend the entire conference just trading songs.

I realized that my own life as a musician has subtly gone out of whack. Competition tends to make us focus on being better than other people, rather than on being better with other people. We compete to get the job, win the contest, receive the grant, survive in a (hostile) professional environment. When the day is done, you can feel kind of lonely.

At the “newcomers” meeting the first afternoon of the CMN conference, letting go of the perfectionist persona proved to be extremely productive. During the last five minutes, someone suddenly remembered that this group had been given a slot on the Round Robin that night. “We don’t have time to write a song,” someone said.

“Why not?” said someone else. “Let’s just pick a round and write new words.”

“How about – “ Someone else volunteered the “Rose Red” tune.

“What should it be about?”

“How about Lake Michigan? It’s right out the window.”

“Turquoise, navy blue,” someone else sang. And so it went. In five minutes the round had been collaboratively written, edited, and sung all the way through.

It’s pretty rare to be in a group of performers where ego isn’t running the show. I’m not saying that people left their egos at home; egos tend to travel with us wherever we go. It’s just that egos weren’t that relevant here. That five-minute songwriting process reminded me of, “You be the nurse.” “I want to be the doctor!” “I’ll be the mommy.” “Fluffy, let’s go for a boat ride!” Seamless, goal-less play.

People who do children’s music are constantly at play, making up songs, adapting words, coming up with syllabic babble. At CMN, songwriting seems as natural as breathing. During the “Silver Celebration” on the last morning, members sang many songs written by CMN members. There were lots of tears, especially for the songs of those who had passed on. The final song didn’t help dry my eyes – it was Dreams of Harmonya lullaby by one of CMN’s founding members, Joanne Hammil.

Wherever you rest your head tonight, We are all one family – let’s hold tight . . . 

A conversation at the elevator the next morning inspired this post. I found myself saying, “I’m having so much fun here! It makes me realize how unusual it is for a group of adults to get together and just play! It's so important. Unless we model this kind of activity with each other, children won’t know that it’s something grown-ups can do.”

There are CMN events all over the country and Canada – songswaps in people’s living rooms, day-long regional gatherings, and international conferences like the one I just attended. You’ll find me at the next New England regional get-together. I know that I’ll have a fabulous time with my adult playmates - getting some new ideas, singing, talking, playing – and sharing a lot of hugs.

Comments

Liz Buchanan Oct 18, 2012

It was so awesome to see your smiling face at the CMN conference, Eve, and I loved the beautiful song you sang in the Round Robin. We would love to re-blog your piece on the CMN blog!  Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us in a workshop, too.  I know that many people were raving!

Movement Matters Oct 18, 2012

Thanks so much, Liz! Lots of the content from the CMN workshop - and more - can be found in my previous 4 Movement Matters posts, Reflexes 1 - 4. And the reflex integration workshop I gave in August for the ECMMA convention is available to watch as part of the 2012 virtual convention.
And, as always, I’m happy to address questions in cyberspace!

Amy Conley Oct 18, 2012

Eve, thanks so much for being there, adding your gifts and your expertise, and putting into words so nicely what a CMN gathering is like for those who open their hearts and allow joy to enter!  It WAS an amazing weekend for me too.  See you in NH!

Pam Donkin Oct 19, 2012

Eve
It was so great meeting you at the CMN International Conference. I sure enjoyed speaking to you about “brain matters” and I also loved seeing your wonderful big loving smile throughout the weekend. I think maybe you were bitten by the CMN bug and when you come to the
Conference next year in Los Gatos you will be greeting everyone with big hugs yourself! I sure look forward to that.

"Miss Carole" Stephens Oct 20, 2012

Welcome to the “family” of CMN - again!  Some of us get dragged there (thank you Stuart Stotts and Tom Pease), and some come to investigate (perhaps that was you?)  But the spirit, love and warmth are wat keep us all coming back.
  So glad you found us, Eve!
Carole

Tina Stone Oct 20, 2012

Eve,  My thanks as well for being part of yet another CMN event,both as participant and Presenter. Your description of a CMN event was spot-on;  just one big, happy, musically gifted family, willing to share and encourage one another as we continue our passionate pursuit of building a better world through music.

Sue Straw Oct 21, 2012

Eve, your piece about the CMN convention was beautifully written!
Thank you for including it in your blog and sharing it with us and anyone else who might be interested in CMN.  I cannot imagine anyone NOT wanting to join CMN after reading your heartfelt piece. 

Sue in Oklahoma!  smile

Beth Bierko Oct 21, 2012

Eve, you have totally captured the spirit of CMN in this blog. Thank you for saying it so well and spreading the invitation.To all of us who have experienced it, it is truly what keeps us coming back. And being in the newcomers’s circle and watching the creation of the Lake Michigan song in five minutes was as delightful as you described it to be. Looking forward to more hugs for you and from you next year and playing together!

Beth

Kathy Reid-Naiman Oct 22, 2012

It was great to hear your insights in Margaret Hooten’s session and it made me very sorry that I had been occupied during your class. I am sure I could have learned a lot!
Kathy

Liz Hannan Oct 22, 2012

What a gift!!! I just love it when these things happen.

I could not attend your workshop at the CMN conference as I was leading one myself. I kept hearing great things about it which added to my disappointment.

Today I am filing papers from the conference and I find a folder belonging to someone else.

Bonus!!! The outline of your workshop is in it and all sorts of great notes.

It was great to have you join in on all the fun.

 

 

Movement Matters Oct 23, 2012

Thanks to all of you! I am looking forward to the next CMN event.
And Kathy, most of the information you missed in person is available in posts on this blog, or on my website, www.evekodiak.com . . . write me if you have any questions!

Fran McKinney Nov 09, 2012

This is a beautiful description of the heart of CMN.  I was so fortunate to attend your workshop and to hear more of your words of knowledge in another workshop.  You have brought your gifts to CMN and we are so grateful.  You so perfectly defined our time together as “play”.  Yes, we need to play so we remember the joy it brings.  Thank you for putting this all in words for us, Eve!

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