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.

Circle of Friends: Children’s Music Network


I was driving around in circles, trying to find the way in to the big school that housed the Children’s Music Network Annual New England Gathering, and a woman rolled down her window and called out, “You park in the back!” She knew who I was and what I needed without asking.

The whole day was like that. The Children’s Music Network Annual New England Gathering seems to be a time when old friends get together to share songs and catch up on their lives. Except that the definition of “old friend” is anyone who shows up at the door.

I have never received a more ebullient introduction than I did from gathering organizer Tina Stone. And I really enjoyed my presentation on incorporating primitive reflex movements into children’s music. It was probably the most free-form talk I’ve ever given, organized largely around people’s questions – which allowed me to get into some new territory.

For example, Deborah Stuart of VSA New Hampshire asked about how to work with special needs students with low tone. So I was able to talk about how important “belly time” is for building tone, because when babies are on their bellies, they have to pull up against gravity. This is the way the core muscles get strengthened, and we eventually build up to locomotion. But if you can’t get your students on their bellies, there are other ways to create that tone-building resistance. Pushing against a wall, or another’s hands – or other parts of the body!

A volunteer helped me demo of Row, Row, Row Your Boat with partners. Here’s how: Sit on the floor, legs outstretched, feet together. Hold hands. Sing and “row the boat” back and forth to the beat. You can vary the movement by crossing arms, or pulling on one side, then the other.

But the most fun part for me was not my own presentation – it was being a kid in somebody else’s music class. CMN is so wonderfully low-tech - we forget the power of simply singing and playing games. I felt connected back to origins of the human race - these are the kinds of things we have been doing since we lived in trees.

I got to stand in a circle game about a boat and the tide rolling high. I got to play with stuffed vegetables and sing about making a sandwich. I got to dance to all world music, from Israeli to Cuban to Celtic. I got to ask questions and participate in some really interesting conversations.

I was excited to meet Joanne Hammil, whose first album “Pizza Boogie,” was my son’s favorite when he was seven. Joanne told me about an intergenerational chorus she directs in Watertown, MA. There are no auditions. “What do you do when people can’t carry a tune?” asked my neighbor at the lunch table, a CMN member who plans to join the chorus in the fall. Joanne said that so many of the singers were fabulous musicians that the group got carried along. “I have little solos in some songs, and anyone can volunteer for them,” she said. “It’s a challenge, sometimes, but I do my own arrangements and I make it work.”

That democratic feeling – that everyone, regardless of experience, has a right to participate fully in music - is a big part of CMN. It is never more evident than in the last event of the day, a “round robin” in which anyone can sign up to sing a song.

There is something very beautiful about just sitting and listening to people sing for you. Performers all have egos – it’s part of the job requirement. But somehow, here, the personal ego seemed softened, even as each performer walked up to the mic. Each person was a thread in a fabric of song and community, and we all knew it.

We ended by singing, Circle of Life. Thanks to everyone for a wonderful day, and the lasting feel of friendship.


Scott Kepnes Mar 26, 2012

Eve, what a nice write up. I greatly enjoyed your presentation and loved singing and having fun with you at the cmn gathering!

Gari R Stein Ann Arbor Mar 26, 2012

As you witnessed, first hand Eve, CMN is an extraordinary group. Being in Michigan, I was unable to attend, but am familiar with your work through ECMMA. I love the research. It’s so important for us as teachers to know why we do what we do and how it impacts the little ones and their grown-ups too.
The folks at CMN are the most welcoming, kind and generous group of folks I have even been associated with. Did I forget to mention enthusiastic? I hope you will be able to attend and or spread the word about annual gathering, which will be in Zion IL this year. It is not to be missed. I always leave floating on a cloud and do not come down for months. Thank you for all you do Eve. I look forward to meeting you in person one day very soon. Gari Stein-Music For Little Folks-Ann Arbor MI

Liz Buchanan Mar 26, 2012

It was wonderful to be at your workshop, Eve. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk!  The day went by too fast. But I went out this morning to my preschool music sessions and used your movement techniques! It was terrific.  I hope to post about it soon on CMN’s new blog - coming soon!

Amy Conley Mar 27, 2012

that is an eloquent description of our CMN gathering, I share your sentiments.  We loved having your workshop as part of our opening that everyone there could attend, thank you so much. 
i hope many more ECMMA members can join CMN, it is a small organization with a huge heart!

Movement Matters Mar 27, 2012

Thank you all! Amy, I loved the workshop you gave with Julia Priest; the useful playlist, the fun activities, the enthusiasm and professionalism you both shared.
And, Gari, I WILL be at the Gathering in Zion. I got the “prize” for being the second person to submit a proposal to present, so keep your fingers crossed!

Sally Rogers Mar 27, 2012

I’m so sorry I missed the gathering.  I was just too pooped to percolate that day. If I had come, I can see that I would have been completely rejuvenated.  As always at a CMN gathering.  Keep up the great work, all of you!

Sally Rogers

Movement Matters Mar 28, 2012

Sorry I missed, you, too, Sally! You are one of my hero(ines) . . . for most of a year, I would drive my son around Ithaca at naptime with your lullaby album playing in the cassette deck - until one day he got hold of it and stuck his finger in the slot, and it became mylar spaghetti. But I still remember all the songs.
At Quiet O’Clock (http://www.sallyrogers.com/sallys_children_stuff.htm). Thank you!

Tina Stone Mar 30, 2012


Thanks for your kind words about CMN! Folks were buzzing throughout the day about your Presentation, and all wished you’d had more time to speak. Hope we’ll get to hear more in Chicago.
Best   Tina Stone   N E Co-Rep w/Diana Kane

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