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.

More Than Children’s More Than Music Network


This year, I traveled even farther to the annual Children’s Music Network (CMN) International Conference – 2000 miles across the country to the redwoods of California. And I ended up sitting at a table with a bunch of people from home.

And then I realized that, every meal time, I was sitting with a bunch of people from home.

I’ve written about CMN gatherings before (Circle of Friends, All One Family, Circle of the Sun), and the unique sense of belonging that is fostered by this group. I think a lot of it has to do with the closely held value of inclusion. Every breakout session time includes a song swap choice, in which any participant can share a song. Every evening’s entertainment is a “Round Robin” in which participants can sign up for 3 minutes of performance. And on Saturday night, this is followed by a jam session/dance. (I opted out by 11 PM, but many folks don’t sleep a lot this weekend). And at the closing circle, some people share their experiences – which are always quite moving, surprisingly different from one another’s – just like all of us.

Often, I come away from conferences feeling over-the-top and a little bit dissociated from the sheer glut of experience – even when it’s very good experience! But the CMN conference is different. I come away feeling connected and whole.

I also find out about some really great stuff. My biggest discovery this past weekend was a totally free, never-for-profit program called Sing With Our Kids. Nancy Stewart is a children’s performer who recently became a grandmother. When she took her grandkids to the park, she was shocked to find that she was the only adult who wasn’t also on a “device.” Instead of talking to one another, catching their children’s eyes, noticing when something new happened, encouraging, even getting down on the ground a little bit – every other caregiver had their attention fixed on some screen or other.

Instead of ranting about the problem, Nancy Stewart figured out a way to use the media to get parents off the media - and begin to sing with their kids the way people used to do. This project warrants a whole blog post on its own, but in the mean time, I encourage you to peruse her website. The ideas resources are phenomenal. And what is so amazing about it is that it isFREE – these resources are not for, and cannot be used for, profit. Nancy’s goal is to put music back where it always was – shared with our ears and hearts and voices, with our kids and our communities.

I also had a wonderful experience sharing a song swap with singer-songwriter Betsy Rose, someone I had known in Cambridge MA back in the eighties. I had the déjà vu of hearing Betsy sing a song at the “Round Robin” on Saturday night that I had heard her sing almost thirty years ago at Passim’s in Cambridge – “Star light, Star bright, don’t let the darkness crowd out the light” – and again it brought tears to my eyes.

Betsy’s songswap was based on her work translating aspects of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program, Mindfulness Based Stress Relief, into songs for children. She has written wonderful songs about breathing – yes, breathing! – and movement-based ways to calm down children of all ages (I can’t wait to listen to my new CD of hers, Calm Down Boogie). I was excited to add some of these songs to my collection – and to share one of my new ones as well.

I’m looking forward to my next CMN event, the NorthEast regional on March 22 in Arlington, MA it’s not up on the web yet, but it will be soon). There are regionals in other areas of the country too, of course! The regional is just one day; we don’t play all night and see each other at breakfast in the morning! But it’s a good day, made of the same basic values: children, songs, community, warmth and connection.


Amy Conley Oct 23, 2013

Thanks for this, Eve!  I also enjoyed learning about Nancy Stewart’s program in that workshop, and hearing Betsy Rose, a folk treasure!  Thanks to the hospitality of Pam Donkin, I was able to leave CA feeling rested up!  And as you say, very whole, happy, energized!  I hope your wonderful blog gets more people excited about joining The Children’s Music Network, the place where teachers, writers, performers, parents, producers and others who love children and music can connect and grow!

scott kepnes Oct 24, 2013

Thanks for the update Eve! Sounds like a great time. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a CMN conference on ge west coast. Maybe I will see you at the local in March.

Nancy Schimmel Oct 24, 2013

” I come away feeling connected and whole.” I know part of this is the people, but I think part of it is the movement. The Round Robin is interspersed with “energizers” that get us up and moving, some of the workshops are about movement. Most conferences are about sitting. The Music EdVentures conferences I’ve gone to are even more about movement, because a center of their music-teaching method is singing games and we are up and doing them several times a day. So our whole bodies are at these conferences, not just our minds (and, at the CMN site, our taste buds).

Jane Arsham Oct 26, 2013

I spent the day with my 1 yr old granddaughter yesterday, playing CMN Members’ CDs and reveled as I watched her dance, laugh and clap her hands (the song Susan Salidor shared in her Song Swap on Sunday really gets her going!).  Thanks for the great synopsis of the weekend.  I’m still feeling the warmth and beginning to catch up on the sleep. 

If I had to single out one moment, my most memorable time this year was spending an hour an a half spontaneously with Uncle Ruthie (Buell) as she sang, talked and shared precious moments of her life with Liz Buchanan and myself after everyone else had left.  Here’s to Uncle Ruthie—may we all have her energy, creativity and capacity to love when we get to our 80’s, 90’s and beyond!

Tina Stone Nov 03, 2013


You so eloquently describe what makes CMN such a unique group!
I’ll never forget the first event I attended (a Regional), when I’d left my comfort zone as a classroom teacher and struck out as an independent Music Specialist.  Though I knew only one person at the event (then Regional Rep. Joanne Hammil), I was overwhelmed by the support these loving strangers bestowed upon me as a ‘newbie’.  At least a half dozen folks mailed me handouts, gave me their CD’s, and encouraged me to call them ANY TIME ABOUT ANY PROBLEMS I may encounter during my transition. Now, 17 years on, I still credit my CMN compadres for their incredible songs, support and love throughout the years,and continue to learn so much.  Thanks for the great post.

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