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.

Networking with Children’s Music

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Any event with The Children’s Music Network is guaranteed fun. Maybe it’s because, after all these decades, the participants just expect it! Lots of gray heads at the recent New England Regional Conference, but nubies, too, including the youngest member – a nineteen year-old college student who came to learn some of the tricks of the trade.

He hit the jackpot with keynote Steve Roslonek. The friend on my right exclaimed, “What a charismatic performer!” At the end of the keynote, she asked me, “Are you presenting anything new?” (My workshop was next - and so was Steve's songwriting workshop). The friend sitting on my left – whom I had invited to the event especially to attend my presentation – also opted to stay in the warm glow of Steve.

Songwriting. I, too, was sorry to miss that songwriting workshop - and I couldn't change my own dance card! But still, I learned a lot from the keynote. Steve had written a wonderful song about the water cycle with a classroom of elementary school kids. Listening to his performance, it struck me that the process of songwriting is the antithesis of today’s cram-random-information/regurgitate-it-on-the-test/forget-it cycle.

First, you need a chorus – which is always the most important part of the song, the part you sing over and over. You need a hook, and hooks are about encapsulating the essence of the meaning in a few words. Intellectually, this is about the most important thing you can learn – to take a lot of information, cull out the essential parts, and communicate them in an orderly, intelligent and memorable way.

Then you need verses – which tell little stories to illustrate the concept you’ve laid out in the chorus.

And you need to rhyme, and scan – which causes you to really think about what the words you are using mean. When we are rhyming and scanning, we have to look for synonyms – we rarely find the right words on the first pass.

So songwriting is an amazing intellectual exercise, as well as an artistic one. Any researchers out there? It would be great to have a little study that we could quote about the “measurable” academic benefits of songwriting with kids! It seems obvious, but in today’s educational environment, we need all the help we can get to keep participation in the arts in schools.

Developmental Movement. Next, I went to my own workshop, of course! I won’t go over my material, because there are three years of blog entries about that for you right here in Movement Matters. But I always learn a lot from the folks in the room. One "aha" was from a teacher, who “got” that, when a child is misbehaving, it’s best not to isolate them and judge them – and to instead, simply accept that behavior as a ry for help! and this is what I need! and to take the quality of that negatively expressed movement, and turn it into a positive exercise for all the kids to do together.

Another "aha" was from a mom with her five year-old lying in her lap. I took a few minutes to hold his feet (see Under the Volcano) – K-1 points, middle of the arch, heels, and under the knees – and his whole body relaxed. It was profound for her, to see how much could be done to release hyperactivity just with simple hands on and love.

Healing and Activism. I also attended a workshop with Alastair Moock, who had an unusual and compelling reason to write children’s songs. His daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Alastair began by writing songs with her to entertain and distract her in the hospital, and found that the songs themselves had healing, empowering content to them.

B-R-A-V-E, I’m brave
I’m brave, I’m brave
I will not be afraid
I’ll let the nurses put me on a scale
And then I’m weighed

I’m weighed, I’m weighed
I’ll also give my height
And if you ask me nice
To take my blood pressure, I might

I might, I might
I might just be all right
If I can B-R-A-V-E
I think I’ll be all right . . .

His album, Singing Our Way Through, was nominated for a Grammy, and he distributes it to hospitals. His workshop included a lot of interesting dialogue about how to create the interface with institutions and groups to help people understand that the music itself is a healing, active force for positive change – not just a tool to raise money.

There was a lot of other great stuff. During a break, Tim Seston, one of the regional reps, brought out a huge container of great toys, and talked about how to get to music with kids in a sort of under-the-radar way, just by singing songs that relate to them. Old MacDonald had a praying mantis? Why not? People share songs all day. New folks like – Miss Angie,from Ithaca, NY - and veterans like outgoing chair Liz Buchanan  from Arlington, MA. And the day started with a beautiful song called Circle of Friends, written and performed by Vanessa Trien -  another new face at the CMN New England regional. But I’m sure she - like me, and many others – will be back.

Note: I’d love to write about everyone who shared songs and wisdom during the day, but it just isn’t possible. But here is a list of names of official presenters, and their websites – so if you couldn’t make the conference, you can create your own online version!

Philip Alexander

Amy Conley 

Nicolette Nordin Heavey 

Gail Herman 

Karen K (the “K” is for Kalafatas)

Diana Kane 

Eve Kodiak

Alastair Moock 

Sandy Pliskin

Steve Roslonek 

Tim Seston  

Tina Stone 


Movement Matters Mar 25, 2014

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