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.

No Wrong Notes

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NEWS! My new album, Sleep Like a Baby, Piano Improvisations on Lullabies and Other Love Songs is coming out later this month! Here's some conversation and a bit of me playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Imagine yourself as a child playing band’ with your friends. “You be the guitar!” “I’ll be the singer!” “Here’s my piano!” “I’m playing this . . . what is this?” “I dunno, it makes a funny buzzy sound though. . .” “It’s a tambura.” “Can I hold the viola on my lap like a cello?” “It sounds cool if you play on the other side of the bridge . . .”

Now add twenty or thirty or sixty years to the group of “children,” and you’re at a gathering of Music for People.

Music for People was started over twenty-five years ago by cellist David Darling and flutist Bonnie Insull. Part of its mission was – and is – to make musical improvisation accessible to everyone, from the professional musician to the person who has never picked up an instrument before. The founders have since retired, but they have passed on their techniques, their teaching program, and their passion to the current Music for People staff and graduates, and the beat goes on.

I was at an “MfP” improvisation workshop last weekend, and I couldn’t believe I’d let five years elapse since my last one. Why had I deprived myself of this much fun for so long? It is unusual to find a truly democratic musical venue in our culture, where anyone can play anything – and where there are no wrong notes. And the quality of the music – and of the music instruction – is extraordinary.

I came out of a classical music background. The competition was fierce. Every lesson, my teacher told me what was wrong. Performance meant that whatever I did wrong would be exposed to an audience of people who would judge me for it. One reason I got into early childhood music was because I wanted OUT of that competitive environment; I wanted back in where music was still made just for the joy of it.

At Music for People, that kind of joy is palpable. The level of playing and instruction is high, because everyone is given the structures and the tools and the safety with which to improvise successfully. Compositional forms, rhythm, melody, harmony are all covered in ways that everyone – regardless of their background – can understand. (Or at least, that they can fake until the light dawns).

In one morning’s class, we were given about a half dozen ways to accompany improvisation on piano – or to teach others with no experience to do the same. In another class, we each told a one-minute story to a partner, who then played it on an instrument. In every class, we were encouraged to pick up instruments we didn’t know how to play, and find ways to make them sing. We sang melodies and them played them (or the energy of them) on instruments – even on percussion instruments - and then we reversed the process. We sat in chairs and formed random groups that became chamber music trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and improvised pieces that sounded funky, pieces that sounded like hymns, pieces that flowed and pieces that grooved and pieces that sounded like something let out of a cage.

Who comes? People who teach early childhood music. People who teach music at universities. People who teach elementary school. Math professors. People in marketing and engineering, psychologists, health care workers, yoga teachers - people in every imaginable profession. People who take the improvisation techniques back to their workplace, people who take them back to their music groups, and people who simply take them home to play.

Music For People workshops happen four weekends and one week a year, and there are satellite programs as well. There is a supportive four-year training program available, but you can also just come and play whenever you want (which is what I do). And there is a book called Return to Child that compiles many of the improvisation techniques used in the program – so even if you can’t make it in person, you can access the information.

My favorite thing of the weekend was just sitting back and listening. The many sounds were a river of life flowing through me. I felt whole, back in the beginning of what music – and people - have always been about.

Comments

Jim Oshinsky Nov 11, 2013

Thank you, Eve!  It was a great weekend. Very satisfying that the work goes on and on ...

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