Why move to the steady beat?
One of the most foundational concept for any music student is the need to internalize the steady beat. One effective way is to simply move to the beat. Well-known music pedagogues like Orff, Kodaly, Gordon, Dalcroze teach movement in different ways, but they all believed movement to music is essential in music education (Rose). It allows students to experience an abstract concept, and must take place before the theoretical learning. Steady beat internalization must be worked on consistently and become accurate before we can expect any kind of rhythmic accuracy.
Phyllis Weikart in her book Teaching Movement and Dance says that”…rhythmic movement requires that a person be able to use space and time effectively. The ability to feel and indicate the beat (beat awareness) and the ability to walk to the beat (beat competency) create basic timing ability. Beginners have to use their basic timing ability and build beat coordination skill to achieve rhythmic competency” (5).
First stage of Movement
Weikart identifies the first stage of movement as nonlocomotor movement. It means the students will stay in one spot. This includes standing and sitting activities.
So What? …How to use this in the Piano Studio or Early Childhood Music Classes
In my early childhood classes and beginning piano lessons, we tend to pat our knees to the beat a lot (single bilateral symmetrical movements). But sometimes, I like to change it up. Over the past fifteen years I have compiled a list from workshops and classes of all the different non-locomotor steady beat motions presented. These presenters include Lynn Kleiner, Denise Gagne, Jo Kirk, Lisa Simmelink, as well as many others.
Please enjoy this free list of non-locomotor steady beat motions. I hope that it can help refresh the non-locomotor steady beat motions you use in your music studio or classroom.
CLICK TO DOWNLOADS: Non-Locomotor Steady Beat Motions
Build the foundation of steady beat, and see how it affects a student’s rhythmic ability.
Leave a comment on other non-locomotor motions you use to help students feel and internalize the steady beat.
Rose, P. (2016). Effects of movement, tempo, and gender on steady beat performance of kindergarten children. International Journal of Music Education, 34(1), 104–115. https://doi.org/10.1177/0255761414533309
Weikart, Phyllis. Teaching Movement and Dance: A Sequential Approach to Rhythmic Movement. 3rd edition. 1989. High/Scope Press. Ypsilanti, MI