Liebler: Beat and Rhythm |

Liebler: Beat and Rhythm

Are you, or do you know someone who is deathly afraid to dance in public? On those rare occasions when my father did dance in public, he moved like a robot milking a cow.

Dancing can be the most natural and graceful expression of human beings in motion. Just put on some music in a room full of 2-year-olds and you will see. The ability to comprehend and move to beat and rhythm is now proven to enhance academic and every other performance ability as well. When children learn to listen and control their bodies, they also learn to concentrate, and concentration is what they will need to do to learn difficult things.

Children participating in Move to Improve classes learn a special dance that we repeat to the same song for several months. It’s a song with a long continuous steady beat by former Summit County resident Jim Salestrom, called Oh Come With Me.

To increase your child’s ability to listen, concentrate and move gracefully to beat and rhythm, find a song like Jim’s with an even, steady beat throughout the whole song. As you play the song, direct your children to move each part of their body one by one, for at least 10 seconds. Change the movement as the chorus and sections of the song change. As you repeat this activity, you and your child will discover new ways to move.

Here is a suggested sequence

of movements:

1. Sit and tap hands on the floor.

2. Tap feet on the floor.

3. Move your head then arms then shoulders.

4. Stand up, move the hips.

5. Tap legs.

6. Clap hands.

7. Clap hands and walk in place.

The important thing is to stay consistent with the same song and movements so children can develop their memories and eventually create their own motions as they keep moving and improving.

Scott Liebler is the founder of Move to Improve and Funsical Fitness for early childhood development. Move to Improve is a program sponsored by Summit Head Start, Early

Childhood Options and funded by the Summit Foundation. For more information on this

program, call (303) 902-4985 or e-mail

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