Whether it’s tapping a foot, swaying along to a rhythm or really getting our groove on, and dancing like no-one’s watching …
… Music has the ability to make us want to move!
Above: Wrigglers and Rhymers at our MEADOWRIDGE branch
Have you ever thought about the fact that our bodies are naturally rhythmical? Our hearts have beats and so, a rhythmic pulse is built right into the fabric of our lives.
So, what’s happening in our brains when we want to move to music?
The answer is, the process of making music, argued by Molnar-Szakacs and Overy (2006). Conventional, non-digital music is made with physical vibrations, through various actions. For example, we move the muscle of our vocal cords to sing, we shake our maracas, we hit our drum with a drumstick, etc.
These actions activate the pre-motor areas of our brain, specifically the MIRROR NEURON SYSTEM. Mirror neurons fire when we initiate certain actions AND when we see the behavior performed by someone else.
So when we listen to music, our “audio-visual” mirror neurons are activated. They fire as if we are playing the instruments, and this general activation in pre-motor areas, triggers our desire to move and dance.
The existence of “audio-visual” mirror neurons indicates that we are not only in-built dancers, but we are also in-built musicians!
Of course, music also stimulates our emotions … the ability to make us feel happy, sad, soulful, joyful, excited, scared etc. Getting up and moving, stimulates the oxygen supply to our brains and can also trigger the release of endorphins … which in turn contribute to us feeling positive about the experience.
Robyn Jepson, the talented teacher at our Meadowridge branch, told me such a sweet story about the power of music and movement from one of her classes this term.
Robyn was contacted by a mom who was very eager to bring her little one to Wriggle and Rhyme mid-way through the term. When 14 month old toddler Sofia-Rose came into the music room for the first time, she clung to her mom as they found a place to sit.
Robyn wondered whether the main reason that the mom was bringing the Sofia-Rose along was to socialize her, as she seemed so shy.
But, as soon as the class began, little Sofia-Rose stood up and made her way to the centre of the room. Her little body started to bounce and sway to the music. She came out of her shell immediately and the whole class was in awe of how such a young toddler could dance so amazingly to the beat.
Now she has become the dancer of the class! She’s also made firm friends with the other children and Robyn says that it has been so delightful to see how the music inspires her to move!
To join a music class with your baby or toddler in MEADOWRIDGE contact Robyn@wriggleandrhyme.co.za on the OUR CLASSES menu on this website.
We also have classes in CLAREMONT, RONDEBOSCH, CONSTANTIA, FISH HOEK and MELKBOSSTRAND.