Movement Reflection – To Move and Be Moved

Level Ones!

What are your thoughts on Doug Goodkin’s reading from Play, Sing and Dance on the body and movement? What really resonated with you? How might this change how movement looks in your classroom? Expand on this and more below and respond to your colleagues ideas! Musically Yours, Matthew


  1. Kathleen Mahurin Powell

    I am struck how in this society of abundance, so much is taken away. Perhaps are younger generations not going to hear classical concertizing because they are afraid they will be asked to not move during the concert? If we as Orff teachers encourage the response to music and the use of music to inform and enjoy, then why would these people turn into patrons, if they are asked to only have a quiet emotional response? This never occurred to me.

    Also, if “our feelings about the music …are individual…” determined by the list Doug presents, does it follow that with no experience and growing in our modern US society, would someone be looking for the right way to move & choose not to move or play with the potential for movement without some exposure or permission?

    • brivalencia

      Kathleen, I always think about how classical concert etiquette requires us to stifle our emotional and physical responses to the music. Think about how ridiculous it is that you aren’t even allowed to clap at the end of a rousing movement! I remember the first time my boyfriend went to a classical guitar concert and didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to clap between movements. I stopped his hands before he could clap and three years later he STILL talks about not how I kept him from making a classical concert faux pas (my intention), but how I stifled his reaction to the music.

    • Kaity Igari

      I had the same thought about concert etiquette, Kathleen. As a young musician and teacher, I used to delight in the structure of those rules, but now am more interested in allowing people (and myself!) their natural reactions to compelling music. As we cultivate a holistic love of music, movement naturally follows for many people (or, Goodkin might argue, for everyone, just on various levels). For me, this means I always buy standing tickets to the opera – when ushers ask me and my partner why we’re back there, we grin and reply, “So we can dance!”

    • kigari

      Kathleen, your thoughts about concert etiquette resonated with me, and Goodkin’s chapter helped me re-visit it. As much as I enjoyed the structure of classical concert etiquette as a young musician and teacher, it now seems dichotomous to invite students to move in class and then stay still at the symphony. Providing and inviting meaningful movement, in its natural connection to music, can be just as powerful and humanizing in formal settings as in the classroom. It’s for this reason that my partner and I always buy standing tickets to Seattle Opera – when the ushers seem confused that we refuse available seats, we grin and reply, “We’re here to dance!”

  2. apeterkort

    “Dance is silent music,” according to Doug’s article. I never thought of dance as actually silent music. I just figured dance is an art form to express yourself through music. Nor did I ever stop to think that listening to music produces physical changes in the body that would then evoke emotion, so therefore we must move to it. Perhaps we must move to it to better understand ourselves through our emotions.

  3. Paul Swardstrom

    I am struck by how much the arts are intertwined. I once thought of music in a bubble, that it existed to serve my own purposes. I never would have thought of myself as a dancer. However, I see the important benefit of dance to inform the music and vice versa.

    • curtiskr

      Paul, I agree with you whole heartily on this. Coming out of college and first starting to teach elementary music; I would have never thought myself as a dancer. The six years into teaching, I have started to see gradually that dance has begun to make me a better informed musician. We all experience movement through music in our own individual way. Glad we can experience that and learn from each other in this class. 🙂

  4. Andrea Dinkel

    This article made me think of a comment I received after my winter concert last year. After the concert, a parent said, “it was fun watching you conduct, you must be a great dancer!” The way the article connects movement to every aspect of music was interesting because it all makes sense in a way I have not thought about before. I’ve never considered myself a good dancer, but I’ve always found it easy to move to music. Music leads to movement so naturally, and vice versa. It makes me wonder that when people say they are not a good dancer if they are thinking about a certain style of dancing that is currently popular, or if they are referring to an inability to move to any kind of music.

  5. benglish

    “To study music is to study dance”
    I liked this phrase. So often music class is singing or playing instruments. In fact the music teacher I followed only sang with the students. They didn’t know what to do when I had them move around the room. I love the Orff approach that combines both the movement and song.
    This article made music and dance seem seamless. “For it it not only musicians who need to dance in order to play better, but dancers who need to play music in order to dance better.” How lucky our students are that we are being trained to bring both to their world.

  6. mattcarlson

    I try to use movement in my classroom, but after this training, I’m wanting to make a dedicated time in my lessons specifically geared towards movement. This past school year we took ~200 4th & 5th graders to perform with the Oregon Symphony in their Link Up concert called “The Orchestra Moves.” The kids learned that not only do the notes move up and down, but the body is engaged while singing, playing and even watching.

  7. svanhoecke

    I love how this article pointed our the holistic value of the arts. Art is stronger when practiced together. I think sometimes I was only adding movement into my lessons to either help kids with steady beat or to help them get their “wiggles” out. I need to be more intentional about facilitating movement that is more meaningful and helps the students feel the emotion of the music.

  8. svanhoecke

    I love how this article pointed our the holistic value of the arts. Art is stronger when practiced together. I think sometimes I was only adding movement into my lessons to either help kids with steady beat or to help them get their “wiggles” out. I need to be more intentional about facilitating movement that is more meaningful and helps the students feel the emotion of the music.

    Stacy Figuracion

  9. stalsberg87

    It is so true that movement is the shaping force at every level of life! This article made me really think about how interchangeable the arts really are. I know that I can’t help taping my feet or clapping my hands when joyful music starts to play. We only stop moving when we are dead 🙂

  10. tracycarol49

    There are several quotes about music and dance listed in the article. These resonate with me, because I have some favorite quotes that were told to me through my training as an instrumentalist that were very meaningful that I still remember – One of these being, “The notes either dance or sing.” The article mentions that so many of the terms we might view as music terms are movement words as well, e.g. shape, leap, swoop. slide, glide, etc. I know that I really can’t sit still when I hear any music playing. I sway when it’s smooth and lovely, my toes tap when I hear the opposite and I just move when I’m just enjoying what I’m hearing. I want my student’s to experience this fullness which can be gained through adding and combining more movement with music into my classes.

    Tracy Cripe

  11. BrianEJanssen

    I thought the first page, especially, was written quite beautifully–I could picture a movie montage of different arts with a deep-voiced narrator reading those opening paragraphs!

    I liked the idea of “to be alive is to be in motion,” and I am wondering if I can encourage some of my students who refuse to join in our dancing with this thought. I also thought the Sachs quote at the end of the first page was great food for thought.

    The idea (on the 2nd page) about how actors in the 40’s had to act/dance/sing was not new to me, but it was interesting to think of that being affected by our “specialized culture.” That kind of put into words something I had sort of lamented before, that there’s benefit in helping our students become well-rounded artists of sorts, but their ability to focus their music experience to such a fine point to fit their taste makes it harder to be open to other styles and areas. But it also makes me think about my own music teaching. My title is literally “Music Specialist” and every time we get into movement exercises I can’t help but wonder how it will specifically help me in teaching music…the ideas in this article help me to back up and try to approach my job a little more holistically.

    • griebeew

      Exactly! (your last paragraph)

      For me, this article has armed me with a reason for including much more movement, by reminding me that while music and dance can both be created/performed in isolation, the vast majority of them are performed with a fair amount of cross over.

      I can really rally behind the idea that, as music teachers, we should “keep the whole show joined”.

  12. Lisagosing

    I especially love how Goodkin begins the article with “I don’t dance.” And I know I have heard such a comment from adults and children alike resulting in empathy towards that person. Goodkin follows that comment with all the amazing movements the human body does even when we are completely still. He drew references from many sources and cultures to make his point–dance is music and music is dance. Music is performed in space and time and so is dance.
    Because of this article, I decided to buy the book. Because I plan to use more movement and dance in my teaching this fall, I want to be ready with research to defend my pedagogical decision to do so.

  13. ggoodson

    I loved how Goodkin draws such clear parallels between movement/dance and music, as well as our every day life. I would like to post some of the quotes from the article in my room, especially the one from the pygmies in Africa “Everything lives, everything dances, everything sings.”I tell my students all the time “We’re all dancers/singers/musicians. If you can move/talk, you can dance/sing/play.” Not that I’m concerned my principal will ask why I’m having my students dance, but I like having such a compelling piece describing how important it is for the two to be connected and how, when you think about it, they already are.

  14. griebeew

    This article clearly pointed out my natural inclination to “processize” (do an Orff process to learn/make music), without incorporating music. I usually go in order from Model – Echo words – Sing Melody – Add bordun – derive rhythm/pitches – have students mess with form – etc. At no point do I permit the students to experience or create dance alongside music (or even, create/experience music alongside dance). I think that when I start teaching again this fall, I will need to more intentionally write and follow a more rigid lesson plan that includes movement experiences, until it becomes a natural part of my process. Looking forward to the lesson plan we create at the end, so I can get feedback on the authenticity and effectiveness of the movement activities I propose.

    • griebeew

      I just realized my first sentence had an error. The last word should be “dance”. I DO naturally make music in my music lessons! (just usually forget about the dance component)

  15. Brandon Michael Day

    I thought that the the article by Goodkin was really interesting especially how he compared the different forms of movement in ALL matter on the planet. By stating that “matter is moving,” Goodkin refers to the different speeds of movement in all objects from slower moving rocks/plants/mountains to faster moving matter like mammals or bugs. We get so wrapped up in our busy words that we literally don’t take time stop and “smell the roses” and especially notice that the roses are alive, growing and moving. We’re just the busy worker ants rushing around unaware of our surroundings. This is a reminder that I’d like to slow down and take a few moments to appreciate the small things and all of the living/moving things that are around me 24/7/365.

    I also really like the use of the T.S. Elliot quote beginning with “Words move, music moves.” This resonated with me as it reminded me of why I grew to love music from a young age as music has a profound impact on me emotional that no other form of art provides.

  16. Brandon Michael Day

    I truly enjoyed the reading by Doug Goodkin and the notion that ALL “matter is moving.” I feel that we get to busy in our everyday lives that we don’t seem to notice (or appreciate) that we are surrounded by living, growing and moving things 24/7/365. Goodkin points out that everything on this planet is moving- incredibly slow moving things like rocks, plants, geologic layers under the earth’s surface to hyperactive beings such as mammals or bugs. Humans definitely fall into the latter category where we’ve become obsessed with being busy, too busy and our lives comprise of nothing but stress. This article was a reminder to myself that I’d like to take more time to literally “stop and smell the roses” so my life doesn’t completely pass me by.

  17. brivalencia

    The section of the article where Goodkin talks about how musicians need to dance in order to play better really resonated with me. I am not very comfortable with movement and do not do a lot of it in my classroom outside of very well choreographed things like folk dances and the movements outlined in resources like Move It! On my way to the grocery store after class today, I was reflecting about today’s movement lesson and how in general I feel like I am getting a bit more comfortable with movement. While in the store a song came on and I realized that I wanted to move to it, but within that realization I also realized that I was listening differently than how I normally do. I was more aware of what was happening rhythmically rather than just focusing on the vocals. It was really interesting.

  18. krismosch

    This article reminded me of a dance workshop I took many years ago. During the entire time (several days) there was no music played. Like most people I had always thought of dance as reacting to or interpreting music . Still, I absolutely enjoyed moving through space without music. Only now do I understand that I created music myself! I hope to get some ideas of how to teach that to my students!

    I always enjoy combining multiple art disciplines when I create a “piece ” with/for the youngest students, e.g. for a performance. It feels natural to me and it gets all creative juices flowing. The students respond well to it or create it with me in the first place. It actually takes away a lot of pressure for both parties to be “perfect” at a specific art discipline. I mostly combine dance/movement, music, and storytelling/drama. I usually call it a “musical”.

  19. Kedra Davis

    I have had my doubts about some forms of dancing in music class, but this article made several good points and helped to convince me that it is important for students to do both in each music classroom. I currently mostly use dancing in my classroom to help students analyze form, tempo, and dynamics, but I would like to expand my students dancing repertoires in new and creative ways this year. I appreciated the persuasiveness of this article and hope to continue to be moved through movement class.

  20. curtiskr

    Over the past couple days, and especially when reading this article, I think I’m more consciously aware of how music and movement are connected. My comfort level of expressing movement has increased as I’m understanding more of how the two are connected. The examples of how the different elements of music (e.g. harmony corresponding with tension and release) are related to movement was really intriguing to reflect upon. In my classroom, I can see myself being more focused with a plan and intent (establishing specific learning targets) with movement in it’s relation to music. I think I have done a lot to address form with implementing folk dance over the years. Now I want to particularly address melody, once I read all those descriptors. It’ll make the students more aware of how music can inform movement, and how movement can change with music.

  21. jcompto2

    Reading this article brought back fond memories of discussions I had during my certification for World Music Drumming. One of our teachers was from Ghana and he was surprised to find out that so many children in the USA will say out loud that they can’t dance. He would respond to these children with, “Can you walk? Then you can dance!”. I am saddened to think of so many children (and adults) that believe they cannot dance. In my past teaching practice, I have found myself avoiding the word “dance” and replacing it with the word “move” instead.

  22. patrickh

    As I mentioned in our reflection time during class, I appreciate how the author describes dance with the broadest of definitions. Along those lines, it would seem concert attendance would be similar to going to see a ballet. As an observer, it becomes an intellectual exercise or mind dance. At home, I might put on some music and play conductor. Going to a concert and doing so could be an incredible distraction for the performers; who we hope will give us the best performance of the work being played. I don’t want to distract them! I’m comfortable with dancing in my head with the occasional accent or articulation leaking through my body!

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