Q: On twitter a colleague asked, “How is Musical Thinking Musical?”

A: When we first introduce Musical Thinking to children, we stand up and March in 4/4 time with quarter notes, half-notes and whole notes, showing them that pace or tempo is associated with the rate at which they both think and move.

We show children that they are musical and they can use this musicality to gain better control over their thinking, self-regulation and behavior.

The Love Notes help the children experience and feel musical tempo, rhythm and timing. We then adapt that musicality to how they raise their hands in class, read a passage in a book, walk to the drinking fountain and even ask a question of their teacher.

Here is a sweet story from the Musical Thinking book.

Jannelle and Her “Oh So Boring” Vocabulary Words

Jannelle is a third grader who is beginning to take weekly vocabulary tests. This means that every week on Monday Jannelle gets a new list of vocabulary words, she needs to memorize them by Friday, the day on which she has the test.  The first week Jannelle was excited by this new task. But now, she is in Week #5 and her reluctance to study is causing conflict in her family.

After her mom learned about Musical Thinking, she felt empowered to approach this arduous task of weekly memorization from a musical perspective.

After school Jannelle’s mother goes into the living room on her own and starts marching, moving and dancing in simple measures of quarter notes and half notes. She does so slowly and melodically to the point, she is actually enjoying herself. Jannelle runs down the stairs and stops abruptly to look at her mom “being weird” in the living room.

J: “Mom, you are so embarrassing.”

M: “I’m practicing vocabulary.”

J: “You are double weird mom.”

M: “So I step like Slow Mo, as I think of the vocabulary word.” “What was the first word on your list?”

J: “Let’s see, they are: concentrate, conclude, demonstrate, distract, flexible, focus, generosity, master, outstanding, routine.”

M: “Okay, so let me think about this, if I want to step out CONCENTRATE, how many syllables do we have? CON-CEN-TRATE, we have three!” “I can do this!”  I’ll go half note, half note, half note then I’ll clap, Quick Rick. So it will be one word, three syllables in two measures. Oh, this is fun! Wanna try it with me?”

CON          CEN            TRATE       clap clap

▢ ▢     ▢ ▢ │       ▢ ▢       ▢                                                      

S     x            S     x                  S   x                 Q      Q


Musical Thinking is Cognitive Science Meets Music + Kinesiology