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Why Use Music and Movement to Teach?

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Why use music and movement to teach? I was asked this question by a young lady in Malaysia who is doing a research project to explain the benefits of using music to teach young children!  I have decided to include my response in a blog entry, as it may be useful to others as well.

The benefits of using music and movement to teach are that the words and their spellings are quickly added to long term memory via music rather than short term memory.  When children learn things via rote practice (drill and kill with flashcards, etc.) the activity must be repeated many, many times in order for them to learn each and every word that cannot be sounded out. Research tells us that children will need to see each and every symbol- that's every letter, number, and word- anywhere from 50 - 5000 times (depending on the research and the individual child) in order to learn.   When children learn things via "elaborative rehearsal" (as with music and movement), the concept usually goes in…