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It’s Week 13 of Handpicked Songs for Preschoolers. I feel like we’ve already been together for a while, but there is so much more to come! I can’t wait to share more of the great music available out there for you.

If you don’t know much about me, I’m a music educator with over 10 years of experience working with children. So, along the way in this series, you’ll be getting some tidbits of the theory behind my work with preschoolers.

Today, I’d like to share a quote from Elsa Findlay, in her book Rhythm and Movement: Applications of Dalcroze Eurythmics. She’s a scholar and educator in the Dalcroze school of thought. (without getting too technical, Dalcroze Eurythmics approaches music education first from the lens of rhythm). She has this to say about developing rhythm:

“The use of the whole body, involving the larger muscle groups, assures a more vivid realization of rhythmic experience than does the more customary use of the extremities, such as the hands in clapping and the feet in tapping.”

If you have a preschooler, you’ll know all too well that your child is still developing both gross motor and fine motor skills. (You wouldn’t believe the number of dancing collisions I see daily!). But, I’d like to encourage you to make space for those collisions and encourage as much large motor movement to music as possible.

Today’s song is an exercise in thinking outside of your rhythmic box.

Hey, Dr. Knickerbocker

invites movement from all over your body, from your hips to your elbows. It makes use of the “extremities” as mentioned in the quote above, but also encourages movement from other body parts. I love the way the song encourages the listener to “feel the rhythm” here or there. I find it’s a simple and playful introduction to the concept of rhythm.

The version I like best is by Liz Buchanan, a children’s music and literacy expert. It’s relaxed and enjoyable to listen to. Some dances (like last week’s recommendation) tend to wind kids up. But Hey, Dr. Knickerbocker is a dance that encourages movement, but doesn’t leave your kids crazy. I love both types of dances, but sometimes you need one, not the other.

liz buchanan

This is off of her album “Singing All the Way Home”. You can find the song on Amazon or itunes. I can’t wait for you to give it a listen!

Have thoughts, questions, or experiences in helping your child develop rhythm?

Share them in the comments below.

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