“It turns out that kids who are poor readers have a lot of difficulty doing this motor task and following the beat. In both speech and music, rhythm provides a temporal map with signposts to the most likely locations of meaningful input” -Professor Kraus of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Above is a quote from the BBC News, “Moving To Rhythm ‘Can Help Language Skills.'” Click here for the full article. The rhythm of music helps students anticipate the following beats and know what to expect based on what they have heard. Using rhythm is a music therapy technique in working on speech and language skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, social skills, and emotional skills.
I see rhythm and language in action on a daily basis in learning to read and sing songs, playing instruments, and dancing to songs. We sing songs in every class and all elementary and two preschool classes work to read to learn to sing songs for our performances. In every music class, we play instruments where we say the rhythm of the students names or to keep the beat with my accompaniment. We work on steady beat through dancing, jumping, waving, and simply moving to the beat of the dance song. Steady beat is something I strive to work on in every music class, creative movement class, and even martial arts class. We punch and kick to a steady tempo that helps students stay together. And through all the musical activities, students learn new words, put words together to request items, and learn what word combinations work to express their ideas.