Life has rhythm and pulse. A baby senses this in the womb as he hears the pulse of his mother’s heartbeat and feels the rhythm of her movements. For older children and adults, an example of steady beat in everyday life is the simple act of walking. Imagine if you changed speed with every step—that would make it quite hard to walk!
Instead, in this and in countless other ways, you rely on your internalized sense of steady beat. One day your baby will, too. With this in mind, Kindermusik provides a steady diet of steady beat activities for your child.
The most fundamental property of music is beat—the unchanging, underlying, repeating pulse of music. The beat is what you feel and move to while dancing. Much of the familiar music in our world includes rhythmic patterns that change but underneath which there is a steady pulse that we rely on to understand that rhythm.
Continued exposure to steady beat (hearing it, feeling it, moving to it) is important for Baby’s developing sense of steady beat. Her early expressions of steady beat may include rocking, nodding, patting, and kicking. Later your baby will demonstrate steady beat through clapping or playing a drum to a steady beat. An internalized awareness of beat will help her coordinate her
movements in time and will be a key factor in her learning to walk, use scissors, and even dribble a basketball.
Zoom Buggy Beat
Zoom Buggy, our current unit of Kindermusik Village, is full of opportunities for Baby to experience and internalize steady beat.
- “This Little Light of Mine,” used in the exercise ritual, focuses attention on steady beat movements of arms and legs.
- In “Song of the Train,” Baby is moved to the beat of a chant featuring train sounds.
- In “Trav’lin’ Round,” Baby feels steady beat in a variety of ways as you explore assorted locomotor movements to the steady beat of this song and dance.
- Steady beat can be fast or slow. Rocking and swaying to songs like “Drifting” is a way to experience a slower, gentler steady beat.
- Baby can explore the concept of steady beat with instruments and props, too. During “The Train Climbs Up the Track,” you and your baby can play with a chime ball to a steady beat. Shake or tap the ball in time to the music where Baby can see, or gently tap the ball on the bottom of his foot.
Ready, Steady, Feel the Beat at Home
Steady beat is inherent in many daily activities. Going for a walk, burping your baby, and talking all can involve pulse. Raising Baby’s awareness of the rhythm all around him by exploring beat can be a lot of fun! Here are some activities to share between classes.
- Dance to the music! First, sing and move along with the recording of “Trav’lin’ Round” (Home CD, track 3). Then make up your own version without the CD, using new movements not explored in class. Emphasize the steady beat in your movement!
- Take time for a lullaby slow dance with Baby to the recording of “Suliram” (Home CD, track 20).
- Bring steady beat to the bathtub! Play or recite “Splish, Splish, Splash!” (Home CD, track 21) while gently splashing to a steady beat as you help Baby get clean.
- Read Baby’s Zoom Buggy book. Pause to look at each page as you speak the sounds. Read it again, gently bouncing Baby to a steady beat as you speak the sounds.
- Teach a favorite adult in Baby’s life the up and down, steady beat “Zoom Ba Ba” rhyme from class, substituting that person’s name in the rhyme for the word “Mommy.”
“Rhythm is one of the principal translators between dream and reality. Rhythm might be described as to the world of sound, what light is to the world of sight. It shapes and gives meaning.” ~ Edith Sitwell