Who’s in Charge? Using Music Classes to Teach Body Autonomy in Children.

Who's In Charge_.png

Here at Sounds Like This for Kids, we’ve developed a philosophy which guides every interaction we have with the children engaging in our music classes. There are many facets which shape the way our classes unfold however a fundamental element is our belief that the way the participants move and use their bodies throughout the session is their own choice. The only caveat to this policy is safety to themselves and to others.

So, what does this look like during a class? Come along and take a look into any of our group music sessions in Frankston and you may see:

 The facilitator following the child’s beat as they walk around the room

 Children sitting on a parent’s lap (or beside or behind them)

 Parent’s assisting children in experimenting with instruments

 Children observing the class

 Children physically engaging in the class

By the same token, there is just as many practices that you, by design, will not find in our classes.

These include:

 Rigid expectations for the participants to sit in formation

 Facilitators who are unable to mix up the session plan in response to the suggestions, body

language and choices from the children

 A focus on specific outcomes rather than a holistic approach

Delivering our classes with this philosophy in mind means that each child is benefiting from years of research into child development, brain development and child psychology. To break down the outcomes and to ensure that we are walking the walk and not just talking the talk, we like to focus on a few different areas.

1. The impact of problem solving

Providing children with the opportunity to solve (seemingly) simple problems not only enhances their self-esteem and confidence when it comes to facing challenges, research shows that it also encourages creative thinking. What’s not to love?

The role of the teacher and parent is to offer the time and opportunity for children to explore, experiment and use trial and error in their experiences as their maturation and interest calls for it. The way that this translates in our sessions could be as simple as discovering how best to strike a drum for maximum impact! The process is an organic element in the participant’s overall learning.

2. An introduction into consent, coercion and choice

Mixed messages around body autonomy is a real issue that parents face during day to day interactions. While we teach children about body safety, we also encourage them to hug a relative or sit on Santa’s knees. The parent’s urge to be polite is often in conflict with the child’s need for personal space.

At Sounds Like This for Kids we remove the expectation for children to sit on laps or interact physically with anyone else in the room. Taking the pressure off allows them to relax and get the most out of their class in an environment where parents can also feel confident in a non- judgemental space.

3. Joy and magic

Discovering something new, mastering an emerging skill or the thrill of surprise when a teacher responds to a beat set by the child is perhaps the most important component in our philosophy. It is our ‘why’ when it comes to creating a relaxed, creative and supportive space for children and adults alike. We believe that happy and relaxed participants make the most receptive students! Our objective is to not only teach music making skills, we hope to instil a love if the process itself.

Now, this all may sound pretty heavy for family music classes but when you consider the simple ways in which this philosophy translates into practice you’ll probably find similar situations popping up for your family in day to day life.

As always, we are happy to answer any questions or queries related to this or any other component of our service so feel free to get in touch and start your musical journey with Sounds Like This.

consent childhood music parenting