How many of us can remember the endless and tedious penmanship exercises we had to endure learning to write cursive? We sat for hours practicing our loops, swirls, circles, etc., sometimes being allowed to use a pen, but at other times only a pencil, until we developed enough skill.
If only we had been allowed some music!
I would like to share some very interesting information on the correlation between handwriting and music. Handwriting is an important lifelong skill which can be difficult for some.
Music and Handwriting
Back in the early 1990’s, Liora Laufer of Virginia developed a program called Callirobics. In Laufer’s fascinating work, she set writing exercises to a combination of music and graphics to create her method.
Essentially, this is a combination of playful music and graphics that children listen to while learning to write. During this listening process, they are exposed to certain musical and visual patterns while studying. With this combination of music and graphics, it was discovered that the children were much more relaxed, had better concentration, longer attention spans and, thus, were able to create better results. Obviously, that also had an impact on their self-esteem, which, as we all know, helps overall confidence in accomplishing any task.
In my opinion, schools today move children too quickly from printing to the computer, thus losing the important brain/mind connections that cursive writing encourages. Even though the use of the computer addresses some of the fine motor skill development, learning to write and properly use the pen/pencil is essential to promote this fine motor skill development.
Music, Handwriting and The Senses
Using a program such as Laufer’s addresses both the visual and auditory senses. Some of our children are strong in either area, so with this combination of music and handwriting, we are addressing their strengths. If approached correctly, our children can almost see their hands dancing to the music while actually completing their tasks with more fun and energy.
As a music teacher of more than four decades, I’m always looking at ways to strengthen my student’s musical abilities, discipline for practice, listening experiences, fine motor skills and overall positive attitude for improvement. Combining handwriting with music can work toward these goals.
The next time your children are engaged in a cursive homework assignment, try turning on some playful, happy music and see what happens.