Music, Memory and Movement
Do you plan activities for the elderly in nursing homes? Are you a Children’s Director at church? Do you want a fun way to teach preschoolers some worship songs while satisfying their need for movement?
We’ll show you some ways to bring a sense of fun, focus, and community to your worship and praise time.
What Worship Songs are Stored in Your Memory?
Occasionally I hear my girls sing songs that take me back to my childhood. Some of them are silly, some are beautiful. Best of all, are the times that I hear a hymn or praise song that speaks to my struggles and encourages me.
That happened with the song, Standing on the Promises of God. I was struggling with the faithfulness of God. That song helped me to ask myself, “What are God’s promises exactly?” And while some circumstances in my life seemed unbearable, I realized that none of them signified a broken promise on God’s part.
Actually, His promises stood firm; I needed to remember that
Where do we learn these songs and how do they stay with us? Many of the songs we know from childhood were learned at home or at church. These songs are etched in our brain because music is such a powerful aid to memory.
Do you realize that movement is also an aid to memory? Imagine then, how effective music and motion are for imprinting memories… I think some might even call this dancing…
Have you considered using a Stretchy Band to encourage movement:
- For circle praise time with your kids at home?
- In Children’s Church, during worship?
- As part of your ministry of elder care in nursing homes?
Here are Three Benefits to Using Stretchy Bands with Praise and Worship
Satisfy the need to squirm and move. Little kids (and I believe adults) have a hard time sitting still for a long time.
Imagine all of the sitting kids do between school, church services, and riding in a car. Using a stretchy band can organize the chaos a bit so that the non-wiggly kids don’t feel overwhelmed by the kids with the urge to spin around the room (while you sing Father Abraham for the 100th time.) Use the stretchy band as a big circle with the kids holding on all around; you can encourage them to sing and make waves and shapes while continuing to hold on to the stretchy band. This definitely helps manage the chaos while letting them move.
Awaken the brain and heighten learning. When we move, we wake up a bit.
Ever sat in a service and found you were tired and sleepy, even during worship? Just being asked to stand up helps the blood flow. Getting the blood flowing is a good thing because it’s supplying more oxygen to the brain as well. Body movement increases our ability to take in and remember information. It’s the perfect partner to music in teaching because what we sing we remember; what we sing while we move, we remember better.
Want to have your children remember The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus? Have them sing while they make deep waves with the stretchy band. I bet they will remember how deep the love of Jesus is.
The power of music to wake up the brain was illustrated by Yvonne Russell, recreation therapist, in this video. When you go into a nursing home and provide a worship service full of favorite hymns and songs, eyes light up and smiles appear. Consider whether adding a stretchy band for appropriate songs might further awaken the spirit of those you are ministering to.
Break down barriers of self-consciousness. This applies to children, and more so to adults.
Let’s be honest, sometimes we wish we had had an excuse to break out of our calm, self-composed selves. We just seem to need someone to give us an excuse to do so.
Take a look at the smiles on these faces at Eldergarden Adult Day Program. Using a stretchy band is a great way to get every single person involved as it visible connects them.
Rachelle Norman, of Soundscape Music Therapy, says, ” Rather than just hoping for people to “get into the music” and move spontaneously, as you might do in an entertainment-oriented program, I view movement as an important form of musical communication and consciously facilitate movement to music.”
Ten Worship Songs to Sing with Your Stretchy Bands!
I would tell you that the first few are great for kids and the last part of the list are great for elder care, but I think bringing little ones into a Nursing Home and letting them mix it up a bit (with cautions to be gentle) seems like a lovely idea. In fact, I’m planning on doing that.
Just one last tip: don’t be intimidated by what to do with the stretchy band while you sing. You don’t have to make it complicated; let the kids help you decide how to move with them during the song. Loosen up and have fun. The first three songs on this list link to videos of us doing that (with lots of giggles thrown in.)
Here’s the list. What songs would you add to this? Any favorite memories tied to songs? Comment below and let us hear from you!