Music is a timeless element that has been around since humans first created rhythms from the beating of sticks and stones. It is powerful, drawing deep emotions and memories buried in the thick of things, but most of all, music is a stimulant for the mind, body, and soul. Once the music starts, you don’t even realize that your body is moving and reacting to the melody and beat.
Physical education teachers have implemented music and dance into their curricula in a number of creative, fun ways to get kids moving and active. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of music and dance in P.E. class.
When you teach your kids to play basketball, there’s only one way to play. Same goes for football, soccer, and almost any other sport or activity. Dance comes in countless genres and styles, from ballroom to modern and beyond. With such a variegated collection of genres, it’s easy for each student to find something he or she enjoys, whether it’s stomp, ballet, waltz, hip-hop, or tap.
Even better, you can easily combine styles. Teach your kids several genres and, at the end, have groups put together unique routines that combine elements from all the dances they have learned. Consider recording the routines and using them to promote dance and activity to other kids. This not only gives them that extra bit of motivation but gives them an end result to strive for and look forward to.
2. Music motivates movement.
Music naturally stimulates parts of the brain responsible for unconscious movement, which explains the head bobbing, shoulder shrugging, and toe tapping that you don’t even think about when you hear your favorite tune on the radio. Younger students should have no problem getting down on the dance floor, but even the most self-conscious of teens should have no problem moving with the groove. Even without formal instruction on any specific dance style, you should notice a distinct change in the mood and atmosphere that encourages students to continue moving.
This comes in handy when you feel that students are straying off task. Just crank up the tunes to get their attention back to the activity at hand. For an even greater motivator, you can have the kids recommend songs—school appropriate, of course.
3. Music is a great timer.
Music is a great way to keep time when you don’t have a clock. As suggested in this trainer tip video, when students are using weight machines, you can create minute-long chunks of music followed by fifteen to twenty seconds of silence to give students a chance to reset the equipment and move to the next station, doing away with clocks, alarms, or a stopwatch and whistle. You can apply the same idea to running laps, warming up, or stretching.
4. Music enhances performance.
Music naturally blocks the voice in your head that tells you to quit when you get tired. This dissociation effect has been shown to reduce perceived effort and increase endurance, essentially tricking people into performing intense exercises for longer periods of time.
As mentioned above, music has a positive affect on mood. Music makes students happier by presenting a more welcoming, positive atmosphere that motivates students to push themselves and work harder.
5. Dance is a lifetime sport.
The great thing about dance, as noted in this trainer tip video, is that it is a lifetime sport. It’s a timeless activity that is perfect for all age groups, from kindergarteners to octogenarians. It works out your coordination, rhythm, flexibility, and various muscle groups throughout the body. Unlike contact sports and many other activities, dancing is low impact if you do it right, so it’s easy on the joints. It’s also easy to vary the difficulty or intensity of any dance to fit students’ skill levels and preferences.
Even if students don’t pursue a career in dance, it’s something that carries over throughout various social functions—weddings, proms, nights on the town—so it doesn’t hurt to learn a few basic dance steps.
Dance and music are deeply ingrained in society. Find some fun, creative ways to incorporate both into your PE classes.