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The importance of music and movement in lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is a complex process that links many aspects of the individual. Thus, although movement seems not to be connected with learning beyond childhood, there is much evidence proving the importance of integrating movement in adult education.

Here we’ll introduce two different currents regarding movement that might be useful within the context of adult education: Laban movement analysis and Dance Movement Therapy.

Rudolf Laban was an Austrian dancer, teacher, theorist, and choreographer (1879-1958), who published in 1928 a practical method for recording all forms of human motion, known afterwards as Labanotation. The analysis of forms in movement, was a nonpersonal, scientific system designed to apply to all human motion. 

The movement can be deconstructed in four categories: body, effort, shape and space. Within the body category, we find some sub categories, such as conduction, connection, movement sequences, and developmental movement patterns. Effort is categorized in 4 polarities: sudden/sustained movement, heavy/light, direct/flexible movement, and controlled/free movement.

Shape is described through shape forms, modes of shape change, shape qualities and shape flow support.

Last of all, space speaks about connection with the physical surrounding, as well as with spatial patterns, pathways, and lines of spatial tension. By using this perspective, working with movement rises to a higher level of variety, through deconstruction of the possibilities of movement. 

The second, truly convenient, resource is Dance Movement Therapy is defined by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being.

The profile of users of DMT involves all ages and contemplates a wide range of mental and physical abilities, both individually and in groups. Since “movement doesn’t lie” DMT has shown its benefits towards facilitating the embodiment and identification of problems, anxiety release, and integrating body, mind, and spirit.

Specifically, DMT has a particular benefit on trauma healing, regarding both physical and emotional impact.

In the project Ham’Avaaz, music and movement walk hand in hand so as to promote the psychological well being of the participants, women with a complicated life story, dealing sometimes with trauma. The use of folk songs, together with an innovative approach to language learning, aims to improve the personal, emotional and social skills of those participants.

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