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Using Movement and Music to Express Yourself

While many kids and teachers were already thinking about wrapping up the school year this May, in ETM music teacher Amanda Keil’s class, she was meeting some of her students in-person for the first time. 

Many of her students were learning remotely for the last year and hadn’t been in Amanda’s in-person class until recently. Some students never signed on for remote learning, but joined Amanda in her live classes this spring, so she was really meeting them for the first time!

No matter what, though, Amanda was determined to give her students an opportunity to express “their creative selves,” this year during music class. 

One of those creative outlets was through movement. 

For example, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, and in conjunction with May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Amanda took her students outside the four walls of the classroom to the outside dance floor!

By giving students the opportunity to safely engage with each other outside, away from their computer screens, Amanda was helping her students take inventory of their mental health through music and dance, while learning about different cultures. 

Amanda challenged students’ creativity by teaching them two special dances, La Raspa and Los Machetes.  Both are traditional Mexican folk dances designed to promote physical activity, while helping students learn more about the traditions of Mexico and other cultures. 

Hold a mirror up to what they already know, give them a window into another culture,” shared Amanda. 

It was so important for Amanda to connect with all of her students, and this lesson gave her the perfect pathway. 

What’s more, music is a powerful tool, with many helpful benefits that can help reduce stress, elevate your mood and motivation, and can help reduce anxiety, to name a few.  Amanda used music to teach her students about mindfulness, explore gratitude, and continue to move to the groove!

“Making music is a stress relief, so why not do more of it?” Amanda said.

She also shared, “I see my role as trying to bring some joy, something different, into their day. I like to say over and over again, there is no wrong answer in music. Tell me what you think! It’s your chance to make a mess, it doesn’t need to be perfect. If at the end of the day I do a little of that, then I call that a win!” 

Bravo Amanda, and all of our innovative music teachers who inspired their students every day to get out there and make a mess! And more importantly, thank you, teachers, for making sure each student had someone there to help guide them through whatever difficulties they might have been facing, and reminding them that they have a safe space to create and be themselves!