Listening and body movement

Elisabetta Piras, Sandra Fortuna, Marina Maffioli


Many recent studies argue about the intertwined relation between motor knowledge and the mind of the listener or performer (Leman, 2007; 2010; Abril, 2011). According to some implications of the relationship between music and movement explored in previous studies, (Piras 2013; 2014; Piras, Fortuna & Maffioli 2015; 2016; 2017) the present research investigates the role of movement during the activities of listening according to Jaques-Dalcroze and Laban theories. L.M.A. (Laban Movement Analysis) focused on the motion factors of Time, Weight, Space, Flow (Laban, 1948). The starting questions of the present article are the following: Are there differences among the body performances with and without an object or a musical instrument? If so, what kind of differences could be noted? Could these differences be referred to the dalcrozian thought about the correspondence between Music and Movement, and to the Laban's motion factors?
Could they be realized through a didactic activity useful both for musicians and dancers, starting from this kind of path? The method used to answer the question was:
A sample composed of 4 children, aged 8, two of them studying music, and the other two studying dance, followed a common procedure. They were asked to perform music with movement in the following modes: (i) Only with movement; (ii) Movement with an object (a foulard); (iii) Movement with a little percussion instrument; (iv) Only movement.
Questions were given to the children dealing with their way of thinking and interpreting music. The results confirm a starting hypothesis that an object could change a movement performance likewise in body activity with its musical relationship. The ability of the subjects to expand their vocabulary of movement according to its objectives, is manifested, together with the exploration of musical phrasing and the pleasure of movement in a Flow experience way.


body movement; motivation; flow; Jaques-Dalcroze; Laban

Texto Completo:

PDF (English)


Abril, C. R. (2011). Music, movement and learning. In R. Colwell & P. Webster (Eds.), MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning (Vol. 2, pp. 92-129). New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Addessi, A, Ferrari L., Carlotti S., Pachet F., (2006). Young children’s musical experience with a flow machine. In M. Baroni, A. R. Addessi, R. Caterina, M. Costa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th international Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, August 22-26 2006 (pp. 1658-1665). Bologna: Bonomia University Press

Addessi, A.R., Ferrari, L. & Carugati F. (2015). The Flow Grid: A technique for observing and measuring emotional state in children interacting with a Flow machine. Journal of New Music Research, 44(2), 129-144

Ausubel, D. (1963). The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning. New York: Grune & Stratton

Ausubel, D., Novak, J., & Hanesian, H. (1978). Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View (2nd Ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy agency in human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122-147

Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Bruner, J., Ratner, N. (1978). Games, social exchange and the acquisition of language. Journal of Child Language, 5(1), 391-401

Carlisle, A. (2011). Modern Educational Dance (1948). In D. McCaw (Ed.), The Laban Sourcebook (pp. 237-256). New York: Routledge

Clark, A. (2008). Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond Boredom and Anxiety. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row

Custodero, L. A. (1998). Observing flow in young children’s in music learning. General Music Today, 12 (1), 21-27

Custodero, L. (2002). Seeking challenge, finding skill: Flow experience in music education. Arts Education and Policy Review, 103 (3), 3-9

Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Custodero, L. A. (2002). Forward. In T. Sullivan & L. Willingham, Eds. Creativity and music education (pp xiv-xvi). Edmonton: Canadian Music Educators' Association

Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion. rationality and the human brain. New York: Putman (Grosset Books)

Davidson, J.W. (2005). Bodily communication in musical performance. In D. Miell, R. MacDonald & D. J. Hargreaves (Eds.) Musical Communication (pp. 195-215). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Davidson, J. (2012).The Role of Bodily Movement in Learning and Performing Music: Applications for Education. In G. E. McPherson & G. F. Welch (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Education (Vol.1, pp. 769-783). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Davidson, J. W. & Eberly, A. (2012). Embodied musical communication across cultures: Singing and dancing for quality of life and wellbeing benefit. In R. MacDonald, G. Kreutz & L. Mitchell (Eds.), Music, health and wellbeing (pp. 136-151). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press

Davis, B., Sumara, D. & Luce-Kapler, R. (2000). Engaging minds: Learning and teaching in a complex world. Yahweh, NJ: Erlbaum

Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think. New York: Heath & Co

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Collier Books Dewey, J. (1958). Experience and Nature. New York: Dover

Diaz, F. M., (2011). Mindfulness, attention, and flow during music listening: An empirical investigation. Psychology of music 41(1) 42-58

Elliott, David J. (1995). Music Matters. A New Philosophy of Music Education. Oxford: University Press

Galimberti, U. (2009). Il corpo . Milano: Feltrinelli

Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (2. ed.). New York:Basic Books

Green, L. (2002). How popular musicians learn: A way ahead for music education. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate

Hallam, S. (1998). Approaches to instrumental music practice of experts and novices. In H. Jorgensen & A. C. Lehmann (Eds.), Does practice make perfect? Current theory and research on instrumental music practice (pp. 89-107). Oslo: Norges musikkhogskole

Inhelder, B., Sinclair, H., & Bovet, M. (1974). Learning and the development of cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Jaques-Dalcroze, E. (1981). La musique et nous. Notes sur notre double vie. Genève-Paris: Slatkine (Original work published 1945)

Jaques-Dalcroze, E. (2008). Il ritmo, la musica, l’educazione. In L. Di Segni Jaffè (trans.). Rhythm, Music and Education. Torino: EDT (Original work 1921)

Janata, P., & Grafton, S.T. (2003). Swinging in the brain: shared neural substrates for behaviors related to sequencing and music. Nature neuroscience, 6(7), 682-687

Juntunen, M. & Hyvönen, L. (2004). Embodiment in musical knowing: How body movement facilitates learning within Dalcroze eurhythmics. British Journal of Music Education, 21 (2), 199– 214

Juntunen, M.L. & Westerlund, H. (2001). Digging Dalcroze, or, dissolving the mind-body dualism. Music Education Research, 3 (2) 203-214

Kerchner, J. L. (2014). Music across the senses. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Laban, R. (1975), Modern Educational Dance. London: Macdonald and Evans. (Original work published 1948)

Laban, R.(1950/1980). The Mastery of movement. London: Macdonald and Evans

Leman, M. (2008). Embodied Music Cognition and Mediation Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Leman, M., (2010). An Embodied Approach to Music Semantics. Musicae Scientiae, discussion forum 5: 43 – 67

Leman, M.(2012). Musical gestures and embodied cognition in Actes des Journées d’Informatique Musicale (JIM 2012), Mons, Belgique, 9-11 may 2012

Lehmann, A.C., Sloboda, J. A.& Woody R. H. (2007). Psychology for musicians. Understanding and acquiring the skills. New York: Oxford University Press

Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., Maehr M.L. & Pintrich P. R. (2011). Motivation and achievement. In R. Colwell & P. Webster (Eds.), MENC handbook of research on music learning (Vol. 1, pp. 216- 264). New York, NY: Oxford University

Maletic, V. (1987). Body-Space-Expression. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter

Mathieu, L. (2010). Un regard actuel sur la rythmique Jaques-Dalcroze [A contemporary overview of Dalcroze Eurhythmics]. Recherche en Education Musicale 10, 17-27

Matthews, M. (2000). Constructivism in science and mathematics education. In C. Phillips (Ed.), Constructivism in education: Ninety-ninth yearbook of the National Society for the Study in Education (part.1, pp. 159-192). Chicago: University of Chicago Press

McCormick, J. & McPherson, G. E. (2003). The role of self-efficacyin a musical performance examination: An exploratory structural equation analysis. Psychology of Music, 31, 37-45

McPherson, G. E. & Renwick, J. M. (2001). A longitudinal study of self-regulation in children’s musical practice. Music Education Research, 3, 169-186

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945). Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Gallimard

Moore, C.L. & Yamamoto, K. (2011).Beyond words: Movement Observation and Analysis. London: Rutledge

Pearce, M. & Rohrmeier, M. (2012). Music cognition and the cognitive sciences. Topics in Cognitive Science 4, 468–484

Nakamura, J.; Csikszentmihályi, M. (2001). Flow Theory and Research. In C. R. Wright, and S. J. Lopez (Eds.). Handbook of Positive Psychology (195-206). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Piaget, J. (1970). Structuralism. New York: Basic Books

Piaget, J. (1977). The development of thought: Equilibration of cognitive structures. New York: Viking

Piaget, J. (1987). Possibility and necessity (Voll. 1-2). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

Piras, E. (2014) Analysis of Jaques-Dalcroze compositions. In D. Glowinski, G. Lepri, A. Pedrina (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Internazional Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology (SysMus13), Genoa, Italy, 12-14 September 2013 (pp. 18-22). Genova: Casa Paganini- InfoMus Research Centre, DIBRIS-University of Genoa

Piras, E., Fortuna S. & Maffioli, M, (2015, May). Music for movement and music for performance: Dalcrozian perspectives. Poster presentation at the CFMAE-MERYC 2015, 4th The Changing Face of Music and Art Education & 7th Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children. Playful Sounds-Personhood, May 5-9 2015, Tallinn University, Finland.

Piras, E., Fortuna S., & Maffioli, M. (2015, July). Music parameters and movement. Spoken presentation at the 2nd International Conference of Dalcroze Studies. The movement connection, July 26-29 2015. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vien, Austria.

Piras, E., Fortuna S. & Maffioli, M, (2016, July). Learning with movement. Poster presentation at the 32th ISME world conference of the International Society for Music Education, July 24-29 2016, Glasgow, Scotland.

Regelski, T. A. (2005). Critical Theory as a Foundation for Critical Thinking in Music Education. Visions of research in Music Education 6, 1-22

Repp, B. H. (2006). Music synchronyzation. In E. Altenmueller, J. Kesselring, & M. Wiesendanger (Eds.), Music, motor control and the brain (pp. 55-76). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Sarsini, D. (2003). Il corpo in Occidente. Roma: Carocci

Scott S. (2006). A costructivist view of music education: perspectives for deep learning. General Music Today, 19(2), 17-21

Seitz, J. A. (2005). Dalcroze, the body, movement and musicality. Psychology of Music, 33(4),419-435

Shernoff, D. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow in School. In M. J. Furlong, R. Gilman & S. Huber (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology in School (pp. 131-145). Routledge, New York and London

Stebbins, G .(2012).Delsarte System of Dramatic Expression (Classic Reprint). London: Forgotten Books

Tomlinson, M. (2013). Literacy and music in early childhood: multimodal learning and design, SAGE open, July/September, 1–10

Varela, F. J. Thompson, E. T., Rosch, E. (1992). The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published 1962)

Vygotsky. L.S. (1982).Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Webster, P. R. (2011). Construction of Music Learning. In R. Colwell & P. Webster (Eds.), MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning (Vol. 1, pp. 35-85). New York, NY: Oxford University Zimmerman,E. ∧ Lahav,A. (2012). The multisensory brain and its ability to learn music.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (New York Academy of Sciences),179–184

Copyright (c) 2018 Music for and by children

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.