Dance and Sing to Learn – Move to Get the Juices Flowing!


I love to sing!

I’ve been singing for as long as I’ve been dancing. I love the sensation in my body when I sing.

For me it’s a whole body thing (not surprising).

Recently I made an interesting discovery that illuminated a relationship I had not really considered.

About 4 weeks ago I downloaded I See Fire by Ed Sheeran and began to learn to sing it. It’s not exactly a straightforward piece. My technical vocabulary here is lacking but I hope I will still be able to make my point. The tempo is slow if not, at times hesitating. It is emotionally loaded and drew me into the story. It’s haunting words of facing the end of life as a family and a people while still holding a glimmer of hope rarely fail to move me to tears.

As I was listening and beginning to sing along in the car, I repeatedly missed certain changes.

I had danced it for myself and spontaneously I decided to share with my classes. I knew that the choreography from From Russia with Love, song 1 from the Nia routine Feeling would work with some tweaks. I shared it that day and a few times after before I noticed the following…

In dancing, I hit the music cues I was missing when I sang it. My body knew.

When I went back to sing it, I no longer missed the changes. They were simply there. As though my body heard them more efficiently than was processed by my auditory system and placed them where they belonged.

Nia teachers: when I’m barring a piece of music, I listen to how my body moves it to ferret out the fractions. I will always be able to move a fraction before I can count it and put it on paper. If I missed the fraction when I’m listening (or my bars don’t “match”), I’ll bar in motion. The song Dougalanta from the routine Beyond is a good one to use to play with this!

What about singing to bar it? What if you sing or hum the song as you bar it. (For me singing, toning, humming and sounding in general are all various forms of dancing anyway!!)

Learning to sing the lyrics introduced me to the story on one physical, emotional, mental and creative level. Dancing the music deepened my relationship with the story and brought me, more fully into the experience of music, sensation, feelings, emotions, and inspiration.

Without repetition of the parts of the song I missed, I moved through it and it became accessible, not only to my body but also to my mind.

To be clear, I’m not talking about having to be an accomplished dancer or vocalist here to use these concepts. As always – use what you have. You don’t have to carry a tune ( I truly do not know what sort of difference that might make). Is it easier to hum than to walk or march to? Or the reverse? Do you “see” the music in peaks and valleys? In color? Temperature? Use it all. Never thought of music that way? Play with these concepts.

I suspect I’m probably late to the party here, but better late than never and for those of you also late, maybe you can benefit.

This is the tip of what I know is a colossal iceberg.

Move it to learn it.

Dance makes your brain work better.

Auditory learning is only a piece of our integration process. Perhaps even if we consider ourselves a specific type of learner (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc), we do ourselves a disservice not utilizing all of what’s possible.

When learning something new, engage ALLLLLLLLL of you. All of your senses and all of your modes of receiving information. Don’t just sit and read it or sit and think about it. Don’t sit at all!!

Get up and m o v e it.

Bring it to life.

Bring it to Life!!!!

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