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Kinemusical approach

This project will adopt an specific approach to instrumental teaching, namely a“kinemusical” approach.
This approach is innovative in several ways. First, it implements the latest findings on the embodied nature of musical sense-making, understanding, communication and expressiveness. As such, it appeals to the natural human inclination to associate music and movement (Leman, 2007, 2016; Lesaffre, Leman & Maes, 2017). Second, the approach appeals to the latest insights in the domain of pedagogy, implementing findings with regards to self-regulation and student autonomy, the role of movement in learning, the creation of ‘effective learning environments’.


From the very first notes children learn to play, they will engage in joint movement- based activities, inspired by the Dalcroze approach (Nivbrant Wedin, 2015), Laban Movement Analysis (Laban, 1980) and Laban Motif Notation (Hutchinson Guest, 2007). These activities encompass locomotor (walking, following paths, Dalcroze based exercises) and non-locomotor activities (e.g. step exercises, Laban-based exercises), involving improvisation with both music and movement and learning of children songs. On the one hand, children are invited to improvise movement on existing or improvised melodies (music➛movement). On the other hand, children are invited to improvise music on pre- determined movements (movement➛music).

The activities will be guided by movement and experimentation (see also Olsson, 2009). That is: children will be given opportunities to explore and experiment with music-movement associations. In that way, they will autonomously develop creative and expressive behaviour in instrument playing. Learning will be promoted through self-chosen and voluntary activities, scaffolded by the teacher-facilitator who will dispose of a toolbox of educational activities that can be presented to and adapted by the children.

Movement and experimentation will encompass free and guided explorations, in which children are given the freedom to express themselves with their instrument and search together for meaningful musical experiences. As such, activities are focused on supporting autonomous and participatory musical sense-making in function of developing musical expressiveness and creativity.


Kinemusical activities are sometimes individual, but most often collaborative. In addition to kinemusical improvisation, children will learn to play songs they know and like. These may be, for example, local folk songs and pop songs. Teachers will prepare activities together, but the actual activities will be co-designed by the children. To address instrumental technique, learning new skills (e.g. learning new notes, breathing, tonguing, bowing) will be embedded in creative movement-based activities (see also Nijs, 2019), adopting a non-linear, student- centred approach (as opposed to the linear and master-apprentice model of traditional instrumental music teaching).

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