SOTW - Johnny Giraffe
This song. THIS SONG. This song is a definitive favorite and 100% guaranteed to be stuck in your head for years to come. What’s my proof? The second this song comes on everyone starts BOPPING.
Bopping! This is how we know someone is feeling the music whether they are an adult or a small child. What do you do when your favorite song comes on? It’s probably hard to sit still right? It feels unnatural! Try it! I bet you’ll have to fight yourself to NOT sway a bit side to side or jiggle your foot. Learning music through movement is instinctive, inherent, and a very important objective of The Music Class.
There is SO MUCH research about the benefits of learning through movement, but the person who really crystalized the idea of learning MUSIC through movement was Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Dalcroze taught us that the best way to learn rhythm is by moving our bodies to the beat. He taught us that moving our bodies in different ways is the best way to understand different rhythms. He taught us that there’s no WRONG way to move to music; instead any way that the music motivates you to move is valid and beneficial to your understanding of the song.
Rob Sayer, the founder and director of The Music Class (and my dad), studied for many years with Robert Abramson, the founder and director of the Dalcroze Institute at Juliard. Rob studying with the other Rob (hehe) influenced many of the songs and activities for The Music Class, including, you guessed it, Johnny Giraffe! We jump and march while singing Johnny Giraffe to learn the beat, and encourage kids to move in whatever way they want to express themselves and the music. BOOM FULL CIRCLE!
I now bring you some fun and creative ways to move to Johnny Giraffe in daily life, featuring adorable children!
1. GO FOR A HIKE. The perfect pandemic activity, hiking in nature. Now musically educational just by adding Johnny Giraffe! March to the beat down that path!
2. WEED THE GARDEN. This is a pro mom move by our Wallace family. Convince your kids to do chores while singing and it’s way more fun! It’s like the little kid version of folding laundry while listening to a podcast, plus it helps with their rhythm development.
3. GO FOR A DRIVE. Yes, technically the car is moving and the kids are strapped into their seats, but look at how they’re still wiggling and clapping to the beat!
4. TURN ON THE MUSIC AND DANCE! This video might make you nostalgic for in-person classes (me too) so try turning it on with your kids and dancing along at home!
One day we’ll be back in studios, and until then we’ve just got to keep moving! 💃 🕺