On the beat
Naomi Benari's insights into the teaching of rhythmic awareness have developed through her work with profoundly deaf children. She has many practical suggestions for workshops, including a set of illustrated themes for creative dance suitable for primary pupils.
Children are taught to dance through specific breathing techniques and by using natural movements; the introduction of musical notation is a visual stimulus for profoundly deaf children. The suggestions for teaching rhythmic awareness alongside dance are particularly innovative.
Benari encourages dancing in silence because it allows the mind to focus on the movement of muscles which, in themselves, have a physical rhythmic motion. Developing this so-called "muscular memory" is the key to obtaining rhythmic movement for all children, but specifically for those who are profoundly deaf.
Drawing primarily on Western traditions, this book explores the development of pulse and rhythm through specific rhythmic exercises, dancing, clapping, drumming, music-making and musical notation. There are many useful practical suggestions for relating rhythmic notation to physical responses, both for musical development and dance teaching.
Although references to the national curriculum could have included music as well as dance, this book provides an easily accessible text which all teachers of dance and music will find both useful and inspiring.