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#2074563 - 04/30/13 10:45 PM Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Hi there,
As an adult beginner, I could be benefiting from some gross motors skills activities. Somewhat, learning piano is mostly fine motor development and I wonder whether you come across some gross motor activities that can contribute to adult music learning. The most common activities are: foot tapping, clapping.... I also wonder whether there is a set of activities that gradually build one's skills, specially in relation to rhythm building.
Let me know your thoughts.

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#2074570 - 04/30/13 10:57 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: JosephAC]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3156
Loc: Maine
Teachers of children use activities like marching to the beat, marching while clapping the rhythm, clapping the beat, clapping the rhythm, drumming or using other rhythm instruments or shakers, giant arm circles to the beat, clapping the rhythm or beat on one's thighs, tapping the rhythm on the closed keyboard cover (either just the RH rhythm, just the LH rhythm, or both), etc. You could also just dance interpretively to the music (either a recording, or singing it yourself), emphasizing the beat or the rhythm or the melody or the accompaniment as the spirit moves you.

I have often thought these would be useful for adults as well.

The idea with children is to move from larger muscles and muscle groups to smaller. So you would start with marching and giant arm circles, and progress to clapping and drumming, and then to tapping on the keyboard cover and tapping feet, and finally to playing which involves fine control of the fingers (although not just the fingers).
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#2074584 - 04/30/13 11:17 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: JosephAC]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I also wonder whether there is a set of activities that gradually build one's skills, specially in relation to rhythm building.

Percussive activities.. tapping on a desk, for example. Then, add in different sounds. (Slapping vs two-finger tapping; pads of fingers vs nails; add a ruler for a sharper sound on certain beats, etc..)
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2075016 - 05/01/13 01:15 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: JosephAC]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Going out dancing is fun, or even just putting on music you love and dancing around the house (if necessary, with the blinds closed and no-one else home). One advantage of the modern world is that now one can go online to sample the music of as-yet-unknown bands that are playing around town, to find the ones likely to get you dancing.

I also got myself a pair of bongo drums. I don't play them at all properly, but find them an enjoyable enhancement for rhythm reading exercises (not sure how the neighbors feel about that though).
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#2075202 - 05/01/13 06:25 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: tangleweeds]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1179
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Find a drum circle in your community:

http://drumcircles.net/circlelist.html

There are other online resources.

That's "large-muscle exercise", and has the added benefits of being a lot of fun, aiding musical development, and letting you make a heck of a lot of noise!

. Charles

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#2075924 - 05/02/13 02:12 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: JosephAC]
wower Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 242
Loc: Calgary
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
Hi there,As an adult beginner, I could be benefiting from some gross motors skills activities. Somewhat, learning piano is mostly fine motor development and I wonder whether you come across some gross motor activities that can contribute to adult music learning. The most common activities are: foot tapping, clapping.... I also wonder whether there is a set of activities that gradually build one's skills, specially in relation to rhythm building.
Let me know your thoughts.


This is a very interesting question you've posed. The drum circle and dancing are great suggestions in my opinion which I think strike at the heart of what you're asking. As a self-learner I've asked myself a similar question, differently framed, and still arrive at the same suggestions, lending credence to their validity.

Start with the proposition that the piano is essentially a rhythmic activity before it's a melodic of harmonic one. The piano is after all a percussion instrument. So to focus on rhythm is not misplaced. However, I frame the subject in terms of "coordination" which has a slightly different meaning than "gross motor skills" but also has lots of overlap. For me, the strength of thinking in terms of coordination comes from getting my torso and upper arms in position first, then the wrist and fingers always follow naturally and are right there to apply the perfect amount of force to the key bed at exactly the right moment.

I would add yoga and sports in addition to the two above mentioned. I don't do yoga myself - not enough time in the day - but it does utilize the "synaptic system" or whatever (I forget the exact name of the part of the nervous system yoga works and a quick search proved fruitless. Maybe someone with more experience in yoga can chime in.) Sports has a wonderful propensity to force one to be coordinated (I play badminton)and rhythmic (I love steady beat of long distance running or swimming).
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#2076735 - 05/03/13 03:55 PM Re: Gross Motor Skills Activities for Adult Beginner [Re: JosephAC]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
In my case, I am somewhat physically fit and active. I swim, run, cycle, paddle, and yoga regularly, in addition to Alexander Technique. These activities are inherently biologically rhythmic and they are our first form of familarity with rhythm.
In my observation, music rhythm is a learnt rhythm. You could be exposed to it culturally and hence develops naturally and easily . For example, in many African cultures and Brazil, just to mention a few, some people are exposed to rhythmic body movement and cultural dancing.
In my case, I need to learn to develop my innate rhythm as it is under developed. Over the past few months, I have come a long way with this development and learning but I still have a long way to go.
I love the idea of drum circle. I never knew about it. I emailed a lcoal group and I hope to join them soon.
Getting into dancing will be another distraction which I do not have the natural inclination and neither the time.
Some of the replies suggested some children activities - marching, clapping tapping,.... and some of what we do on the piano. When I wrote the original post, I was hoping to gather enough information to develop my own rhythm activities and coordination on the piano unless someone suggests a specific well developed coodination routine or activities that I can simply adapt.
Unless someone has something else to add, my take away is join a local drum circle and continue with what I know and the suggested coordination activities (clapping, tapping, marching,.... ). This week, my piano teacher showed me how to tap with both hands - RH for the top staff and LH for bottom staff. And this was definetly useful for my gross motor development of the piece being learnt.

Thanks and I welcome any further feedback.








Edited by JosephAC (05/03/13 03:58 PM)

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