Music, Movement and Emotion

Many world cultures understand and use the power of music and movement to awaken the spirit. There is a connection between music and movement that motivates students mentally and spiritually. This connection exists in traditional group fitness sessions when the music and movement are coordinated to purposely enrich the experience. When there is a synergy that exists between music and movement, then the participant experiences mastery of the movement; this feeling of being in the here and now will transfer to the students and be a positive factor in their return. (Ekins, Pilz & Trap – 1999)

Working together with movement and rhythm creates emotional and cognitive experiences.  Aging adults not only gain the physical benefits of a fitness program, but they also develop rhythm, creativity, coordination, neurological health, and a feeling of acceptance as a result of the drumming and movement experience.   Cariona Morrison also states that “music acts as a specific stimulus to obtain motor and emotional responses by combining movement and stimulation of different sensory pathways.” May2008

“Universal emotions such as anger, sadness and happiness are expressed virtually the same in both music and movement across cultures, according to new research” (Thalia Wheatley , Dartmouth University (Live Science)).  Studies also have shown that musicians read emotions better than non-musicians.   Some studies according to Wheatley also showed that the same areas of the brain were activated when people construed emotion in both music and movement.

Our ability to feel and interpret music movement at an emotional level may be due to the fact that they are processed by ancient brain circuitry.  Johnathan Schooler, a professor of brain and psychological sciences at the University of California at Santa Barbara, stated, “It takes advantage of some very, very basic and, in some sense, primitive systems that understand how motion relates to emotion.”

We know that even animals like different types of music but it seems that only humans are able to synchronize music and movement together.