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3 Tips for Using Music and Rhythm as Attention Getters in Class (Interview)

Music as attention getter.

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with children’s picture books! But when it comes to music, I don’t have the same confidence and expertise for knowing how to deliver the best musical experience in the classroom or kids yoga class. 

And I know that I’m not alone with this. That’s why I recently sat down to chat with my dear friend and colleague, Kira Willey—the children’s yoga musician extraordinaire – to talk about how to use music as attention getters!

Music is such a powerful tool to engage children, help children regulate their emotions, and create connection. Today, I would love to share with you what Kira says are the top benefits of adding music to your school day or yoga class and how exactly to incorporate music in a fun, easy way!

Top 3 Benefits of Music and Movement

Let’s start by talking about WHY music and rhythm is an incredible tool for engaging children and capturing their attention. Kira works with teachers and parents to show them how to use music as a tool to make our lives easier. She describes these three top benefits:

1-Music Engages Children

Music has been scientifically proven to be more engaging than talking to children. Kira explains that more parts of the brain are lit up when we listen to music, more oxygen and blood is flowing to the brain, and we come into a more focused state.

2-Music Changes Emotional State

Music can change our energy level and emotional state. When you play uplifting, energizing music, you can’t help but feel with the music. Music can help children to regulate, calm, and be ready to learn.

3-Music Builds Community

Music also brings us together as a community and cultivates feelings of connection. When we experience music together, it releases oxytocin (the love or trust hormone), which builds community. 


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Top 3 Tips for Adding Music and Rhythm 

Next, let’s think about HOW we can easily and quickly add music and rhythm as attention getters, without taking a lot of extra time. Kira says that you don’t have to be an expert to add a few musical techniques that make a massive difference:

1-Meet the Energy in the Room

Use music or rhythm to start the class to capture the attention of the children. Kira explains that it’s important to meet the energy of the room. For example, you might need to get the children moving and dancing to get the wiggles out before they can settle into the lesson. (Check out the video below, where Kira gives a specific example of how to move from high energy to calm. Don’t miss this!)

2-Add Music as Rituals During the Day

Use music or rhythm to create structure during the day to make children feel safe and secure. You could incorporate hello songs, goodbye songs, or transitions songs. Think about how to ease them through the day and what music would be best for each situation.

3-Use Call-and-Response Rhythm

Kira shows how you can use a fast clapping that progresses to a slow clapping sequence to capture their attention. You could also create a rainstorm with your hands as a group. Use creative and more complex call and response sequences so that children really have to pay attention.

Watch Kira Willey’s interview video below and be inspired to add music and rhythm to your classroom or yoga classes—as attention-getters, emotional regulators, or community builders!

YouTube video

About our Guest Author

Kira Willey

Kira Willey is an award-winning children’s music artist, author, kids’ yoga and mindfulness expert, TEDx speaker, and creator of Rockin’ Yoga school programs and the Rockin’ Yoga teacher membership. Kira speaks at conferences, leads professional development days and teacher trainings, and performs Rockin’ Yoga Assemblies and concerts with her band nationwide. She’s also the founder of the singing-is-for-everyone experience, Choir & Company! Learn more about Kira’s work at www.kirawilley.com.


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3 tips to use music and rhythm as attention getters in yoga class | Kids Yoga Stories

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