The Power of Music in Teaching Handwriting

This is the third in a series of blogs from Michele Parkins and Carrie Davis.
The first post can be found here 

The second post can be found here

You know that feeling when you turn on the radio in your car after a long day and you perk up as your body starts to move to the rhythm of the music?  Wouldn’t it be great if we could make our clients feel that way while using evidence-based practice?  Well we can!

Research shows that the auditory and motor systems have a rich connectivity across a variety of cortical, subcortical, and spinal levels.  Music leads to movement in an organized way and significant improvement in upper extremity function.   We have a predisposition to rhythmic movement to music over speech.  How can we use this evidence (references in link below) to facilitate progress for our clients?

  • Use up-beat music during gross motor activities to increase pace
  • Play slow rhythmic music when a child is writing cursive letters
  • Play slow music with a distinct base line or drum beat when a child is writing straight letters
  • Sing songs that enhance body awareness – head, shoulders, knees and toes; where is thumbkin; hokey pokey, etc.
  • Use music that talks about spatial concepts – top, bottom, left, right, under, over

For more references:

Michele Parkins MS, OTR & Carrie Davis MS, OTR

Co-founders of Connect Experience Write, a developmental handwriting program using music and movement to teach pre-writing skills and letter formation

We are excited to introduce Michele Parkins and Carrie Davis, two new members of our faculty who will be presenting at our Annual Therapies in The School Conference in November: “Using Sensory Motor Integration and Visual Spatial Strategies to Facilitate Success in Handwriting”.