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'Watch, Listen, Play, Create' Emphasizes Music and Movement in Early Childhood

'Watch, Listen, Play, Create' Emphasizes Music and Movement in Early Childhood

Posted: June 19, 2018

Buffalo State is hosting an international convention that explores how young children engage in music and movement expression—and provides an opportunity for them to do so.

Sponsored by the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association (ECMMA), the 2018 professional development convention “Watch, Listen, Play, Create,” to be held June 24-27, is meant to celebrate the many ways children express themselves with music and movement and to guide educators and parents in how to participate in this crucial piece of child development.

Kerry Renzoni, assistant professor of music and coordinator of undergraduate music education, is co-chairing the biennial convention with Beth Etopio, assistant dean for teacher education at the University at Buffalo. On her flight home from the 2016 convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, Renzoni, an ECMMA board member charged with planning the 2018 convention, envisioned how she wanted it to look.

“I wanted to invite speakers on the forefront of early childhood music education and also to find a way to include local families with young children,” she said. “I had a fierce vision. The toughest part was enacting that vision.”

After two years of preparation, she and Etopio were successful on all fronts.

They booked two nationally recognized keynote speakers: Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and physician who established the California-based National Institute for Play and authored Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul; and Patricia Shehan Campbell, professor of music at the University of Washington, who is one of the country’s top experts in early childhood music education. Also giving a keynote is Buffalo State’s Cyndi Burnett, associate professor in the International Center for Studies in Creativity. Burnett has conducted research on creativity in children and co-wrote the 2015 book Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum with Julia Figliotti.

The convention includes a new child-centered element: the Buffalo State Day of Play on Tuesday, June 26, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in Rockwell Hall. The free event will feature play-based music and movement activities for young children and their families and will culminate with a singalong concert by Noise Lab Creative Music Community, a group affiliated with Stanford University. Day of Play is recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 8, but all children are welcome to attend with their families.

“This convention should be of great interest not only to music educators,” Renzoni said, “but also to anyone who works with and on behalf of young children—parents, administrators, and policy-makers.”

Convention participants must register online. All of the workshops and events are free for Buffalo State students, faculty, and staff with ID. Although the Day of Play is free, families must register online in advance.

The Buffalo State Grant Allocation Committee, the FSA Founders Fund, the Buffalo State School of Arts and Humanities and School of Education, Music Department, and the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association are funding the convention and the Buffalo State Day of Play.

For more information, visit the ECMMA convention website.

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