Re: Dancing to the Dishwasher

Subject: Re: Dancing to the Dishwasher
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Tue Oct 05 2004 - 04:03:39 EDT

Sandra wrote:

>I was wondering what some of your views were on
>the topic of music and how it is perceived in very young children
>(toddlers age 12 months +). Did my son perceive the sound(s) of the
>dishwasher as music?
It shows that there's a compelling force in sound and rhythm for him,
without requiring a
definite pitch component. One thing that seems to be going on here is a
kind of imitation -- ie,
rhythm of dishwasher sound transformed into body movements. Anotrher
issue is that bobbing and
swaying are rocking movements and that to be enveloped in pulsating
sound is in a sense to be cradled
within it. Reccently someone wrote a book on this -- name not at hand
I'm afraid.

It used to be believed that our interest in rhythm had something to do
with hearing pre-natal mom's heartbeat and other bodily rhythms, but I
doubt that -- I think ourt interest in rhythm has more to do with the
way our consciousness is organized than with the learning and
association the argument implies.

I don't know what's with the dishwasher, thoigh -- somehow it got linked
with (I gather) ordinary music. He didn't firtst start dancing to IT
and then later decide to include regular music. There's a definite
progression of inclusion. At some point he recognbized "this too is X",
where X is what he experienced when he heard what
we call music.

Question: how loud is your dishwasher? -- I can't personally stand
being anywhere
near them. . PErhaps you have a rather quiet model. But baby's ears are
very sensitive and I wonder how close he comes or how long he stays
there. If for a longish time, ou might have his hearing
checked out. He might be tolerating the noise because of some hearing loss.

You haven't mentioned his expression while dancing or swaying -- is it
bemused or more serious?

-- eliot

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