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Insider Article [May 2013] [05/07/13] (Santa Clara County Library District)
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Los Altos Library, Santa Clara County Library District

Rhythm, Rattle, and Rock: Musical Activities & Movement Programming

Originally begun as a Summer Reading Program (SRP) event in 2011, the Rhythm, Rattle, and Rock (RR&R) program has since grown into a monthly opportunity for children and adults of all ages to move, groove, and play. 

Mary Wirth, the co-planner of the first RR&R program, is passionate about music. She believes that every child should be encouraged to embrace music in order to foster a lifetime enjoyment of music. This belief grows out of a rich musical childhood that led to piano instruction, college choir, and participation in the San Jose Symphonic Choir. In the 1980s, she enrolled her children in a preschool music class that taught her the importance of early childhood music and brain development. It was natural that she should include music as an integral part of her storytime presentations, as a Children's Librarian. Tamara Palmer joined Mary in planning RR&R in 2012, adding her diverse summer camp and elementary, outdoor, and experiential education background to the program planning. 

Mary and Tamara were certain that a solid half hour of music, dance, movement, instruments, and props would not only be fun, but also be an important opportunity to participate in something that has been increasingly disappearing from common experience, especially in schools. After the successes of the first few events, they began exploring why music and movement is so important and found that like many good programs, the more they researched, the greater were the discovered benefits. 

Music and movement programming builds early literacy skills, math skills, gross and fine motor development, and provides exercise. It increases memory, the ability to focus, participation, and releases active energy. It also encourages social interaction, creativity, abstract thinking, and enhances mood through production of endorphins and serotonin. Finally, the songs and activities performed in the RR&R can be easily taken home and practiced beyond the program itself, further extending all of the noted benefits. 

With this knowledge, and based on the success of the SRP events, RR&R was offered in the fall of 2012 and became a regular, monthly program in 2013. The first programs had an attendance of roughly 40 children and adults. With each presentation, the attendance has steadily grown. This last March, nearly 100 people participated, filling the program room to capacity. The interest in and need for such a noisy, active library program is evident and is just as enjoyable for the librarians to plan and present as it is for the participants to perform.

Tamara K. Palmer
Children’s Librarian
Santa Clara County Library District


Photos of musical activities and movement programing were shot by Jean Nei.