Syncopation means an unexpected change in an established rhythm or beat. In simple terms – syncopation means that the weak beat gets the accent or emphasis. You’ll often hear syncopation in African or Latin music, or jazz.
Take a standard American march like Stars and Stripes. A march has a steady, predictable beat. If you were to clap along, you would automatically clap on beats 1 and 3(unless you were the tuba player – who has the syncopation on beats 2 and 4).
Our brains love steady beats, because the brain loves to find patterns and sequences. In fact, if you listen to music that has a steady, predictable beat (like that march I mentioned), after a while, your neurons actually begin firing at the same rate as the beat of the march.
But as humans, we like patterns only up to a point. After that comes boredom, and we stop paying attention. But when the pattern changes, we begin paying attention again. Syncopation tickles our brains, so to speak. Our brains search for the new pattern, and the sense of unpredictability that comes with change is fun and interesting to both your brain and your soul.
Think about it – when you hear syncopated African or Latin music or Jazz – it makes you want to smile and move, right? The beat is unexpected and interesting. Take a listen to Leroy Anderson’s “The Syncopated Clock”. In Village class, we’ve been listening to the jazzy Hop to It. That’s syncopated, too.
But what does this have to do with your little one? Let me explain. You want your child to eat a wide variety of foods, to like an assortment of flavors, textures, colors and shapes. Even if they ask for the steady, predictable mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets every night, you still want them to have a balanced diet.
The same is true for music. Our children need a variety of musical experiences. Life is richer and more interesting with a varied diet of music. And some brain tickling.
-posted by Miss Analiisa, who has been feeling rather bored the last couple of days, and feels in need of a brain tickle in the form a new project of some sort.