One of the things I love about the kids I work with is how they respond to music they enjoy. We experience a lot of live music together and often they express their musical-joy so blissfully and purely.

The kids I work with have ‘special needs’ and, for many of them, one thing this means is not being restricted by the endless rules mainstream culture has constructed for how, when, and why we are allowed to move.

I am inspired by the way these children move. I aspire to move as genuinely as they do.

Listening to fiddle or piano music and watching a child feel it with her/his whole body is a beautiful thing. Hands flapping, head shaking, body rocking, feet bouncing. That is music is flowing through a human body!

Think about the specific rules, perhaps unspoken but so very present, we know about how we can respond to music – especially in public. We can clap at the end or rhythmically during the music, but only during if it is a certain style of music, mind you! We can gently nod our heads or tap our feet, but don’t let it get too demonstrative! We can sway side to side, but never rock backward and forward! That’s just the beginning.

What does music actually feel like in our bodies? Is it so frightening that we need rule after rule to restrict our response?

Give me beautiful, blissful flapping and rocking any day. Give me the courage to join these children in their natural, perfect movement.