This article seeks to examine the value of Body-Tapping, as a gateway to music for early age education and as a friendly way of dealing with their first musical hearing challenges. The objective of the study was to examine the students’ sensations in light of Body-Tapping activity during music classes and their perception in the musical field.
Body-Tapping and its History
Body-Tapping is simply tapping on the body. It is by no means a new invention, apart from the coining of the term ‘Body-Tapping’, now a registered trademark under my name and will be further discussed later on. The historical roots of Body-Tapping can be found in ancient cultures all over the world (Fine, 2003).
In fact, anyone exposed to tribal dancing anywhere in the world, based on feet stamping, clapping and body tapping as a way of creating music, encountered the continuity of ancient body tapping, which also began with the feet stamping that indicated the rhythm. Creating the sounds on the body opens up a wide variety of musical options, starting from the dim sound of feet stamping, through the clapping of hands which creates a greater echo, all the way to the different sounds the hand creates when tapping different parts of the body.
This is how the arm, thigh, stomach, waist and calves became musical instruments (Leith, 2009;Howard, 2006). Campbell and Scott-Kassner (2009) also describe the activity of tapping on the body in different past cultures, and claim that the body is considered one of the first sources of musical sound production.
Their use of bare feet, leg rhythm, endurance and ecstasy were close to those of the Indian dance. But while the Indian dances expressed strength and help by magic and witchcraft, the dances of the African slaves expressed the desire for escape and forgetting. Since the African slave had no means of entertainment but himself, he danced for the pleasure of it and perhaps they also danced for their survival and health (De Mille, 1980).
transferred in disgraceful conditions, and in order to maintain their body temperature and fitness capabilities (health), they danced and moved around. It was an opportunity to express feelings. Through dancing, they expressed their lament over having been torn away from their home country and family. It seems it helped them maintain their connection to Africa (Thorp, 1990).
Slaves that were forcefully uprooted from Africa were However, Fine (2003) raises the assumption that the source of the activity of body tapping can be found in the gold literature of the Southern part of the African continent at the end of the 19th century, as during those days, Gumboots – the traditional miners dance – was characterized by body tapping. They would create musical rhythms combined with protest songs regarding the inflexibility and insensitivity of their employers.
(De Mille, 1980 ; Thorp, 1990 ) In 1739, slaves were forbidden to use drums, which we were a central instrument in their uprisings. As a replacement, they made use of their body, among other things (Bagwell, 1993).
Body-Tapping and its Added Value
I got to Body Tapping as a veteran musician. Music has been
like oxygen for me since childhood. At the age of 8 I started breakdancing. I wrote my first song when I was 12. At the age of 14, I performed as lead singer of the band “Hashmal Stati” in the Roxanne Club. As an adult, I was a member of Mayumana group for three years.
Mayumana combines music, drumming, rhythm and movement. Body-Tapping was born in the summer of the year 2000, after I had been asked to teach drumming on unconventional instruments. So I combined tapping on the body with other instruments, different than the customary ones, and developed a new exercise each lesson. In 2004, Body-Tapping became famous, and opened up many opportunities and a whole new world of target audiences from the education, entertainment and leisure fields. Body-Tapping uses the body as a drum kit, producing different and varied sounds.
Tempo and rhythm played on a drum kit can also be played on the body, while creating dynamic and complex rhythms on the body (e.g: Campbell & Scott-Kassner, 2009, Terry, 2006). In Body-Tapping, the body serves as a sound producing instrument. The sound created by our body – the natural musical instrument we own, is made up of five main sounds: 1. feet stamping. 2. clapping. 3. thigh tapping. 4. chest tapping. 5. finger snapping. One might notice that producing these sounds can be somewhat of a game. Repp (1980), claims that a common characteristic of games is “all games are similar to something which is not a game, yet differ greatly from that something.
We are always playing something. That is, in fact, imitation; but imitation with change” (p. 10). When saying “we are always playing with something”, there is the implication that ‘playing’ is both in the theatrical sense of the word and the game-playing sense.