Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's a Wind Whistle? (part 2)

My favorite wind whistle is made by LP (Latin Percussion).  
You can see by my photo that my whistle is so well-loved the LP logo is almost worn off!

I once misplaced this wind whistle during a studio move.  I didn't worry at the time because I thought I could easily replace it.  No so!  I could not find a replacement LP wind whistle anywhere.  

I ended up ordering a slightly different type of wind whistle and discovered that it made a completely different sound.  I never used it successfully with my classes. 

Thankfully, my trusty LP wind whistle appeared one day.  During my next studio move, I actually packed it in my pocket and not a box to be sure I wouldn't lose track of it.  

Today I'll be using the wind whistle with my Early Orff class (2-3 year olds with parents) as we experience more Little Red Bird magic!

Tomorrow I am going to talk a bit about some other ways I build listening skills with the wind whistle.  Check out yesterday post to read a bit more about wind whistles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's a Wind Whistle? (part 1)

One of my favorite, most-used, fun, attention-getting instruments is the wind whistle. 

It sounds like the wind and creates an instant calm in the class when I bring it out and begin blowing it.  The kids stop what ever they are doing and look around for the sound.  Eventually, they focus on me and I have their attention.

I keep it available during my classes and find myself reaching for it unconsciously to bring focus to a class, to create an atmosphere, to lead movement activity.

More to come on wind whistle games!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Red Bird sings and blows in the wind!

This you tube video is so beautiful! 
Click on the link (underlined words above) to hear this beautiful melody.
It is not sung in English, it's sung in a Gaelic dialect. lovely...
You can learn the melody listening to this stunning version sung by Emma Christian.

Little Red Bird
Little red bird on the lonely moor, 
lonely moor, lonely moor
Little red bird on the lonely moor, 
Oh where did you sleep in the night?

Did I not sleep on the swaying briar, 
swaying briar, swaying briar?
Tossing about as the wind rose higher, 
O, little I slept last night.

Wrapped in two leaves I lay at ease, 
lay at ease, lay at ease.
As sleeps a young babe on its mother's knee, 
O, sweet was my sleep last night.
Using this lullaby in the class
I originally learned this from one of the Kindermusik Cd's but didn't sing it too much then. 
Lately though, I have been loving this version and singing it with my 1-3 year olds and parents.  We sing it in english!
Wanda the witch, Lucky the horse and Boogie Bear demonstrate the bungy cord technique!
  1. Everyone gathers in a circle.  Children can be in laps, in front of parent or sitting independently of parent.
  2. We all rock back and forth hanging onto the bungy circle cord (see pix) while I sing the lullaby (parents join in usually be the second verse when they hear the melody repeat).  I also have the words written out on a wall chart for the parents. 
  3. We rock gently on the lonely moor and then bounce the cord higher during the windy verse and then rock gently again for the last sleepy verse.
  4.  We put the cord away.
  5. Our next (second) class we rock again singing the lullaby.  By this time everyone enjoys singing and rocking/bouncing/rocking.
  6. I bring out the scarves and my wind whistle. 
  7. The children usually are ready to change activity but the parents really enjoy sitting and rocking.  I ask the children to be the wind inside or outside the circle with their scarves while I blow my wind whistle.  It's a really beautiful sight and sound!
  8. We sing the lullaby again, this time we have many things going on.  Some children are watching in the laps of their parents, some are "windy" and moving about, some are holding onto the bungy cord.  The parents generally know the song by now and we have a relaxing time together.
  9. Clap and exclaim how beautiful it all was!  
  10. Clean up!
We are developing:
  • beat competence
  • vestibular system
  • imagination (bungy cord is the "briar", scarves are the "wind")
  • social skills (comfort in group moving with other children, rocking with a large ensemble)
  • musicality (responding with gentle rocking movements when music is gentle, more agitated movements when wind blows)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has Sprung! (part 4)

Spring has Sprung in Orff-land!

This is part 4 of a layered speech/song/rhythm piece.
Today we take yesterday's percussion ostinati and transfer those parts to Orff instruments.

We know the poem...
Spring has Sprung
The grass is growing green
The sun is shining now and
Birds are seen!

We know the ostinati:  
grass:  growing, growing
birds:  here I am!  sh sh

If you have chanted the ostinati,
If you have played the ostinati on small percussion,
Then you will find the Orff instrument parts very easy!

The Orff Orchestra! 
1.  Set up the Orff instrumentarium in C pentatonic.
Leave in the C,D,E,G,A 
Take out the F and B's (burgers and fries)

It will look like this.

2.  Now play
growing, growing on C and G.  Alternate C - G - C - G. Say "growing, growing" while you play the C and G.  (Don't play them together as a chord, play them separately.) 
Chant or sing the poem along with this.

3.  Now play
here I am sh sh  on any bars.  Don't play on the "sh", those are supposed to be rests.

4.  Now play
all the parts together (grass and birds)...and sing the song.
It will sound lovely because the instrument is set up in a pentatonic scale (no half tones) 

Just a note
I have literally broken down the steps to successful teaching of an Orff arrangement.  
I recommend that you actually perform at least one of the previous posts in this process for this spring piece.  
Using the Orff instruments are considered the "cherry on top" of a learning process.
All the foundation has been built with speech, body percussion, chanting and small percussion so that when you offer the children an opportunity to play the Orff instruments they will experience ease in playing as an ensemble.
If you skip all the foundation steps, it may work, but you've short-changed the depth of learning for your kids!

Links to the previous spring posts (foundation building posts!):
Post 3

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Has Sprung! (part 3)

Make Me Musical celebrates spring!

In the Sunday (part 1) post we learned the Spring has Sprung poem.
On Monday (part 2) we added 2 ostinati to perform with the poem.

Today we transfer those ostinati speech parts to percussion.

Spring has sprung
Spring has sprung
The grass is growing green
The sun is shining now and
Birds are seen!

Ostinati chanting:

grass:  "Growing, growing, growing, growing"
birds:  "Here I am!  (sh sh)  Here I am!  (sh sh)
           (sh = rest/no sound)    

Take the grass part "growing, growing" and play it on the drums.
Take the  bird part "here I am!"  and play it on the shakers & scrapers.

Something to think about
Now, you might think it would be a good idea to play the word rhythm of the poem onto a percussion instrument...and it may be but consider this.

A short, rhythmic repeated rhythm like "growing, growing" or "here I am (sh sh)" is a wonderful, relaxing rhythmic/steady beat phrase to play.  The brain enjoys that sort of repetitious performance.  It will create coherence in our brains and hearts.

Phyllis Weikart suggests that, clapping each syllable of a rhythmic poem like this one will fracture the rhythm and set up an incoherence in the brain.  So don't clap the words of the poem.  Instead, chant the poem or sing it as a melody.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung (part 2)

Try a rhythmic speech arts piece with your class!

On Sunday, the first day of spring (check it out) I posted a spring chant that can be used with all ages.

Today I'm adding some layers of speech to make a textured speech arts piece with that poem.

Spring has sprung!
Spring has sprung
The grass is growing green
The sun is shining now and
Birds are seen!

Ostinati chanting:
grass:  "Growing, growing, growing, growing"
birds:  "Here I am!  (sh sh)  Here I am!  (sh sh)
           (sh = rest/no sound)    

This is a pretty simple addition...adding some rhythmic speech to layer over the poem.
Have one group of kids chanting the grass part, another chanting the bird part, and another group chanting the poem.

Adding movement
The kids usually instinctively add movement to their speech parts and then all the groups can move through the space chanting their parts simultaneously.  

It's okay to sit and chant though, especially if the groups are new to speech work. 

Have fun! 
If the class just can not do all 3 groups, I divide them in 2 groups (birds and grass) and I chant the poem.

Skills we are building 
This builds listening, focus, auditory independence, beat competence and cooperative skills.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Has Sprung! (part 1)

Spring has arrived! 
Let's celebrate!
This is a little chant I have used with all ages.

Spring has sprung
Spring has sprung
The grass is growing green
The sun is shining now and
Birds are seen!

Spring has sprung
The grass is growing green
The sun is shining now and 
Flowers are seen!

brainstormed ideas for last line
Tulips are seen!
Worms are seen!
Fishermen are seen!
Baby birds are seen!
A crocus is seen!
Blossoms are seen!
Sandals are seen!

Ages 1-5:  
We sing it over and over while we play beats. 
With the parents and children, together we change the last line of the poem each time to brainstorm all our spring ideas. 

I have a very simple mp3 recording if you'd like to hear the melody.  Just send me an email and I'll forward a copy to you.  

We play beats using any small percussion (drums, shakers, bells and even body percussion).

I love to play beats on the Orff instruments with my classes.
I usually set up them up in C pentatonic before the class. (Leave in the C,D,E,G,A bars and take all the rest out).

Ages: 4-7
Introduce the poem as a chant, instead of a song.
Create a spring drama...whisper (chant) softly and repeat the poem, each time adding more volume until spring is shouting out!   

It's most effective to use small drums to keep beats as we're chanting.

With ages 6 and older, I have them walk the beats as they chant and we use our bodies quite dramatically when we crescendo.

Use the musical terms 
piano (soft) 
crescendo (gradually louder)
forte (loud)

I have a long list of variations on this theme.
I will post more about adding layers of spring in my next post!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chanting Shamrocks! (song, chant and role play)

I'm a Little Shamrock
(chant verse or sing to the tune:  I'm a little teapot)

I'm a little shamrock
Yes, indeed!
I bring good luck
I'm not a weed!

Wear me on your hat
Or your lapel,
Just a three-leaf clover
To bless you well!   

Simple ostinati: 
An ostinato is a stubborn rhythm that repeats over and over.
The two groups can call back and forth.
Proud Shamrocks say:          I am!                         I am!
Teasing Leprechauns say:                 You’re not!              You’re not!

Keep it Simple:  The tune is great for ages 3-8. 
Add some fun:  From about ages 4-1/2 you can add the ostinati in for fun.
Make this a drama game:  The addition of the role play is probably best reserved for ages 6-8 because of the role play topic, which is teasing.
If you use the role play with ages 9 and up…I wouldn’t use the little tune!  Just do the role play and bring in some Irish history.

About Role Play
I recommend role play for older children ages 6 and up.
They are ready to start discussing how their actions affect others and if you really get into the drama of this (which is not necessary if you just want to do a quick rhythmic fun thing!) then you’ll need some time to chat with the children as you move through the role play.

Divide the class into 2 groups, shamrocks and leprechauns.  Each group has an opportunity to be the shamrock group and then the leprechaun group.

Now set the scene to celebrate St.Patrick's Day...
It’s St.Patrick’s Day and the shamrocks are proud of their history.
They even have a song and they like to sing it.  They are strutting around, sitting tall, happy to be shamrocks.

The Leprechauns are mischievous and like to tease the shamrocks.  They hear the special song and spend St. Patrick’s Day teasing the shamrocks that they are just weeds and they are not special (you’re not!).  The shamrocks hear the teasing and respond with (“I am”).

The leprechauns and shamrocks can mingle and walk about among each other, dramatizing the teasing interaction. 
Use facial expressions, body language and dynamic levels.
Start very quietly and become louder.
Accelerate the tempo for fun.

Role Play Considerations
In old Ireland teasing was common (according to my Irish-born husband) and it’s really a sign that you’re part of the group, family, friendship circle if you are teased.  Having met some of his relatives and heard family stories, I think teasing may still common in Ireland:)

Where we live in Canada, teasing is not heavily practiced.   In fact, I would say teasing is probably frowned on, particularly if it’s obvious it’s hurting someone’s feelings. 

I have fun with kids, asking them to use their eyes to communicate what a tease is.  We can practise responding with a teasing voice and smiling eyes back.  We can practise reading the shamrock faces…are they having fun too?  Are the shamrocks having hurt feelings?

When you reverse roles, that’s where the discussion comes in. 
If you tease someone, your eyes are smiling.  It’s not usually intended to be a hurtful thing.  I do work with some extremely sensitive children, who even at older ages of 7, 8 or 9 do not like to even “play tease”. 

I don’t insist that they “play” in this case.  Usually they like to watch the others play and can be the audience.  It’s much more satisfying for them.  Sometimes they see things happening that the others have not.

I’ve taken on the role of St. Patrick and play scolded the leprechauns for teasing too much if necessary.

Ages 9 and older
If you are dramatizing with ages 9 and older they enjoy learning the history of St. Patrick and how he used the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity in Christianity to the pagans.  St. Patrick preached to the people to imagine the leaves representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  The long stem represented the single Godhead.  The pagans had many gods and this was a visual that helped to explain that in Christianity there was only one God.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leprechaun Waltz

Are Leprechauns real?
My wonderful husband was born in Dublin, Ireland, so I asked him last night,  "Are leprechauns real?"  (We've been married 2 years and somehow we just hadn't found our way to the leprechaun discussion until that moment.)

"The wee people?  Sure, they're real."  He actually called them "wee people".
Then he said, "My Granny Fitz said her mother saw the wee people all the time."
Your great-grandmother saw leprechauns all the time???
Do you think leprechauns would waltz?
"Sure," he said, "Granny Fitz said they lepped around the mushroom rings."

I wished I'd asked him that a week ago when I was talking to my students about leprechauns and celebrating St.Patrick's would have made this song more real for them.:) 
Leprechaun Waltz
Just me singing with simple piano accompaniment 
and improv music for movement segments.

Leprechaun, Leprechaun
Leppin' with me
Under the tree
Leppin' with me

Leprechaun, Leprechaun
Leppin' with me
Let's make a new shape, ooo-wee!

(make body shapes with your partner during the free dance music
that's 8 bars of 1-2-3)

or...find a new partner during the free dance music...

The Process (ages 4-8)
  1. Everyone counts to 3 over and over while tapping beats on their own body.  Can be tapping on just the strong beats...the first beat.
  2. Keep tapping beats on the body as the teacher sings the song.
  3. Learn the words to the song. 
  4. Tap the beats on all the bodies around you while you sing the song.
  5. Make shapes at the end of the verse where it says to make shapes. 
  6. If you've all been sitting, try standing and tap beats on all the bodies while singing the song.  Now when you make shapes there will be some pretty spectacular gangly movements!
  7. I've included a recording for you.  You will hear the piano play "dance" or "interlude" music for shape-making.
  8. Then you'll hear the piano play strong preparation beats that act as an aural signal for the children to find a partner (new or old) and begin the song again.

  • Choose a small percussion instrument to keep the beats instead of tapping beats on the body.  I like using small hand drums, egg shakers, sticks and jingle-bells because they make fun props during the shape-making.
  • If you have children who can not get up and move, make face shapes during the shape-making.
  • If you have children who are not able to control themselves (behaviour disintegrates due to over-stimulation or something similar) during movement times, then make this a sit down activity.
  • Specify if shapes should be independent of others or cooperative with others.
Create a lovely waltz performance (ages 6-8)
  • Turn the song into a lovely waltz.  Talk about how a waltz is an old fashioned partner dance.
  • Ask children to find a partner and stand facing them.
  • Try having all the partners in a circle or in two lines so there is an ordered formation for the group.
  • Have the partners stay connected and touch hands in some way (palms touching or fingers touching or holding hands) and sway to the 3/4 time music while they sing the song.  Do this instead of tapping beats on bodies.  It will look more like an old-fashioned waltz.
  • Eye contact with your partner can be quite lovely during a waltz but if eye contact just doesn't work with your group...try focus on a spot on the wall during the swaying bits.
  • During the shape-making music have them make cooperative connected shapes with their partner.  
  • During the preparation beats, have the children bow and/or curtsy to their partner and move to a new partner to start all over.  
  • Or...stay with your partner, make statues during the prep beats and then begin swaying with the song again.

Lovely Leprechauns Leppin' la!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drumming Hello in 3/4 time!

I'm glad we're all together!
Every class begins with a physical activity followed by a hello song at Musicalia.  Here is one of the hello songs we've been loving this year.

Ages: 3 and 4 years with parent
We've been using this old favorite tune this term.
  1. To experience 3/4 time 
  2. Welcome each family with a song. 
  3. Remember/learn the names of our class members (sing one child/parent combo of names for each verse  That means we sing the song 9 times at least!)
  4. To explore playing a variety of drums with hands and mallets.
  5. Practise sharing the drums (not always easy!)  Sharing drums is a great experience for children from ages 3 and older. 
  6. Playing and experiencing musical contrasts of piano/forte, presto/adagio, crescendo/decrescendo

I'm glad we're all together, together, together
I'm glad we're all together, to sing and to play
There's Jordan and Jennifer  (child name and parent name)
There's Jordan and Jennifer (child name and parent name)
I'm glad we're all together to sing and to play!

The Process
  1. I lay a blanket on the floor and set up drums all around the edge of the blanket.
  2. Everything from our child-size tympani, to the Remo Floor drums (gathering drums and solo drums), Studio 49 hand drums, lollipop stick drum, native frame drums, and our new favorite the "sun-moon-star" drum.   
  3. The parents and children gather around the edges with the children seated at a drum and parents generally behind or beside to assist their child with whatever drum/mallet they are presented.
  4. We play soft beats to start and then I lead them in singing.  
  5. At the end of each verse we rotate around the blanket to a new drum and sing again.  
  6. Each time we have a new verse I suggest variations (or ask for suggestions) on ways  to change the way we play.  

  • Maybe we'll try to play piano (this is hard)
  • Next verse:  forte
  • Next verse: crescendo from piano to forte
  • Next:  decrescendo from forte to piano (this is the most impressive and is rewarded with applause almost everytime from the parents)
  • Next:  play slowly (adagio)
  • Next: play presto (quickly)
  • Next:  play mf (mezzo-forte medium loud)
  • Next: play pp  (pianissimo as soft as you can)

I usually have more drums than children so we have a few more rotations with different games/songs.  

The kids have fun playing all the different kinds of drums.  They also have an opportunity to explore controlling the dynamic, speed and use of hands or mallets.  We are engaged in bilateral motor development, practising impulse control, sharing, initiating and following a leader.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole!

This week Rachel Rambach, creator of the Listen & Learn blog and member's site (I am a regular reader of her blog and a member of her member's site) posted a story recalling her path to becoming a music therapist.  Her request to hear from her readers struck a chord within me.

I wrote her a long response about my professional journey to this point.  I'm taking her advice to post my own story on my own blog!  Here it is... 

A Joyful, Unexpected Career Path
Down the Rabbit Hole!

I have a degree in Education. I’ve always known I would be a teacher. From the age of 3 or 4 years old I knew this.  I thought I would always be a classroom teacher but I only did that for 10 years. I now work with babies and young children and run my own music & movement school.

Early Influences
I imagine my own early childhood years shaped my intuitive and empathic ability to be present with people with special challenges. One of my two sisters had such severe physical and cognitive challenges she lived full-time in a children’s hospital. I spent much of my childhood assisting, observing and existing with unusual life circumstances.

University Days
I read very briefly about music therapy in the library at university and thought it sounded intense. I felt called to be a teacher and not a therapist. In those days (about 30 years ago) music therapy was very “fringe”. It wasn’t something encouraged or pursued by many and there were few obvious employment opportunities. It would have been very difficult to shadow one and so I did not have really any clue about that field other than the judgments I made on my own.

If I had had more info and someone to watch or talk with, I think I would have studied and become a board-certified music therapist. My personality seems more suited to the sort of focus a music therapist has than a music educator or music performer has. I think this may be why my business has been successful…working with babies and very young children requires a huge dose of developmental knowledge and musical skill combined with people skill.

Educator or Therapist?
Much of my teaching career has actually been spent doing very music-therapyish-type things. I accrued 2 specialty teaching areas while completing my education degree, one as a special needs teacher and one as a music teacher.

Somehow, I naturally combined my knowledge of the two areas, particularly after leaving the school system to run my own school. The children’s hospitals in our area would refer children to my programs because I seemed to have “a way” with special needs children (the term “special needs” was the politically correct term in those days). After a few years, I had a bit of a rep in the community and other teachers and families in the community would seek me out for support with their children.

All Kinds of Kids
I ended up working with children diagnosed with autism, a variety of syndromes from Asperger’s to Moebius, brain damage that affected children physically, cognitively, emotionally and those suffering from a variety of abuses as well as children with terminal illness. I have been invited to work on therapeutic teams with other children’s therapists because of all this. I have become adept at writing comprehensive evaluations for music therapy purposes. I found it’s similar to writing a report card but each one takes much longer.

Public School Teaching
Even as a classroom teacher, I would find every September my classes would be heavily loaded with the “eccentric” and “challenged” children. I once questioned another teacher about this and she told me they (the other teachers on staff) would always give me the kids with learning problems and other challenges because they knew I would do everything in my power to get them the support they needed and that I would “love them anyway”.   That may have contributed to my deciding to leave the public system and “just teach music”.:)

A Conscious Decision
I left the school system 18 years ago, and it’s only been in the last year that I made a conscious decision NOT to work further as an alternative-type music teacher/therapist. I have asked the hospitals not to refer to me. I am now mostly focused on the “average” child and family. There are several board-certified music therapists in our town now. I encourage families to contact those professionals.

Life can take you to places you have no idea or plan to go to sometimes. I am lucky to love what I do and to have been able to make a living being joyful, working hard and playing creatively with music, movement and children.

Writing a bit about my journey leaves me with a satisfied feeling.  It's a tool to acknowledge where I am now in my own professional development.  I encourage you to reflect on your own path, where you've been, where you are and where you may be going!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cock O' The North - A Leprechaun Listening Game

Cock o' the North - Scottish & Irish Ceilidh Music.

What is Cock O' the North?
This is a fiddle tune we learn in our 2nd year of fiddle here (around ages 7-8).  I played this game this year beginning with the 5 year olds and the 8 & 9 year olds loved it too.

If you've never heard the tune, you will hear it played in the video above...obviously by some old pros...somehow we never sound quite this lilting and relaxed in class when we're learning it! day though! 

The other way you can learn the tune is to email me and ask for my mp3 recording (just me singing with a piano accompaniment).  I'm happy to email it to you.

Typically there are no words that accompany Cock O'the North except this year we have Leprechaun Lyrics.   This year it's a game and a song.

There's a Tiny Leprechaun
There's a tiny leprechaun with his pot o'gold, O' Malley!
There's a tiny leprechaun with his pot o'gold.

He's never going to give it up and
He's never to going to tell you, NO!
He's never going to share it with you
Even when he's old!
(clap, clap, clap, clap...)

This is my first shot at figuring out how to record, upload and share a tune on my blog. 
Hope it works for you.  It's a simple recording to help you learn the tune.
I hope to improve my skills in this area over time!
Most of the parents do not play fiddle so it's not a tune the kids are exposed to at home.

I loan out CD's and play it on the fiddle frequently over the years in classes so the children eventually find it familiar to their ears.

How to play the game (it's a variation of Hot & Cold)
  1. Create the object for hiding. I made a shamrock shape with a pot o' gold image for hiding.
  2. I modelled singing the song, children listening.
  3. I played the fiddle tune for the kids and they sang along a few times.
  4. We had some fun turning our last names into Irish last names by changing O'Malley into O'something else.   We add "O'________" to the front of each of our last names. (eg. Susan Seale becomes O'Seale) (John Smith becomes O'Smith) and then we add the name into the first line of the song in place of O'Malley.
  5. Once we know the words we play the game.
  6. One child is chosen to be the O'_______. That child leaves the room while we hide the pot o'gold.
  7. One child is chosen to be the "leprechaun" and hides the shamrock. The rest of us watch where the shamrock is hidden.
  8. We sing the song as a signal for the searcher to return to the room.
  9. The O' Searcher looks everywhere for the gold.  
  10. While the searcher searches the rest of us are clapping loudly (forte) when the searcher is close by and clapping softly (piano) when the searcher is far away.  Eventually the searcher finds the pot o'gold and the game starts over with a new "leprechaun" and "searcher".

The Music
If you'd like a copy of this folk tune I'd be happy to email the mp3 file (me singing the leprechaun version of the song with simple piano accompaniment).  Just let me know.  Send me an email!

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wavin' Your Guitar Flag!

Our guitar idol...Wanda the Witch puppet (aka Grizelda). 
Everyone seems to love guitar, especially kids!

We start learning guitar at Musicalia around age 7.  We use 1/2 size classical guitars and we all learn while sitting on the floor, unless there is a health or physical impediment that makes this too difficult.  

The kids are pretty excited to learn to play.  It's social.  It's a sing-a-long instrument.  It makes a pretty great sound right from the beginning.  It's cool. 

Yesterday, I worked with a group of 8 & 9 year olds.  They are in their 2nd year of guitar and have just begun to "pick".   This seems to have ignited new passion for the instrument. 

We've been chording (and while fun and a great harmonic accompaniment for sing-a-long style music) it is a bit more challenging than picking.  At least that's what the kids say.

Currently our repertoire consists of:
Wavin' Flag (there is a chording section and a bass line picking section)
Hedwig's Theme (they adore this one and it's quick learn, picking only)
Tell My Ma (Irish tune that they already play on recorder and sing it too, on guitar this one is for picking only)
I Gotta Feelin' (we learned a boomwhacker version of this song provided by Kat Fulton a couple of weeks ago and they are lovin' this, a mix of chords and picking)
Ghost Chickens in the Sky (originally we learned Ghost Riders in the Sky and then they all wrote versions poking a bit of fun at the original...another big hit, chording only)
Ah! Poor Bird (our first picking song, we already play this on violin, recorder and sing it as a canon, it's absolutely beautiful and they like to perform it)

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for other simple tunes kids love to play, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Affirmation and Prayer (part 2 of 2)

Gifts of gratitude and blessings for all involved! 

Yesterday, I shared an affirmation written when I was asked to join an ongoing therapeutic process.  I was invited to work on a team as the music & movement therapist.   There were several things we did initially in our planning meetings when I first joined the group.  Reading and sharing the affirmation posted yesterday and the prayer below in today's post were some of those things.

When I first began working with children and on teams I did not know it was possible to set an intention in this way or to ask for a blessing in my professional work, at least not publicly.  I learned this "on the job" and I pass it on to you now!

Dear _______
(fill in with your focus...God, your creator, universal life force)

We thank you for this opportunity
to feel your powerful, healing, loving,
 intelligent, knowing, peaceful presence
in our work with “child/client’s name”.

We are grateful for our
clear minds, open hearts
and the wholesome feeling of being embodied
in our work at this time.

We ask for blessings for each of our families
so that we are relaxed, happy and
grounded in our home lives during this time.
Thank you.

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