Ever since that February day that Dawn and I partnered in Dance Studio play with the children we have been thinking about how we might enable children to write, sing and dance their own music-making. We think we found a start!
On Monday evening Dawn and I copied sheet music off the internet and provided children with strips of paper to compose their own musical phrases.
A small table was set up in the kitchen area with pens and examples of music.
When Nolan arrived on Tuesday morning, I seized the opportunity to explain the music writing concept. Nolan drank in the information I fed him and got right to work placing whole notes on his music-strip. Afterward I sounded out his song for him, Nolan wrote several more phrases and eventually began reading his own compositions.
Many children dove into writing single phrase scores as they arrived and investigated this new activity in meaning-making. Each child seemed instantly inspired by the prospects of creating their own sound.
Early Wednesday morning Anya J revisited the table for a new day's turn. She scribbled long lines across her page one after another in fast furious fashion and then sought to hear the sound. Sometimes asking me to interpret and sometimes interpreting herself.
I talked about writing notes. This led to Anya creating 3-parts in her phrasing: Very high upper notes, midline scribbly rolling lines and very low notes. I talked about the 3 parts she created and with Yolanda's help each of us performed a section. Anya chose to sing high notes, I sang low notes and Yolanda sang the rolling middle lines. It was exciting for me to feel the child, the teacher and the parent all singing together--WOW! What a great way to start our day.
Later we went outside and children wanted to pick up where they left off on yesterdays show. We had left the stage at the center of the yard all we needed were the drums (upturned buckets and sticks). Mo showed some serious skills as did Westin who said he plays at home with Harper on their drum set.
On reflecting on this experience I marvel at the fun of 'loose parts' and inventing our own instruments of play. It's all part of the satisfying feeling of the experience, like enjoying our Mickey Cake and Thursday Bread. We had to work purposefully, use our imaginations and bring to life our ideas within the limits of our resources. Yes, I'm sure it would be very wonderful to have a half-dozen drums and drum sticks, but recycling the sound of an old pot and the beat of a few fallen branches from our beloved tree and sharing the limited resources in a circle of quirky percussion and song was an exercise in thinking outside the box.
And that sort of practice is what our Littles need as they take hold as leaders in our world. ~Liz