Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Today we started a six week Musical Play programme at a school in Christchurch. The children were totally engaged from the start.
We began by using a rainbow ring to help the children see, hear and feel the steady beat as we sat in a circle bouncing and moving the ring in time to rhyming, instructional and narrative songs about what the children were doing. There was use of sung questions, space and an opportunity for each child to take the lead in the middle of the circle. We had a range of dance moves: breakdancing, handstands and one girl proudly did the splits.
Some children have experienced extreme trauma and suffer high anxiety. They needed time and opportunity to watch before they felt confident to join in. We sang everything.
Some of the students had amazing ideas and their faces lit up when we incorporated their ideas into the sung games. In our rhyming song: “Down By the Bay” children’s ideas included “Did you ever see an eel eating orange peel?” and “Did you ever see a pill rolling down the hill?”
Use of chime bars encouraged the children to each play a 3 note pattern and we echoed each of the student’s pattern. Some delighted in teasing with their pattern and hearing more complex patterns being sung. We sang major, minor, and one child delighted everyone by playing down then up the octave. This was immediately copied by another student who looked so proud when we sang up and down his octave scales. One girl looked very worried when it came to her turn, but she agreed to play when I asked if she wanted help. The second time around the circle, she played a beautiful melodic pattern.
Drum play involved exploring patterns loud and soft, fast and slow, using fingers, knuckles, and whole hands. Each student was totally engaged and clearly delighted when their pattern was imitated by someone else in the circle.
We started with calming activities with the rainbow ring. This built to highly energetic exploration with the parachute. The students’ faces reflected their total joy as we dancing around and then they went under, firstly moving underneath, then lying together on the floor watching the parachute going up/down, moving fast or slow.
The whole session was gradually brought down, to soft, slow regulated Play. We sang Goodbye, then sang an instructional song about lining up and marching back to their classroom.
What a delight to work with such a beautiful, diverse group of children. I can’t wait for our next Musical Play session.