Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Spring Term 2016 – Blog 7

Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Spring Term 2016 – Blog 7

March 2nd 2016

Such a wonderfully coherent session today which just flowed and flowed. We had nine children who stayed with the provocation and the process through dancing, song-making, instrument playing, sonic exploring, drawing, looking for birds at the bottom of the field and performing.

What was unusual was the way that, as the provocation led seamlessly into the exploration and then into a number of different sharings, the group stayed together for the whole time – nearly two hours. Usually some of them spin off into other activities, but this group remained having fun and focus.

I was interested in dance and pictures as a way of remembering and relating to a song (can a dance or a picture be a ‘score’ for a song?) as this had come up in the last few weeks. So I asked Hugh (the ceilidh dance caller who came a few weeks ago) if he would like to come and join me again. he was up for it and we were greeted very warmly by the class. ‘A’ in particular is really fond of Hugh. He relates to his movement and copies and works really closely with him. Is this because he loves movement and feels really comfortable doing that, or because when Hugh came in before and we had parents there, Hugh spent quite a bit of time with Aaron and his family?

The process today was that we:

  1. Danced a circle dance as I played (on accordion) the music for ‘This Is Our New School’
  2. Made a new dance for ‘The Rain Comes Down’ song while we sang it.
  3. Created (at ‘M’’s suggestion) a new song called ‘The Birdie’s Are Whistling’
  4. Adding a new line each time with movements and sound effects
  5. Then introducing instruments.
  6. Playing the instruments (with ‘The Birdie…’ song).
  7. Drawing on large paper images from ‘The Birdie Song…’
  8. Performing it for ourselves with the pictures.
  9. Saying goodbye to Hugh who had to go to the doctors.
  10. Putting wellies and coats and hats on and going outside and down to the bottom of the field in very strong wind (taking different coloured streamers with us) to where the starlings and the sparrows were singing.
  11. Back in the class sharing our song and pictures for the rest of the group.

‘THE BIRDIE’S ARE WHISTLING’

The birdies are whistling    (whistle)
The birdies are eating        (munching)  leaves
The birdies are sleeping in their tree house (go to sleep)
The birdies are counting    (12345)
And when it is raining they get their umbrellas (put up imaginary umbrellas)
The birdies go shopping for some
milk… pizza… pears… oranges… chocolate cake… and instruments (get them out)

There was more to the song but once we had got the instruments out the whole nature of the play changed. It became about rhythm and sharing and noises and sounds.

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One girl really led the group today. As I had the accordion (which is powered by wind) we talked about listening to the wind and she said very early on ‘and the birdies’. After we had played our first song and we were talking about songs she said ‘even a birdie one’, and when we were about to do an adult led song (the third one) she again requested a birdie song, so we then spent the rest of the afternoon on this process. ‘M’ felt a real sense of ownership and several times said ‘that’s my song’. Not in a way that implied she could not share it, but in a way that was crediting herself and being proud.

Two examples that I noticed of her owning the piece that – in another person’s hands – could have been perceived as confrontational. We had just got the instruments out and had been playing for a few minutes. ‘M’ was swapping an instrument in the instrument box and meanwhile the group, sitting in a circle behind her, had decided that the next line of the song should be ‘the birdies read them books about the stories’. ‘M’ was focusing on the instrument box and so missed this bit of the process. When she came back to the group she realised that we had progressed the song in her absence and said ‘hey that’s my song’. She needed to say this and was very happy that we had added to it, but just wanted (I think) to acknowledge that it had been her inspiration. She needed this confidence and we could give it to her, supporting the fact that she initiated it, but it was now a group song. She seemed completely happy with that outcome.

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Again at the end of the afternoon, when we were back in the classroom and sharing the song with others who had not been involved in the creative process, ‘M was the last to join us, and I explained that we would be singing ‘The Birdies are Whistling’ and again ‘M’ looked at me and said ‘that’s my song’ and I again affirmed that it was her song and it was our song. She again seemed happy to be sharing it.

Wonderful to go outside on a wild and stormy day with boots and coats to the bottom of the field. The children went wild and most of them didn’t really notice the birds. But I really enjoyed going down to a bit of the grounds I haven’t previously been and to share the real gale blowing through our heads.

Today it was great to have a bit of time with the two class teachers afterwards sharing thoughts and looking back at the film of the session together. We learn so much more when we can have this time to look and share and contrast our thinking in a mutual way.

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