Focus on the Beat!

Today was an interesting day at Beatrice House. Our typical classroom was being used for a meeting, and so we held the class in a nook/lounge area near the front hall of the building. The smaller, more contained space actually helped with the children’s focus. There was enough room to move around, but not so much space to run.

We sang, “Do the Monkey” which involves a lot of action, jumping around and making animal sounds and gestures.

The average age of this class was predominantly older. And as they have all been with me for a while, they are far from shy. During the jam session, there is A LOT of sound that comes from these kids with their shakers, tambourines and especially the drums. But as we sang, “Down in the Valley,” I got the distinct impression that several of the loudest players, weren’t playing in sync, but were just banging it out at their own tempo. Time to shift gears!

I set my guitar aside, picked up a maraca and brought everyone close, into a tight circle. We sang the Alphabet Song, with the specific instructions to only make a sound on a letter. I had to start and stop a few times, to make sure everyone understood. (For some of the children, English is not their first language.) But by the end, they all got it, all of the instruments were clanging on the beat, and we were now playing as a group!

Jess’ first class at June Callwood Centre

It was my first day at the June Callwood Center. The RSF Facilitator at the site, Barbara, seemed very keen. She was excellent to work alongside of, and the center was very well organized. I think that we are going to have a fairly large sized group which is very exciting! The moms and children in the group seemed eager to learn new songs and activities to do with their children and I got almost everyone singing on the very first day which I see as a huge feat!! After 8 weeks I think that our music class is going to be rockin’! Two of the moms that will be attending this session are pre-natal ones which is a very fascinating concept for me since I have never worked with pre-natal moms before. I love the idea of the moms singing to their not yet born babies and will look forward to progressing with them and getting to sing with their newborns when they arrive into this world!

Let’s get on that beat

Today was an interesting day at Beatrice House. Our typical classroom was being used for a meeting, and so we held the class in a nook/lounge area near the front hall of the building. The smaller, more contained space actually helped with the children’s focus. There was enough room to move around, but not so much space to run.

We sang, “Do the Monkey” which involves a lot of action, jumping around and making animal sounds and gestures.

The average age of this class was predominantly older. And as they have all been with me for a while, they are far from shy. During the jam session, there is A LOT of sound that comes from these kids with their shakers, tambourines and especially the drums. But as we sang, “Down in the Valley,” I got the distinct impression that several of the loudest players, weren’t playing in sync, but were just banging it out at their own tempo. Time to shift gears!

I set my guitar aside, picked up a maraca and brought everyone close, into a tight circle. We sang the Alphabet Song, with the specific instructions to only make a sound on a letter. I had to start and stop a few times, to make sure everyone understood. (For some of the children, English is not their first language.) But by the end, they all got it, all of the instruments were clanging on the beat, and we were now playing as a group!

Fall 2011 – Jessica at June Callwood Centre

November 3

It was my first day at the June Callwood Center. The RSF Facilitator at the site, Barbara, seemed very keen. She was excellent to work alongside of, and the center was very well organized. I think that we are going to have a fairly large sized group which is very exciting! The moms and children in the group seemed eager to learn new songs and activities to do with their children and I got almost everyone singing on the very first day which I see as a huge feat!! After 8 weeks I think that our music class is going to be rockin’! Two of the moms that will be attending this session are pre-natal ones which is a very fascinating concept for me since I have never worked with pre-natal moms before. I love the idea of the moms singing to their not yet born babies and will look forward to progressing with them and getting to sing with their newborns when they arrive into this world!

Nov 24 (Taught by Josh Engel)

This week Jessica was unable to make it to class, so I got the privilege of stepping in.  We have been doing animal themed classes all week at Rainbow Songs and this class was no exception.  I brought in a variety of puppets and animal shaped musical instruments and we sang songs about animals big and small.  Highlights included passing around the wooden frogs while singing “Little Green Frog”, “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” and “Joy to the World”  (Jeremiah was a bullfrog).  We got everyone moving to the groove of “5 Little Monkeys” and “Sleeping Bunnies”. Some of the prenatal moms came and everybody seemed to really enjoy our Animal themed class.

December 1

I had a wonderful group of moms, toddlers and babies today. They were very enthusiastic and participated with gusto! It was so nice to receive a warm welcome back after I had been sick and had been away the previous 2 weeks. There was a new mom and baby that had come the previous week when Josh filled in for me. It was nice to see some new faces and old returning faces. They were very interested in the Tibetan Singing Bowls that I brought for the Instrument of the Week and once again they proved to be VERY keen on the parachute. The babies and the one toddler went wild at parachute time – giggling, laughing and screaming with delight.Another big hit was “Hands Together, Hands Apart” as one toddler was able to do all of the actions and the moms got a big kick out of watching him perform!

December 22

Everyone was in the spirit of the holidays and Barbara had baked delicious cookies to share. The instrument of the week that I showed was the caxixi and the moms and volunteers were naturals. They picked it up straight away which I was very impressed with. We did a special Jingle Bells activity with body bells on the kids to get into the spirit of the holiday season. One of the babies was very fond of the body bell and shook vigorously throughout the entire song with a giant smile on her face!

January 12

Today was wonderful as we had two new babies and moms join our class today! Also nice to have consistency with regular attending moms and their babies in the class. The babies had lots of energy and were smiling away during the action songs such as “Flying Babies”, “Zoom Zoom Zoom” and “The Grand Old Duke of York”. I taught everyone the proper technique of shaking maracas and they were all naturals at it. “Shake it baby Shake it” was a real hit as they got quite into the rhythm and actions of the song.

January 19

Well today was especially wonderful because Joel came to observe and participate in the class! He added so much to the class especially since today I almost lost my voice!! So thank you Joel for saving the day, harmonizing with me and helping me carry the tunes in such an energetic, amazing way! We had great participation from the staff, moms and babies/toddlers today and we had one new toddler who tried out the class and loved it today. I showed the Sruti Box from India as the Instrument of the Week and it was a huge hit! Everyone was into choosing one key to open or close and as a class we created a special chord together.