New Songs Both Challenge and Create Focus

It was a particularly energetic class at Robertson House today. According to staff, the children had been asking about me the entire weekend, so upon my arrival there were lots of hugs and high-fives. Several of the children helped me form a train to bring the jam bag from the daycare and as we made our way through the cafeteria and past the reception desk, there were a lot of smiles and cheers from the staff working at the front desk. I was proud of my little ones for being SO incredibly helpful in setting up the room and cleaning up a bit of mess that was left there from various morning activities.

Despite the somewhat chaotic energy at times, I was able to try out some new songs that captured their attention and made for an enjoyable class. We sang If All the Raindrops, Mr. Sun, Thunder Pounding, Johnny Didn’t Have Any Breakfast, Nothing Inthe World the Monkey Won’t Do, The Rooster Song, Old MacDonald, Tingalayo and TheLittle Green Frog.

For the instrument of the week we passed around two pairs of Tingshaw Bells from Tibet. This instrument could not have been more suited to today’s group of children as we were able to take a moment and mediate, breathing deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Spring time with a newcomer named Autumn!

Yesterday’s class was a mix of new and old faces. Many of my families have moved out of the shelter but many new faces have emerged. During the opening Hello Song I noticed a new girl and her mother standing by the door looking hesitant about entering the room. I encouraged them in by waving my hands and smiling. I definitely wanted them to feel welcome. After a few more songs the girl, named Autumn, came in and joined everyone on the carpet. It was amazing to watch the power of music and how it can bring people together. Autumn loved playing the instruments and completely came alive during the parachute. Within 40 minutes Autumn had completely transformed from being shy in to a lively girl full of smiles and laughter. I’m hoping her Rainbow Songs Foundation class helped her feel more comfortable at the shelter and introduced her to some new friends.

Animal Week Fun!

Today we celebrated Animal Week with a smaller group than usual. To be honest, I think this was in part due to the AMAZING sunshine outside! I took the spring-like energy of the outdoors and channeled it into making music with my friends inside the doors of Robertson House.

We started with a request (The Turtle Chant) and kept to the animal theme as we sang through many songs, including: Johnny Didn’t Have Any Breakfast, Old MacDonald, Listen to the Water, Six Little Ducks, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Poor Little Bug On the Wall, Tingalayo, Alice the Camel and Elephants Marching.

For the instrument of the week I surprised the group with three different sizes of Wooden Frogs from Thailand! A common type of guiro from Asia, rhythms are created by running a stick up and down the ridges cut on its back at different speeds. The mouth and belly are hollowed out so that the sound may resonate deeply and sound incredibly life-like. We took turns passing them around and sang Little Green Frog and Three Green and Speckled Frogs.

We jammed to Rockin’ Robin, Going to the Zoo, and Down By the Bay. We were able to come up with some amazing animal rhymes including, “Have you ever seen a cat doing yoga on a mat!?” Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the parachute, but the class ended with lots of smiles and loud, hungry-sounding tummies. Thank goodness we still had some snacks leftover from the generous Longo’s donation!

Preparation for Animal Week

It was a slightly smaller class at Robertson House this week, but we were very focused on making music and I was very impressed by the amount of participation from grownups and children alike. There were also some new faces who were amazing singers!

I decided to prepare the group for another special theme week known as Animal Week. I have been doing lots of animal songs in my regular classes during the week and was inspired by how much children LOVE animal songs. Some were more familiar than others but I took the time to ask the group and prep accordingly. The set list looked as follows: Johnny Didn’t Have Any Breakfast, Listen To The Water, Old MacDonald, Three Green and Speckled Frogs, Little Green Frog, and Tingalayo.We also sang some songs from the RSF CD at request (I Wake Up My Hands, Hands Together Hands Apart and Mr. Sun.)

We Then reviewed Rolling The Ball, and because this was so successful we Passed the Bean Bag. 

We had a nice long jam, which included, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Rockin’ Robin, and Going to the Zoo to further prepare for Animal Week.

The parachute was a huge hit for the new participants! We sang a song about all the amazing colors (Red, Yellow, Green and Blue) and went slowly up and down as we listened to a relaxing recording ofBlackbird by The Beatles.

Animal Songs

Monday night at Beatrice House was filled with animal songs. We started the class with one of my favourites, The Little Green Frog, and also sang Alice the Camel andSleeping Bunnies. The children just loved pretending to sleep like little bunnies and then wake up for an energetic jumping session. This is pretty much one of their favourite things to do. While I had them standing and moving around I went into a series of movement based songs such as All Around the Kitchen before sitting down for the wooden frog instrument demonstration. We ended the class with a fun filled jam session featuring Old MacDonald had a Band.

New faces singing old classics!

This week we had about seven newcomers. A few newborn babies with moms and a handful of older children between the ages of 5 and 10. I wanted to make sure the new people could participate so I sang mostly classic children’s songs including: Wheels on the Bus, Happy and You Know It, Itsy, Bitsy, Spider. Afterward I had everyone stand up for some movement and dancing. The children loved doing the Hokey Pokey and Shake Your Sillies Out. To regain focus I brought the attention back to the carpet for some quieter songs, including Lock the Door and I Hear Thunder. Mid class I had to quickly tune my guitar which had EVERYONE completely mesmerized. Everyone stopped talking immediately and watched as I turned the tuning pegs up and down. I don’t think the class has ever been that quiet – you could hear a pin drop! We finished the class with an extended jam session and fun under the parachute.

Claves and parachutes!

We were a smaller group this week, but a good combination of enthusiastic returnees and curious newcomers made for a fun session. Seeing the fun that those familiar with the programme were having helped the others loosen up and eventually they all joined in the fun. Five children and two mothers laughed and clapped while they sang along to: Two Little Blackbirds, Alice the Camel, Mama Don’ Allow, BINGO, Apples and Bananas, and What Are You Wearing? They banged away on the claves as the instrument of the week, and enjoyed the jam session and parachute. Looking forward to next week.