Feeling Hot Hot Hot!

Counting day today as we sang “Clap Your Hands, Now Sing 1, 2, 3”, “6 Little Ducks”, “1 and 2 and 3 and 4”, and “10 Little Fingers”. 5 new adults and 1 child added to the sound produced by the returning 13 children and 1 adult. Lots of heavy hitters produced deep sounds on the Bass Bar. And we celebrated the nice weather during the jam session by singing “You Are My Sunshine” and “Hot, Hot, Hot”.

That made my day!

It was a fun day at Jessie’s Centre today with a bunch of staff members on hand to participate. Although the babies were young and some a bit sleepy, we were able to sing through a ton of songs before they went down for late afternoon naps.

We started by warming up our voices with Roly Poly, The Flea Song, One Button Two Button, and The More We Sing Together. We then woke up all our body parts with I Wake Up My Hands and filled our bellies with Sitting In My Highchair. Afterwards we had Bath Time to clean up our mess and took the bus to school (Wheels On The Bus). We also rowed our boats (Row Row Row Your Boat) and took a lap ride (Little Red Wagon). Standing up gave us a chance to stretch our legs and Zoom Zoom Zoom all the way to the moon!

For IOTW, I brought out a couple of instruments from Brazil (Agogo and Guiro) and gave a demonstration on how to play different rhythms on each. We passed them around the circle singing All The Babies Like Bananas and it was nice to see some of the grownups really enjoying themselves. We jammed to Stand By Me and Three Little Birds and finished with the parachute, with the babies lying down on their backs so they could look up at all the beautiful colours as we sang along to James Brown’s I Feel Good and Jamaica Farewell.

As usual the class went by far too quickly and to my delight one of the mom’s commented, “That made my day!” Always nice to hear positive feedback. Looking forward to next week!

Feel Good Fun

Such a fun, refreshing class at Robertson this evening! A lot of new faces and a couple returning. Singing was off to a nice start with the “Hello Song” and everyone enjoyed opposites with “Roly Poly” and “Hands Together, Hands Apart” – especially the little dance at the end. There was a new 1 year old with her mom today and she made a lot of happy, excited facial expressions during class. It was so much fun to watch her respond to activities and it brought a smile to everyone’s faces. I brought the Chinese gong as my special instrument. The older kids got a huge kick out of hitting it as hard as they could with the mallet; making the loud ‘CRASH’ sound.

Overall, the way the class went today felt really good and I was able to make some good connections with children and moms alike. One girl was quite shy and almost looked scared when she came to class with her mom and siblings, but she participated in her turn to roll the ball and hit the gong – her mom was so happy that her daughter made these strides and both of us applauded her participation.

At the end, I strongly encouraged the moms to return to class in the next few weeks as there are only 3 classes left in the session. I really hope to see them all again. One mom personally thanked me afterwards, saying she had a lot of fun – which was a reminder of the importance of RSF classes and how special it is for all who attend.

Funga Alafia Ashay Ashay

Nice to see some new faces this morning with 5 new children, along with 6 returnees. Unfortunately, there weren’t any adults today. But the kids made up with enthusiastic singing of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, “Funga Alafia”, and “Shut the Door” so we could go to the “Corner Grocery Store” so we could sing about bananas. They enjoyed playing with the Chime Bells as the IOTW, and had fun with the instruments singing “I’m in the Mood for Jamming”.

Gong!

Today was a more relaxed day at the Gooch Drop-in Centre. The number of kids (25) was a lot more manageable and there were a lot more adults present too. There were a few new kids that I hadn’t met yet, but most were kids that I had already met, and I’m excited to be learning their names and starting to get to know moms better too.

We started out with an energetic “I Wake Up My Hands,” and sang the “Little Green Frog” again–they remembered it well! Movement was a bit hectic, as it usually is but I can tell it’s improving, especially with the staff members helping out.

One of my favourite moments today came when I brought out the Gong for the IOTW. I asked the kids if they knew what it was; one thought it was a cymbal (close!) and one little girl knew its name and proudly announced it. I demonstrated how to play it and gave a little bit of history, and then Yufeng (the program coordinator) had some other really interesting information about it too! She explained to the kids that in China, sometimes the Gong was used to signal the closing of big gates that allowed entry and exiting from big cities. This was really cool! I definitely learned something too!

I had the kids line up to try the Gong one at a time, which worked out pretty well. Our jam session was a lot of fun–I played “Three Little Birds”–and it was great to see how well the kids were sharing the instruments. They played their instruments through the whole jam session, enjoying every moment! No tears today when putting the instruments away–hooray!

Overall, I had a lot of fun with the kids today, and it was a much calmer session.

Energy!

It was nice to be back at the Gooch Family Drop-In Centre today. There were some new faces (both kids and grown-ups), as well as a big group of kids and parents that I recognized from last week. We started out with the “Hello” song, and I realized right away that singing to each individual child wasn’t an option with over 30 kids. Instead, I sang hello to girls, to boys, to moms, to dads and to grown-ups. I did the turtle song with them–having brought in the puppet–and they had a lot of fun with it. We did the song as a call and response and the response was huge! It’s wonderful how much participation there is in this group.

The instrument of the week was a little bit of a challenge today. We did the Guiro, and they loved it! The only thing that’s a little bit tricky is making sure each child gets to try it and gauging how many kids still need to play it while I’m singing its accompaniment song. Yufeng and the other staff members helped out a lot with passing and tried to ensure that each child got a chance. I brought in 3 Guiros, which is usually plenty but with the size of the group, I really think I will need to start bringing 4-5 of each instrument, if it’s possible. For the parachute today, I wasn’t able to get over to the CD player so we sang “Red, and Yellow, Green and Blue” and then I got the kids to ‘pretend to sleep’ underneath while we sang “Twinkle Twinkle.” This helped to calm the group before our goodbye song.

It was a really fun and energetic day overall, and I’m looking forward to joining them all again next week!

Animal Week at Birkdale

A small enthusiastic group of 11 children and 3 adults celebrated Animal Week. We sang “Crocky Crocodile”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Poor Little Bug on the Wall”, “Rooster Song”, “Listen to the Water” and “How Now Brown Cow”. Then we marched around like wrinkly elephants. “5 Green and Speckled Frogs” and “The Frog Song” accompanied the rasping of the Thai Wooden Frogs. The jam session rocked to “3 Little Birds” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” before finishing off with parachute phun.

Thai Wooden Frogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_percussion#Scrapers

Blessing in Disguise

After being sick the last two weeks, I was excited to see all my friends at Jessie’s. It was a small group but we had a great time singing a variety of songs, focusing on an animal theme.

All the participants were under the age of one so we started with some tickling (The Flea Song), following with some songs about bugs (The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Poor Little Bug On The Wall). We then went to the water and sang The Turtle Chant using a beloved turtle puppet. Listen To The Water allowed us to practice some animal signs for frog, crocodile and duck. Crocky Crocodile and Six Little Ducks had us practicing some specific rhythms using the hands to snap/quack. To finish, we swam even deeper into the water for Baby Shark. Sensing a lull in the energy, I asked the grownups to lie the babies down for Sleeping Bunnies. Many were surprised when the song sped up towards the end, and as a result the energy picked up a bit as the grownups helped the babies “hop” up and down. We stretched our legs singing Elephants Have Wrinkles, finding all the body parts as we marched around. I always like to use this song as a way to make physical contact with each baby by gently squeezing the toes, knees, hips, ears, and nose.

After sitting, I demonstrated how to play the wooden frogs from Thailand. One grownup was familiar with the instrument and was very encouraging to a mom who seemed a bit shy about playing the frog in front of the group. To accompany the “ribbit” sound of the wooden frog, we sang Little Green Frog and Three Green And Speckled Frogs.

Jamming gave us the opportunity to sing a request of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and a new song, Rockin’ Robin.

Luckily Jessie’s has a smaller parachute that we are able to use for smaller classes and so we shook it out for Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog (Joy To The World) and went up and down gently for one of my favourites Puff The Magic Dragon.

After class, one of the babies sat beside me and strummed the guitar for several minutes. The mom was able to take some video and we got to chatting about her experience with music as a child. It was very clear that she has a deep love of music and is seeking out ways in which her daughter may have a similar experience. I love having moments like this when I can connect and get to know clients in an intimate way and so, having a small class sometimes turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Looking forward to next week!

Peekaboo!

I arrived at Robertson House this evening and had a little boy, who had attended class with me several times already, begin to follow me around as I was setting up. He was so excited and eager for class to start. His giggles and smiles gave me an extra boost of energy and confidence. I decided to run an animal themed class this evening as it is Animal Week this week in Rainbow Songs classes. Children were happy to put on the animal hats I provided and moms enjoyed watching their little ones wear them.

We began with a trip to Old McDonald’s farm. The moms were a bit timid today but the children made up for it by making many loud animal sounds. Everyone loved the “Turtle Song” with the “1-2-3 PEEKABOO” surprise at the end. We continued with “Baby Shark”, “The Little Green Frog” and “Sleeping Bunnies”, which got everyone up and hopping about. The moms needed some extra encouragement to stand up for “Elephants Have Wrinkles”, but the children were excitedly participating on their own.

The class ended on an upbeat note!

Dance Like Crazy

It’s great when you have some children and adults who have been there for 4 or 5 weeks in a row. The only down side was that we didn’t have anyone new among the 13 children and 4 adults. To prepare for our upcoming Animal Week celebrations, we started off with “Old McDonald”. We also sang “2 Little Blackbirds”, “Apples and Bananas”, and “What are You Wearing?” Everyone enjoyed the dual sounds of the Ocean Drum, and laughed and danced like crazy under the parachute.

Ocean Drum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_drum