Fond Farewell

Today was the final day at the Gooch Centre and I was sad to say goodbye. I feel like this group of kids really took a lot away from the program because they were all such strong and enthusiastic participants! We sang all of the classics that we’ve learned over the 7 weeks and it was amazing to see how well they all know the songs now. I lost them for a bit when we were singing “Everybody Knows that I Love My Toes” but then won them back with one of their favourites “What Are You Wearing?” Today they all pointed out to me that my turtle was not a real turtle but rather a puppet. They still had fun singing the song though!

We did the caxixi for the IOTW which is great because all age groups can enjoy the caxixi. Once again, it was a very loud jam session but I didn’t push it too hard. We all sang a nice final goodbye song and all of the moms were really excited about getting their certificates. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to build relationships with the kids and parents and staff people at Gooch over the last 7 weeks. It’s a wonderful and welcoming community that I was really lucky to have been a part of.

Caxixi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caxixi

Goodbye for Now

End of the spring session and fun times at Birkdale for now. Over the course of the session, there were 22 adults and 36 children who attended at least once over that time. One child was there for every class except for one. It has been fun playing and singing with all of them. And I hope to fulfill the directive given to me by one of the mothers as I made my way out the door: “Come back.”

Caught in the Crowd

Last Thursday was a little bit of a chaotic day at Gooch. The group was quite large and I noticed that there were also a lot more parents than usual–which is great! We sang some new songs such as “Everybody Knows That I Love My Toes” and the “Turtle Song”, they really liked the puppet! We also tried out “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” for the first time.

We did the Singing Bowls for the IOTW and they really seemed to enjoy them, even though it was a little tricky to pass the instruments through the crowd. Next week is the last class and I’m really going to miss this group!

Singing Bowls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_bowl

That’s A Wrap

Quite a small class at Robertson this evening, but the energy was perfect. All were returning participants and they were ready to sing! English is still coming for the children and one of the moms so I stuck to songs with lots of repetition like “Roly Poly”, “Hands Together Hands Apart”, and “Finger in the Air”. I also did some fun songs like “The Little Green Frog” and “Wheels on the Bus”.

I brought chime bars as my instrument of the week. There were only four children and I had four chime bars so I let them each have one and they played away while we sang “The Firetruck Song”.

It was a very fun and enjoyable class. It was also nice to have Sean there as a volunteer from RSF. He was a great help with the moms filling out feedback forms. We gave out certificates at the end and the moms were very pleased to receive them. I got a nice big hug from one of them which was very meaningful and she said her son and daughter will miss the program during the summer.

So that wraps up a long and fun spring session! I’m looking forward to continuing to work with RSF 🙂

Party Hard

Nice to see several of the new adults from last week come back again. While there wasn’t anyone new today, there were 7 children and 4 adults in attendance. We sang “Sticky Bubblegum”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “Two Little Blackbirds”, and “6 Little Ducks”. They found the Jaw Harp fascinating, and again partied hardy during the jam session. The highlight of the day, however, came after class. On my way out, I saw a child who had not attended any classes this session, but had been fairly regular last year. On seeing me, the child insisted that I pick him up and hold him, and would only let me put him down when his mother came over.

Ainu musician playing the jaw harp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjXAEmysidE

Monkeying Around

There was a very calm energy at the Gooch centre today. The group was on the smaller side (compared to the usual big group) and most of the kids were ones that I recognized. It is amazing how well they are all getting to know the songs. They sang along to “Wake Up My Hands” and “Little Green Frog” with ease. I decided to take advantage of the small class size and do more movement today because it is normally difficult to get such a big group moving in a small space. We did “Five Little Monkeys” for the first time and they all jumped around and laughed and had a blast the whole time! When the monkeys “went to bed”, we became sleeping bunnies. The kids love this song and had a lot of fun waking up and going back to sleep.

We did the singing bowls for the IOTW and two other staff members helped me pass them around. The kids LOVED them!

It was one of the little boys’ birthday so after we sang the goodbye song, the group went over to the table to sing happy birthday and have cake. The mom asked me to play guitar and sing with the cake, which I was more than happy to do! This was a really nice way to end the class today and the kids were singing “ABCD”–one of the songs we did during our jam session–as the grown ups passed around the cake. It’s really exciting for me to see music extending outside of the circle!

I love working with this group and can’t wait for next week–I’ve already had a request for the “Turtle Song”!

Sounds like a shower?

A pleasant, smaller class with great energy at Robertson House this evening. There were four 3-5 year old children attending and one baby so I decided to add in some more advanced material in class like “What Are You Wearing?”. I told the baby’s mom just to sing and clap along and she was happy to do so. I wanted the older children to have a chance to do this fun song and they really enjoyed it. I brought the ocean drum for instrument of the week. I got everyone to lie down on the mats together while I walked around and played it for them – the little pebbles rolling around inside the drum. They watched and listened and I asked what they thought it sounded like. I got the usual reactions like rain, water, and the ocean. My favourite reaction came from a boy and he thought it sounded like a shower – which is true too! No one has suggested that sound in my classes before and I thought it was so imaginative.

Next week is the last class of the session and I’m looking forward to handing out certificates of attendance and completion to the moms and children 🙂

Parachute up and parachute down!

We had a lot of fun at the Gooch centre on June 5th. There were a lot of kids and moms that I recognized but a significant number of new children too. The energy was great–they’re really starting to get to know me now so the kids approach me right away; it’s nice to be building some relationships. We did “Wake Up My Hands” and “Little Green Frog” to start off because they are starting to get familiar with them, and then they got really excited for “Old MacDonald”: I had animal suggestions left, right, and centre!

For the IOTW, we did the cowbell which worked out really well. I held one and had the kids come up one at a time (passing around the circle doesn’t bode well with this group) to try it, and Rosa (one of the staff members) held the other one. The jam was nice and loud with this group but it was the first time that there were no tears when we were putting away the IOTW and the jam instruments… progress!

Their favourite moment seemed to come with the parachute. They got so excited that every single one of them got under the parachute and it was all grownups on the outside. I played and sang “Shake it Baby, Shake it” while they were under the parachute (I have now decided not to use the CD player for the parachute anymore, as it’s too difficult to wade through the crowd to get to the CD player… it breaks up the momentum). They loved it when we shook the parachute to the bottom and the top and cheered every time! Overall a great day at Gooch, not too overwhelming in terms of size, and all of the grownups were really supportive, as usual.

Magical Moments

Due to the end of the school year, there were no babies at Jessie’s Centre today. There were, however, 2 young moms sitting in the daycare looking at their phones and so I took a leap of faith and introduced myself. Although they both seemed shy, I kept asking them questions and had a bit of a conversation with Barbara about my job and various things. I was suddenly inspired to bring over my pair of Tibetan Singing Bowls and before I knew it, we were playing the bowls on the bellies of the young mums. It was a magical experience and I was touched by their willingness to overcome what could have been a strange moment. I am a stranger after all!

A couple of the staff members were sitting with us as well and so I grabbed my guitar and started playing some songs (Stand By Me, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Hush Little Rooster, Onawa’s Waltz). It was incredibly intimate and felt more like a private showcase than any other RSF class I have ever led. Afterwards I taught one of the moms some chords on the guitar and talked a bit about what music she likes and how to incorporate “music-making” into her daily routine when her baby is born at the end of July. Before I left, I made sure to thank everyone for being so warm and open to a new experience and made sure to invite the moms back next week to attend classes when the babies have (hopefully) returned. That being said, I love how RSF creates such interesting opportunities for groups of people to connect through music, whether in a traditional setting or something different.

Hello – Hello

I heard the “Hello Song” being sung as as we were getting ready for class this evening at Robertson – everyone was eager and excited to begin! Moms who returned to class this week were more confident with their participation and the kids as always were all in. “The Freeze Dance” was a big hit today with many giggling and anticipating when the dance would start up again.

I brought the kalimba for my special instrument of the week and many thought it had a funny sound. I spiced it up with the parachute today by playing an upbeat Latin song to get everyone dancing and it did the job! Just 2 more classes this session at Robertson, so I reminded the moms to come to the next 2 so that they could get their special certificates.