Participate in New and Exciting Ways

Great fun was had by all this week – the ocean drum was a big hit. It was wonderful to see some of the younger babies start to participate in new and exciting ways, including clapping along and bouncing their heads to the beat. Some expecting mothers are starting to drop in; I’m always glad to have new people. Here’s hoping they come back, either next week (our last class), or for the new session. Parting is always such sweet sorrow – the babies are becoming increasingly aware of the content of the sessions, and show their displeasure when we end certain sections, and the class itself.

These guys can really play – I love this location!

Aha! Gotcha!

It was great to see the core group of mothers and children as well as some new faces! Our core group does a great job of setting the example – because we’re pretty far into the session, the material is slightly more advanced than might otherwise be suitable for someone who’s showing up for the first day. The confidence shown by the regular attendees bleeds over, and provides a little cover for the parents who are new and shy.

It’s interesting to watch apprehension bleed away, and see new parents catching themselves having fun. I almost want to stop and say “Aha! Gotcha!”

It’s also fun watching the babies get stronger and learn how to participate. Seeing very young children clap along for the first time is always a fantastic experience, and everyone notices and cheers.

Autumn at Massey Centre

October 25

A core group of parents and children seems to be appearing, with newer people dropping in to find out exactly what’s going on.  It’s great to see parents gaining confidence and skills, while the children relax and learn. The jam session remains by far the most fun – the parents really seem to get into playing the instruments for all they’re worth.

November 1

The core group of parents and students are still enthusiastic, though parents seemed to be a little tired today. That’s alright, I have enough energy for everyone!

Even though Halloween has already passed, I did an entire Halloween program with them today – what fun! Parachute dancing to Thriller was… ahem… thrilling?

I’m too punny!

November 15

Only three students today – though I was told one of our regular parent/kid combos was sick. I was very glad to see someone from outside the core group return today, this time with less apprehension than the first time she came in.

My regulars are certainly committing themselves to being here, and are doing very well.

November 29

Animal week was a success!
My regular crowd showed up today, albeit a bit behind schedule, and a great time was had by all.  Interesting to see the babies reactions to the hats, which confounded them at first, but stayed on their heads remarkably well after the forgot about them.
Cute explosion!
Glad to see one mother who started attending classes a couple of weeks after we started at the Massey Centre returning, and coming out of her shell a little bit. Her baby? Totally out of the shell!
Loved seeing a pre-natal mother attend for the first time today! Very glad she showed up, and hoping she’ll return.

Apparently, I’m not as scary as I thought.

Lots of people today! Students that were absent last week returned (very glad to see them, because they’re so much fun) and a new parent and child. A staff member that came to investigate the goings-on last week also returned to sing with us this week, and a completely new staff member showed up to see what all the fuss was about. She ended up staying – awesome!

The mothers of the students who have been with me for the previous three weeks are really, really getting the hang of this – I sense less and less hesitation, and they’re singing loud and proud even when they’re learning new material. They seemed to have a lot of fun with the Halloween songs I introduced today, especially “The very scary spider,” based on “The eency weency spider” and mode shifted from major to minor, sung in my best Bela Lagosi accent.

Should I be offended they laughed out loud and weren’t scared at all?

The more the merrier!

Fewer people today, but the ladies who showed up certainly brought their A game. Great to see a committed core group of parents who are bringing their children to class.

I also notice they’re getting more confident in their singing and playing – fantastic!

The parents were very excited to get their free CD, and we spent a few minutes together after class going through the tracks, seeing which songs we had learned in class, and which ones were still there to discover.

Some of the staff have started showing up, just to see what’s happening, and end up participating. The more the merrier certainly applies, and I’m glad these ladies are taking me up on my offer to join in.

That’s alright, I have enough energy for everyone :)

My second day at the Massey Centre went well, though some faces were missing from day one; it’ll be interesting to see if those people return with their children.

It’s interesting to note that many of the same issues that seem to effect young high school students apply here. I still sense a bit of hesitation, like they don’t want to be the only “silly” parent in the room: after all, who wants to find themselves being judged by a room of people?

No one, ever.

I’m certainly doing my best to be larger than life, keeping their focus on me, and keep the lesson moving. I’m hoping that If they don’t have time to worry about judging themselves or each other, they’ll forget all about those doubts and let fun continue to work it’s magic.

That’s all presuming, of course, that this is the issue at all. I could be completely wrong about it… maybe they were just a little tired?

Fun is a bridge – No assembly required

One of the things I’ve been most concerned about these past few days is my demeanor.  I find it very difficult to contain my enthusiasm for making music and teaching music.  I’m aware that this doesn’t appeal to every single parent or child the same way.

In a class where parents are paying for their children to attend, I tend to not worry about this quite so much. I’m large and in charge – I’m ok with that. I have no problem being silly around children – I’m ok with that, too.

Being an exuberant male in a women’s shelter?  The different context deserves some consideration.

Further, the nature of Rainbow Songs classes is participatory – we want parents and children to be as active as possible throughout the whole class. Who wouldn’t be timid the first time they were asked to sing and dance in front of their peers? It takes a lot of guts to let your inner-silly hang out! Some people never find that kind of courage.

These young women were so very, very brave.

Even while they looked at me with wide eyes, clearly not sure where the class was going or if they were going to like it, they got right down on the floor with me and sang out. Young mothers who had begun the lesson sitting in a chair – clearly separating themselves in a small way from the group –  quickly joined us on the floor.

I asked them to be loud and proud throughout the lesson – boy, were they ever!

The circular nature of just having fun couldn’t have been clearer: the more fun they had, the more fun I had; the more fun I had, the more fun they had. More than that, fun can also connect us, crossing over our fears of ourselves and of others.

Fun is a bridge – No assembly required.

This morning I was really nervous about this class.

This afternoon, I can’t wait to go back.