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!