I was very excited to try a new movement activity in class today using an instrument called the Agogo. I decided to combine this with last week's lesson on the clave sticks, and so as I set up the room and tuned my guitar, I made sure to prepare the group by saying "we are going to be doing a lot of dancing today, so get your dancing shoes ON!" One thing that stood out to me today was that many of the children sang the "Hello Song" loudly and with confidence. It was wonderful to hear! I also noticed that singing the "Hello Song" takes longer and longer each week because we have more children and moms joining us. Word is spreading that Rainbow Songs is a GOOD time, so more and more people are joining us week to week. WOO! Knowing that we were going to be doing some dancing later on in the class, I took some time to prepare our bodies for movement by singing "Clap Clap Clap Your Hands", "I Wake Up My Hands", and "Head and Shoulders". Sensing some restlessness, I switched things up by asking the children to tell me what animal sounds (paired with signs) I was making. This was a lot of fun and a good focusing activity. Sticking with what the group knew really well, we sang "Old MacDonald". Noticing that some of the older kids wanted to use their bodies a little bit more, I encouraged them to hop around the room for "Little Green Frog". Still the group was a little restless, so I switched things up by asking everyone to go back to sleep (shhhh...) for "Sleeping Bunnies" and encouraged the group to sing along softly before waking up and jumping up and down.
Once we were on our feet, I put on a popular meringue track called "Suavemente" by Elvis Crespo and showed the group how to bend their knees and sway their hips side to side. It was SO fun to some of the kids doing this VERY well...even better than I! We then tried socials (going in to the centre of the circle and back out), turning on the spot, and marching around all together. Once we were comfortable with this, I had them sit down and brought out two instruments (Clave and Agogo). After demonstrating how to play each one, I passed them around the circle. The group clapped with the Clave on the quartet beat pulse, while each person had a chance to improvise on the Agogo. It was very successful and some participants couldn't stop dancing! I even had a woman approach me afterwards asking about where she could download the song so she could practice during the week! Overall, I was very pleased to see that this activity seemed to bring the group closer together.
We jammed to De-Oh and Jamaica Farewell, both of which we have done in class before, so it was a good chance for me to assess the group. MOST of the moms were singing, while nearly ALL the children were singing. We finished off the parachute, shaking it all around to some more Latin-inspired rhythms and finished with the "Goodbye Song".
I was able to chat with two moms after class today and they had some wonderful things to say about their experience so far. It made me really happy to hear that they look forward to music class each and every week. I let them know that I feel the same way!