Lots of New Faces

I was excited to return to Robertson House this week after the previous week’s class was cancelled due to staff shortage. It was a pleasant surprise to be greeted by lots of excited bodies, and after speaking with one of the shelter workers I realized they had been doing quite a bit of promotion during the day to make sure that we had a good number of residents attending. It was a bit chaotic as people were still getting settled and I felt like I was going to have trouble remaining in control, so I decided to try a shorter version of the Hello Song, singing only three verses; one directed at the children, one directed at the grownups and one to myself so that they knew my name.

Starting with a chant like Roly Poly tends to ensure that I have the attention of the majority of the group, however, I was challenged at the beginning of class with some behavioral issues which led to slight chaos among the grownups. Switching gears I tried singing a familiar song, I Wake Up Hands, and had most people singing along. I was encouraged by this and repeated another familiar song from the first week of class, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum. Sensing they could handle a new song, I took them through the actions for Hands Together, Hands Apart and watched as the grownups started to settle in to listening and singing together. We also repeated The Wheels On The Bus and Old MacDonald, yet kept things exciting with a three verse version of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. After some encouragement I was able to get most of the group standing as we marched around the room singing The Ants Go Marching.

Once the group was seated I brought out the maracas and gave a detailed demonstration on how to play them properly, by placing the thumbs on top and flicking the wrist to ensure a crisp, clear sound. I also made sure to mention that we were not to use the maracas to play on other instruments. This took some explaining and as some little ones helped me bring out the big bag of instruments, I felt more comfortable communicating with the large (somewhat chatty) group.

For the jam portion of the class, I had to stop a couple of times to reiterate the maraca lesson,however, it was smooth sailing from here on out as many of the grownups played instruments and sang loudly to De-Oh and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

I decided to finished the class off with the parachute. First by instructing the grownups to shake up and down fast to a recording of La Bamba, and then demonstrating how to go up and down more slowly so that the children could lie underneath looking up at the rainbow of colors.

Before I sang the Goodbye Song I made sure to tell them I appreciated them all being there. I also explained that by attending each week it will become more routine and even more enjoyable as they become comfortable with the music material. I also held up the RSF CD and explained to them that after three classes they would get their very own copy! After we sang goodbye, I made sure to introduce myself to each mom and learn the names of her children so that I would know them for next week. The staff also held a raffle for the residents at the end of the class and I let them know that it is a great incentive for them to join us each and every week. So, kudos to the staff at Robertson House!