As I was setting up the room, three curious faces peeked around the corner. I invited them in and noticed that there were dressed in uniforms. The youngest child asked, "Can we come to music class or are we too old?" I laughed and said, "Of course! As you can see, I am bit lonely today so you guys would actually be helping me out by staying and singing along." I got to know them a bit better, and after realizing that they were ages 7-10 I frantically began brainstorming ideas that would be age appropriate.
I decided to start the class by introducing them to the guitar. I showed them the tuning pegs, neck, bridge and body of the guitar. The older boy seemed very interested in learning how to strum so I gave him my guitar pick and strapped the guitar around him, while I sat beside him and acted as his "left-hand" accompaniment. I began by playing simple chords, and immediately all three of their faces lit up as the songs came to life. I realized this was something they had never experienced before, so I gave them each a turn.
Then I prepared them for the rest of the class by saying that some of the songs we were going to sing may seem too young for them, but that the goal was to be able to teach a younger child at the residence at a later time during the week. This hooked them enough to participate and still have fun without making them feel like babies.
We started by learning the sign language for vowels A, E, I, O and U to accompany one of my favourite songs, Apples and Bananas. We continued singing about food for Corner Grocery Store, and got messy with Sticky Sticky Bubblegum. Sleeping Bunnies and The Ants Go Marching were both big hits due in part to the fact that animal songs seem to go over well with most age groups.
After we sat down I took some time to go through each instrument in the bag (mainly the drum, maraca and tambourine). I made a game out of the whole thing and asked them to start listing their favourite instruments aloud. When they named one I had in my bag I brought it out and demonstrated how to use it properly. Then I gave them each a different instrument and corresponding rhythms to play while we sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight, acapella. Then I brought out the guitar and we pretended to be a funk band and played to an "audience" (with some minor choreography), singing I Feel Good, made famous by James Brown.
Overall it was an amazing experience to have a slightly older demographic respond so positively to the Rainbow Songs "magic"! One boy has decided he would like to get his very own drum so he can practice during the week, and the oldest girl was quite taken with strumming the guitar, so who knows, we may have some future RSF instructors on our hands!