Our first class at ARISE was very well received by everyone! They were singing along instantly and got up several times to dance, moms included. One mom also brought a small keyboard to jam along with me and played along during some songs. Highlights included Ring around the Rosy which was a group request, jamming to Twist and Shout, and the parachute.
There was a bit of a mix of enthusiasm to start things off at Birkdale. Some kids ran to sit in the circle as soon as I arrived, but others were a bit more shy. One seemed reluctant to participate, and wouldn’t join us in the circle, so I encouraged his mom to participate even more to set an example for him. The more she sang, the more she clearly enjoyed being in the program. It’s always great to have more people actively singing, as it brings the energy of the room up in general, but it didn’t seem to translate to the shy one. That’s okay though; the music is for everyone, and now his mom will have lots of songs to sing to him until next week. Hopefully soon everyone will be out of their shell.
Ernestine is bringing the energy, week after week! It’s so great to see the enthusiasm for the program amongst kids and grown-ups alike. Not only do the kids remember the songs from previous weeks (and request them!), but they seem to be able to learn lyrics and actions for the new songs in record time. Sometimes the energy can take them around the room and onto the surrounding couches, but today the Cabasa was able to rein them in for Instrument of the Week. One of the kids kept repeating the name, “Cabasaaaaa, Cabaaaaaaasa”, well into the jam. What a fun group!
Things started off a bit patchy today, as some of the parents were in and out of the room for the first little bit of class. Luckily the staff were very engaged and helped keep things focused. However, there were some tears, and some excursions around the room, which had one of the parents talking to her child and telling him to focus on the music. I encouraged the grown-ups to lead by example and engage in the music as much as possible, and sure enough, by the end of the class, we went from tears to smiles and laughter, and the kids wanted even more songs. Hopefully we can start with that kind of energy next week!
We had a great last class of the session with our Robertson House participants this week. I wanted to really go out with a bang, so I presented the Thunder Drum as the instrument of the week. This mysterious idiophone had everyone in awe as we passed it around and tried to understand how vibrations become sound. It was nice to see some great teamwork with a pair of siblings playing the drum together. At the end of class, families were happy to receive their certificates and some gifts for attending the session. There are such great families and staff at Robertson House!
We had a great class at Birkdale today with great attendance. The kids, parents and staff were so welcoming and excited to be singing. We had a really cute moment when we brought out a turtle puppet and the kids were anxiously waiting for “Timothy the Turtle” to come out of his shell. I was happy to see some really excited faces when we started to play peek-a-boo with the turtle. Lots of fun!
I couldn’t have asked for a better reception from the kids and grown-ups for my return to Ernestine. Though it was a whole new batch of kids, they were jumping for joy and so excited to sing before I had even set up! Likewise, the grown-ups were full of enthusiasm, singing along to most songs by the second verse, as if they had known them for years. The kids were great with sharing the instruments, and once we were done, one of them yelled out, “It’s over already??” Only till next week, when I’m sure we’ll have just as much fun!
We had a relaxing class at Robertson House this week with all babies and their moms. After singing a soothing version of The More We Sing Together and flying around the room on our Zoom Zoom Zoom spaceship, we sat down to play our instrument of the week, the shruti box. Moms and babies alike were entranced by this mysterious Indian drone instrument and had a great time shifting its levers around to change the pitch. Looking forward to our last class next week!
The RSF homecoming at Birkdale was a bit smaller than average, due to a larger than average case of the sniffles, but there was still fun to be had all around! The staff at Birkdale were committed to getting more folks to come out, and made several announcements around the building. Though we started with only two kids, they were excited to sing and even more excited to clap and dance! People gradually filtered in throughout the class. One parent came with his daughters who were slightly older, but were completely engaged. One of the kids had special needs, and her dad was very helpful with her, while the Birkdale staff were able to attend to the kids whose parents weren’t able to make it. Hopefully we’ll see more parents out next time!
This week's featured instruments at Robertson House were the goblet drums – specifically the djembe and the darbuka. At first, we took turns passing the drums around and trying to learn a rhythm all together. The drums were such a hit that they stuck around during our jam. During the jam, I observed a mom and her son, each with their own drum, jovially playing each other's drums while laughing and smiling. It was a true family drum circle! Great to see! Looking forward to more great moments in our next class.