I’m tickled that I get asked to play for these teachers and kids at this large Pre-k and K center just over the Delaware River from Easton. It’s close, it’s annual and it pays well. …and the PTO buys my CDs for use in the classes.
That means the kids are primed to interact. The pre-K kids from last year are now more mature and are familiar with my songs. I make sure I ask what songs they like, play them live (imagine kids comparing the ‘live’ with the ‘recorded’ – big learning moments), and still have some new stuff to try out with them.
The faves are The Cat Came Back, Peanut Butter, The Bear Hunt with an occasional Down By the Bay, et al. I also try to do Old MacDonald, perhaps ABC’s and other tunes they know they are good at. (I’ve lost all sense of artistic pretension when it comes to engaging kids..) But I also get to try out my new bag of songs from Playground. We did Rosalie, Where Are You Going?, Finger in the Air and All Around the Kitchen and starting to feel comfortable with presenting and playing with the songs in a live situation.
The lessons I get from these, count them, 4 sets comes from observing the pre-K kids and their abilities, social skills in the first two sets, with the more mature skills with the K’s in the last two sets. I have to work harder engaging the little kids. They are less apt to react, sing and move along, and I have to recognize that and accept they are taking it all it, watching other kids (and teachers) reactions. At least they get the rare opportunity to sing along, clap, dance, and, importantly experience a live music situation, in their community with their friends. That’s not to bad.
It’s been a fairly bleak winter with few paying jobs. Good ones, but not enough to make ends meet. This gig, especially with the PTO buying 30 Playgorund CD’s for the school (discounted, of course) and the one tomorrow are good for the soul and the wallet.
Also, I gotta play to keep the spirits up. Bruce Cockburn says, “Trying to keep the latent depression from crystallizing.” (Coldest Night of the Year). It’s in the moments of play, performing with the kids (we are in it together), that I am in touch and crystallizing my artistic/creative spirit.