This was my third visit of four to this school in center city Allentown, and I’ve had two sterling workshops with these kids. I actually prepared some exercises, a new rock and roll movement piece and a resurrected Elmer Brown spoken word piece from a long time ago. I even dared Baby Shark for the first time after my hip replacement. (Not quite there yet. Noble effort).
I had pasted on FB an image of mayhem from Bloom County, and I now know to think twice about that. It was barely chaos, with elements of sanity, creative sparks, crazy dancing, attempted songwriting, grandma kisses, spoken word, silly faces, and final spiral to … that’s all, folks! We’re outta here.
We reconnected with our She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain, and it was really good to try to recall what we did last week, some of it was really, really good stuff. We all explored remembering what we did (I wasn’t sure when I set up the old song). When it came time for their verses about grandma, the kids in the space took charge of the words, movements, etc. where they were comfortable, We played together to start out. No big performance piece.
I tried my Elmer Brown, a performance piece, sans instruments, that I thought I could do off the cuff last week. No way, and I found out this week how great it is on my Peanut Butter CD with Hub Willson’s wonderful keyboard comments. Some of his finest work, in my book.
I did it with some of my latest faces, and was fun, and tending to the chaotic, and creative. The kids had homework to work on a face for this, so I opened it up to the “Here’s the Way You Look”. Some kids had actually worked on this (that’s creative power…), and some came up with spontaneous (and that’s good) reactions in front of their peers. It was good play.
I did We Gave Names to the Animals, one they were familiar with, and I did some new verses. We were engaged. I then tried to get educational and lead them through some ‘educational’ exercise by writing our own verse. Tricky rhyme scheme. Challenging.
We decided on electric eel. Good choice but the board (bored?) work turned out to be an exit sign for the young boys. Increasing ‘gotta move’ signs.
I decided to cut my loses and get ’em up and dancing. I got a gym to work with. Why not? (actually not a bad idea to pursue). My well-intentioned rock and roll dance/ song developed into fairly crazed dashing around the gym creativity. Yo! This be crazy! Cool…..
I thought I hadn’t done my teaching artist thing to the best of my control, but I always learn from these surprises. And it’s the surprises that make life interesting. No?