I returned to this Allentown ES for my second session with this group of ~ 20 kids. Last week was really good, and I was eager to build on what we had done last week.

I had forgotten to have some reflection at the end of last week, so I took some time up front to ask them what stuck with them: Cat Came Back, Down by the Bay, Baby Shark, Tutti Tah, so I had some information to work with from there.

I led off with Tropical Vacation and it involves a strong chorus that we added motions to, from their suggestions. They were really responsive from the beginning and we were on a roll. I sang the verses, got them to stand up and perform the tune, along with a silent chorus with motions only. It was a great opener that had wonderful explorations along the way.

I brought out my mandolin, talked about scales, chord chops, played an Irish tune and then reprised Down By the Bay with new lyrics made up on the spot including a barracuda eating gouda with the Buddha.

I reprised Tutti Tah and had mentioned that I would have students lead it this week, to see what they remembered and to also lay out some responsibility to the students. A boy and a girl led the class and, for the most part did well, with some guidance from me and the other students as well. An exercise in student leadership and community support. It was a rich experience. We’ll do it again next week and it will give them something to work on for next week.

I did We Gave Names to the Animals for the first time and it went well, with lots of anticipation and response from the kids.

As I headed to the end of the session, I presented All Around the Kitchen to get the kids to dance and sing at the same time, as well as add their dance moves to the mix. The kids added The Whip, The Nay Nay, The Running Man, etc. and the teachers added some of their own. It was a great activity with good energy from most of the kids.

I made a point to reflect on what we had done that afternoon and I was reminded that we hadn’t done Baby Shark so we wrapped it up with that. Before we did it, some good questions came up, especially one about how can musician be called an artist? The girl answered her own inquiry, saying that a musician writes songs and creates music. It was spot on.

Baby Shark wrapped it up in style.

One teacher said I should teach the music teachers. I am a Teaching Artist so it’s what I do and it was gratifying that he recognized the skills that I’ve developed over the last 20 years.

I go back next Monday and see what stuck.