I headed back to Bristol, PA for my second visit to an ES in my ancestral home town, home to my mom, dad, and grandparents’ families. I played for two shows with the second grade the day after the elections last week, so it was a fresh start today with the K’s today. Vast difference in cognitive skills so I have to figure out where these kids are at. It’s fun to do the silly stuff to get their attention and then see how they do in singing along, movements, rhymes, recall, etc. So many things I have to do to shape the experience. I try to communicate with the quiet kids, go with the quick kids, and pass it around as best I can. I find times to discuss or analyze what we’ve just done just to have some reflection time with them.

I am finding ways to distribute instruments out to the kids with the teachers help, eliminating the chaos of dumping out the bag in front of the kids (but this is with 50 kids, so I had to work this out). I’m teaching them the three steps in playing: 1. Silence (don’t play) 2. With the beat. 3. Sizzle, or shake. This is working out nicely and gives me some control of the experience in a musical way. A very nice tool I’m starting to use.

I’m finding some light these days with the kids show. I had a chat with one of the teachers I played for last week, and we both bemoaned the seismic change going on right before our eyes, especially for kids of color. We have some heavy responsibility with our children these days.