I’ve landed a couple of residencies that will bring me into a school weekly for visits. I particularly enjoy using these situations as a laboratory, to get to know the kids better over time, gauge the progress of the kids, and force myself to be able to bring new experiences for the kids and myself. It’s quite a bit different than the once-and-done assemblies where I use my tried-and-true material.
Tuesday morning was the first visit to the Learning Center at the Third Street Alliance for Women and Children in the old YWCA building in downtown Easton. I’m signed up for seven weeks of weekly visits with the preschool kids. One of the teachers remembers me from my PASELA work eight years ago in Bethlehem. The first visit usually features my standard pre-school material as I get a grip on the kids abilities and the opportunity to have some fun.
When I came in, one comment popped up, “He’s old!” I said, “Yes, I’m 146 years old!” I love the opportunity to warm up the kids with humor, facial expressions and silliness, and it sets the stage for the rest of visit. This age still doesn’t quite know what rhyming is all about. Down By the Bay is an example. What sounds like “cat” immediately is translated as ‘meow’, and not a rhyme for the word cat. But that’s why I’m here.
I eventually broke out the instruments and we worked on my 1, 2, 3 system of 1 (silence), 2 (beat) and 3 (sizzle or shake). The kids picked up right away and it’s a good technique in controlling the potential chaos of everyone playing all at the same time. It worked well, even at this age.
It was my first school gig after my operation, the first of two for the day. A good start.