The second gig on Tuesday was the first of four visits to Fountain Hill ES for a songwriting residency. Eventually we’ll try to write a song about one of the Seven Healthy Habits that the school district is promoting. But, today was our getting-to-know each other session. The music teacher and two middle school kids joined in with myself and about 10 2nd and 3rd graders, most fairly energetic and creative kids. They were familiar with The Cat Came Back from music class, so we sang that one. We’ll write a verse for that one in the coming weeks. I also introduced We Gave Names to the Animals and proceeded to write a verse about the Lorax, the Dr. Suess character. So, we were off and running on our songwriting adventure.

They were familiar with The Bear Hunt, so we added a couple of excursions to that one as well. This will be a good group of writers and explorers as well. We’ll have some good material to share with the school later on in spring.

I hit one snag while I was getting the kids up and moving. One very shy boy, Mason, didn’t get up to join in with the other exuberant kids, and I insisted that he should. He immediately broke down into tears. Ooops. I apologized and the teacher quickly applied Kleenex and TLC while I tried to continue on with the others. The teacher whispered to me that he was musically interested but painfully shy. (Different learning abilities). He eventually gained control and, though I avoided direct eye contact, I noticed that he was smiling and participating on a very low keyed level. The teacher said that it was good that he didn’t leave and stuck it out. I now have to figure out how to incorporate him in the discussions and workshop without being a threat. This will be one of the challenges and I look forward in learning how to do this.

We opened up some good avenues for creative writing, movement and active participation, well on the way to a good songwriting residency. Though I’m still at 80%, it was good to be in my element.