Today was the first doubleheader for my series of Allentown summer slide programs. The first one was a Lehigh Parkway ES, a school I’ve played many times. The principal and security guard welcomed me a showed me to the nice lawn behind the school, a new ‘bird sanctuary’, with grass, shade overlooking the large industrial plant nearby. It was the perfect place to set up for my first set this morning.
The kids and teachers were hip and I went through my standard set of tunes, taking some time to talk ( about why we are here during the summer and how this is going to set them up for success in the fall. I decided to concentrate on building ‘verses’ for The Bear Hunt, ones that I will pass on to the next schools. They decided on a haunted house, as spooky scary haunted house. One kid suggested (and demonstrated) the movement of walking slowly and deliberately on a creaky floor. This was great, so we all did it; they all creeped up on me and I told them that was scary.
I took time to reflect with them about what we did so that they had a chance to recall singing, dancing and playing instruments and how that was something that we don’t get to do everyday.
I headed over to Union Terrace ES for a 10:30 am session. This was a bigger group in the gym this time. Again, I rolled through my repertoire, noticing the echo in the room, reverse engineering the Tutti Tah (thinking backwards over the steps of the song), and worked on a new Bear Hunt. This time it was an elevator, an elevator stuck on the 10th floor. Again, we stood up for the movement, pushing buttons, doing a mechanical sound and then drop to our knees. Very creative.
As we reviewed what we did, I asked the teachers what they liked. That was interesting. They like the interactivity and the reverse Tutti Tah exercise among other things. It was good to get their perspective.
As I packed up, one teacher came up and inquired about my CDs. She was about to travel to China and wanted some tools to take with her, so, sure enough, I supplied her with Peanut Butter and Playground. Nice to know that my music will be used educationally in a foreign country. Cool.
I was done at 11:30 am and headed home, two sessions under my belt before noon. I will pass along some of this to the next school.