My third session out of four at Lincoln Elementary today.
We started out by playing Tropical Vacation and I Like Peanut Butter from my first CD, and we talked about the instrumentation, the vocals and a little about working with other creative people on the album – the designers, the musicians and others. It probably went over their heads a little. This process reminds me about the tremendous loss these students and teachers suffer with the demise of portable music devices like the CD player. There’s no long access to vast amounts of music in this culture.
We led off with two other students leading Tutti Tah and there was a remarkable improvement on memorization and group support on the project. That was nice to witness. They are taking ownership of the process.
I brought a different guitar today and we discussed some of the differences, and talked about being in tune. I followed up with Skip To My Lou, and talked about folk songs, songs that go back in time and are still sung today. And many of the kids knew this one, to prove my point. I brought out my verse “I got ants in my pants and they’re making me dance”, and everyone got up to demonstrate. Another example of the easy and comfort we share with each other.
I introduced We Gave Names to the Animals while breaking out the instrument bag. It was a little chaotic, especially since I had hoped to work on structure of the lyrics, but so it goes. It was time to mix it up and put something in their hands. The kids came around to playing as a group, and also caught on with the structure of the song, picking up on the rhyming clues.
With ten minutes left, I hoped to write a verse to this song involving an octopus. Luckily, we had assembled a vocabulary and fact list about octopi earlier so we were able to get to work on the verse right away. We came up with:
“I saw an animal in a dark hole in the sea / It had eight tentacles and it squirted ink at me (at me?!) / It has a boneless body and it moves with a squoosh / I think I’ll call this animal an octopus.” We sang it several times to see if everything fit, and we agreed that it did. The teacher then showed the octopus image I brought in on a thumb drive. It was a good ending to the session.
One more day tomorrow, and we’ll see if I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.