I truly feel joy and pride today after teaching music to a kinder class to sing in a call and response technique. Normally the children watch and imitate me, so when I sing they sing, and when I don’t sing, there is crickets.
The complexity of call and response for a group of 4-5 year olds is a skill we have been working towards all year. An easier option to expose children to would be an Echo song, where they repeat everything you sing. This is particularly great for toddler music classes, but by the age of Kindergarteners I have seen incredible skills at understanding and actioning the “Call & response” technique.
We always start the year with learning how to play and rest. Children in this age group of 3-5 years old love to make sounds and are not necessarily concerning themselves with making a coherent sequence of sounds. So at Rhythm Rumble we always start with games geared at encouraging children to “rest” or stop
Over the course of the year we start developing their understanding of the different elements that make music, such as tempo, dynamics, keeping a beat, singing in tune and understanding musical form. We do this by actively engaging children in various musical games and activities geared towards their developmental capacity.
And it all comes down to this collaboration at the end of the year.
The song we chose this year is called Shoo Lie Loo and it is a very simple song
The teacher sings the call, for example: “Just from the kitchen” and the children respond with ” Shoo Lie Loo” . But to make it more interesting they also have to shake an egg shaker while singing Shoo Lie Loo and then rest while the teacher sings their part.
As usual with this age group repetition is important and we have been learning this song for 5 weeks now, and today it worked a treat. The children sang their response on time, in tune and shook their egg shakers in unison.
Super proud of my group, and by all accounts all the Rhythm Rumble teachers are feeling like its been a great way to end the year.
Happy Music Making
During Rhythm Rumble’s music classes they can get pretty hyped up. Depending on the group you are teaching I have worked out different techniques and stratiegie’s to calm down the class before we leave.
Nothing worse than having a preschool music program come into your childcare that leaves the children hyped up and energised and difficult to transition into the next activity.
So in the interest of Educators and the children I have devised several calming down activities that are simple and effective.
I “inherited” a class that 2 previous teachers were having difficulty handling, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. There were some very dominant personalities in the class and also very intelligent so boredom was definitely an issue.
During the class there was much chatter going on while I was introducing the next activity and I thought how am I going to get their attention.
So I sang “Eyes on Lola” in a fairly high pitch but not loud. Some of the children stopped and looked at me. I consider 75% of the class is paying attention so I continued and said When I sing “Eyes on Lola” you can respond back with “Eyes on Us” and you have to look at my eyes and I will look at all of your eyes.
So we did it again, I sang “Eyes on Lola”‘ and they responded with “Eyes on Us”
Now every time the chitter chatter becomes too much I sing this simple tune and they automatically respond their part.
Criss Cross Applesauce
I have adapted this from a yoga video I saw, and since I know nothing of yoga I thought I would sing a song along with the pose. This works especially well after a very energetic activity and transitions the children into a different state of calm.
Cross your legs
Ask the children to find their heart
then ask them to rub their tummy
Stretching left arm over body and alternating the right hand over body move
your body move in a swaying motion while singing
“Criss Cross Applesauce” repeatedly (5-6 times)
then in a soft voice say
“Everyone find your heart and take a big breathe in
now breathe out and rub your tummy”
repeat if there is still a lot of movement from the children.
This strategy takes patience and trust. If the children are not paying attention, instead of speaking louder or removing children from the group try this.
Sitting very still start tapping your knees. There will always be a few children watching you. Once they start copying you, change the body part for example start tapping your head, and keep changing once you have everybody’s attention. Then you can give your instruction in a calm voice. It is most effective if you DO NOT speak while doing the tapping.
Hope these exercises help in managing your preschool class.
Happy music making