CREATIVITY – Teachers are incredibly creative people. I knew so many creative teachers that I thought it was a prerequisite for becoming one. In fact, as a child I took piano lessons for years because I knew I wanted to be a teacher and thought that would help me get in. Even now however, I can barely play Row, Row, Row, Your Boat. I even went to arts and crafts classes at the local Y. I found out I was not artistic, but I am creative. They are different.
In my training classes, I’ve observed some of the most unique and imaginative items teachers have created that I’m just astonished (and jealous).
How can teachers transfer their creativity to children in their care? Especially, how do we get children to create musically.
True story: for my 8th grade graduation my teacher told me not to sing out loud. (I went home and cried for hours). I was the original lip sync singer. Believe it our not, I married 2 musicians. Not at the same time, but years apart. Both gave up on trying to teach me to sing – my lifelong dream.
Despite my lack of talent, remarkably, I am a great promoter of creativity in others, for example, my son is a portrait artist and graphic designer. How can you be a supporter of creativity?
- Let children experiment with musical instruments that you have hidden in a cabinet. Noisy? YES! Essential for learning? YES! Live with it!!! After lots of practice and exploration, you will begin to hear rhythms and patterns from the children’s exploration. Remember that not every child will gravitate to the instruments all the time every day. But you might have one who needs this time.
- Encourage the children to use their voices to make sounds and tunes. No judgement! This can be only sounds or maybe the child makes up words with the tune.
- Make your own instruments. See our newsletter for some suggestions and directions.
- Play all types of music in your classroom: zydeco and jazz, classical, marches, gospel and hymns, ragtime and swing, blues, rock, hip hop, and rhythm and blues, folk, and music from other cultures.
- Have the children watch Peter and the Wolf to introduce children to instruments, a conductor, sounds and identification, and storytelling. It’s 30 minutes long and so much fun.
I recommend not watching the whole thing in one sitting. Break the watching up into several sessions with discussions before and after each session.
- Have a goal of teaching the children at least one new song each week. Send home the words so parents can help them at home. Do not use CDs for the children. They need to see your lips, tongue, mouth, and teeth to know what is being said. I watch YouTube to learn new songs.
A great resource book is Where Is Thumbkin by Roger Moore. The songs are all connected to themes and curriculum.
Below is the link for Peter and the Wolf. Two different versions you can check out and see what is best for your children.
- Also check out some of the activities you can do recommended by the Minnesota Orchestra.
- You may ask, but what about younger children?
They enjoy music also. They are the original drummers. Watch how emotional this infant gets on hearing a singer perform Bocceli.
See our newsletter for more ideas with music for infants and toddlers.