Issue 43: Music lessons out-of-doors

On several days so far this term I have been able to teach music out of doors.

I think my favourite lessons have been have been the djembe lessons held in the “wildlife area”. It was a bit of a kerfuffle taking the djembes and chairs out from the classroom and across the playground, but well worth it. We sat round in a circle in the long grass, by the pond. It was a warm, but over cast day, so the sun wasn’t too hot or bright, and played through all the djembe pieces we knew, including the class’ own djembe composition.

The acoustic out of doors is so very different to when we are all in the classroom; much drier, less intense. The younger children (year 3) found it quite difficult to adapt and keep together – a point worth bearing in mind if you are planning an out-door performance. The older children (year), after an initial descent into chaos, got the hang of playing out doors and were much better at maintaining the pulse and holding everything together.

It just seemed the perfect way to celebrate all the hard work over the previous terms – intensely satisfying to reach a point where we could all just go and enjoy the weather and the drumming in an east-going, companionable atmosphere.

Samba lessons have been happening in the playground as well; the class has been divided into two bands, each lead by one of the children. For the first session, both bands played the same rhythm while the leaders practised starting, stopping and signalling breaks. However the bands each have their own samba, so it is impossible for both bands to be in the hall at the same time. The outside acoustic came as a total shock; once again it took a little while for the children to get used to the sound and to learn to keep together, but they have risen to the challenge. Last week, the hall was unavailable, so the bands assembled at opposite ends of the playground. I wondered if they would be distracted by each other, but this didn’t seem to be a problem. Whether any of the neighbours were distracted is another question!


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