I’ve just finished leading a music club for a local infant school in the morning before the school day starts. It’s been quite an experience.
I had envisaged a balanced diet of listening to music, singing, moving to music, using percussion instruments in creative ways to compose, or accompany activities. All in the more informal environment of a club with just fifteen young children, as opposed to the massed hordes of thirty, or more, little darlings all eager to get their hands on The Really Big Drum.
It wasn’t as I planned, or imagined, at all. The club took place in the school hall – what a lovely big space! But all the children wanted to do was to tear round and round the room. A friend used to call this “having the runnables” when her five-year-old son used to take off like this. I started to wonder what they had been eating for breakfast. Haribo? Froot Loops? I learned to channel this desperate desire to charge about in a couple of different ways;
using music with strongly contrasting sections (“Rippling Rhythm” from Music Express Extra 5+ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2_pqlK4SiQ, “Fossils” from Carnival of the Animals, Beat Patterns from Music Express “Developing Skills”) and teaching different actions to do for each section of the music
playing a “running game” where I played the rhythm for different areas of the hall on an instrument; PI-A-NO, CLOCK, DOOR-TO-THE-GAR-DEN and the children had to go (run!) to the right place. I used to let the children take turns at leading the game
We then all had a calming down activity, usually sitting in a circle and passing a tambourine, or a rain-stick round without making any sound.
Once they had got some of the running out of their system, and I had brought them back to earth, I could then indulge myself in a little “music teaching” in line with the planning had so carefully prepared!
I try to incorporate some kind of active movement in every infant music lesson anyway. Carnival of the Animals is a great standby for short bits of music for stomping, or gliding, or tiptoeing around. You can also take the opportunity to talk about the sounds, instruments, speed and loudness/softness before, or after they have done their moving about.
“Now children, what are The Rules?”
“No bumping, no pushing, and NO FALLING OVER allowed”
“Well remembered, off you go”