A LITTLE LIGHT MUSIC
By Irene Light
OUTSMART THE KIDS WITH MUSIC
So your class isn’t focusing on anything. They are in their own little world and you are standing there watching and listening to this happen. There is nothing for you to do but to tear out your hair, shout and stamp your feet until your face turns blue or……….
Have some fun of your own and see who wants to join you. It’s time for the number one game show called "Outsmart the Kids with Music."Is there a desk or table handy? WAIT! DON’T THROW IT! Just tap it in a rhythm of any kind, be it jazzy or just a marching 1, 2, 3, 4 but make it short and repetitive. Soon the kids will be joining you AND YOU HAVEN’T SAID A WORD! Then change the pattern a little and see if they imitate you AND YOU HAVEN’T SAID A WORD! Now tap it on your head (which is quieter than a table, I hope.) They will join you AND YOU HAVEN’T SAID A WORD! So now it is relatively quiet and everyone is listening to you and waiting to see what comes next AND YOU CAN SAY A WORD OR AS MANY AS YOU WANT! Keep the game going and have the children find a new "instrument" object or have them create a new short rhythm. Whenever you are ready to stop, you have again become "the leader/teacher" and its back to your lesson plan but you had fun, didn’t you? Now you have created a non-verbal form of communication and discipline. No matter what age group or what learning disabilities you are dealing with, a form of this technique should work. (I have used it from preschool through junior high and with autistic students.) Just don’t forget to suddenly repeat this adventure at random moments just for fun, even if things are quiet. The louder you are, the more fun it is. This softer you are, the more calming it is. You are now the relaxed, calm, focal point in the classroom and that is the way it should be. ENJOY IT (while it lasts!)
© Irene Light 2004
Irene Light is a certified public school music teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience. She has taught classroom, choral and instrumental music from preschool through eighth grade. She was the recipient of multiple piano scholarships from the Henry Street Settlement Music School and graduated from Music & Arts High School in New York . She obtained a B. A. in Music from Hunter College followed by her teacher's license in graduate school.
Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. Light has also been running a very busy piano studio. Her approach to private piano instruction includes providing her students with a multitude of creative contests and performing opportunities. Her Music Marathon © is a piano/sports event that creatively teaches piano technique in a competitive and fun way.