Well, I’m astonished. I am a music teacher. In 3 days, our theatre project groups are making amazing sounds out of almost nothing. Each lesson the children become an orchestra; I am their conductor.
My ideas are all stolen – being a conductor comes from talking to Mary, from her years of experience in orchestras with both good and bad conductors. Given the language barrier I decided I had to become one of the former – to make as much progress as possible while I have our Jordanian assistants to help explain the basic concepts (they will be gone next week).
I started with laughing and crying (soft -> loud -> soft etc, the kids love this). Animal noises were more challenging – the children tend to copy, so if one decides to be a cat, they all become cats. Trying to encourage them to be different animals was a challenge at first, but when they got it, they made a cacophony of sounds. This was leading up to sellers in the market place – the king opens his window overlooking the market, the sound grows as he opens the window and stops abruptly as he slams it shut. Wow – when it works it’s fantastic.
Introducing instruments was more challenging – at first an empty water bottle each containing a little rice (lids taped down to avoid ‘accidents’). I made a huge mistake with the first group, introducing them immediately to holding the bottle in one hand and banging it on the other palm. Of course, they all found it much more fun to bang them on their heads, the floor, chairs, against each others’ bottle. Chaos! End of exercise, Val crumbles into a mess, sweating, no idea what to do next. Thankfully, Lauzan to my rescue, she led the remaining 10 mins and I was off the hook. Another attempt with the second group next lesson – success! Rule: no banging, only shaking. They were superb.
Tomorrow, I am taking in the set of percussion instruments and recorders – wish me luck.