teaching kids

“lia and amelia went to the shop
and the only thing they bot
was a little pot”
Lately worked a part time job in a school teaching songwriting to 6 yr olds, 9 yr olds and 12 yr olds. I asked the youngest ones for things they would like to hear in a song. Many said their own name but some suggested we sing about games, birthdays or giggle shrieking, “a song about poo!!”. I brought my accordion and made up music and sung about their chosen subjects and made up rhymes. Seemed heaven inducing for all. When I returned the next week two little girls, Lia and Amelia, had written 4 songs for me. They gave them to me in a little hand made folder.
Rhyming is nice entry point.
With the older kids I start with Haikus, just listening to syllables and hopefully a third line that twists the meaning of the previous two. We listen also to songs and I ask how many things they can identify. Blows my mind how I listened to music before arriving in recording studios, the magnification of each sound that happens after you enter that world, the new listening you acquire, the different sensitivity and precious attention to every part. Start to understand where the microphone was placed, whether they used a pick or fingers, if they popped consonants singing.
Last week had my last class with the oldest ones, all about listening. We had some good exchanges and they all wrote songs. While buttoning my coat to leave one said “can I have your autograph” then a few others clamoured the same. I wrote “your autograph” a few times quickly. Was down the hall and almost out the door before I heard their screams of betrayal, couldn’t help it (singing) I’m a teacher baby, so why don’t you kill me.

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