It started when one of the children that I work with was colouring a violin on a piece of paper about the letter "V". She asked me what the stick was next to the guitar. I told her it wasn't a guitar but a violin, and tried to explain how the musician playing the violin used a bow -- the stick -- to make music. She didn't understand at all what I was trying to tell her, so I made it my mission to bring experiences with different instruments to the centre in order to expose the children to different forms of music.
All dressed-up for Symphony Day.
On Wednesday we had an amazing experience at my work. The local symphony orchestra arranges for a small chamber orchestra group to go to schools and teach children about their instruments and the elements of music. We had them come play for us and the children absolutely loved it. The group that I take care of sat nicely in their formal wear and barely wiggled in their seats. A couple of the children even got to experience what it is like to be the conductor and control the musicians with their arm movements. One of them was the little girl that originally asked me about the violin, and it was so amazing to me to see it all come full circle.
To prepare for the performance, we began teaching the children about the families of instruments -- string, brass, percussion and woodwind. We played games to group them all together; we watched videos of performances from the different families on the iPad; we talked about the different instruments that are part of the families; we even talked about the similarities and differences within the families themselves.
We also talked about the emotions behind music, and so I would play music for them on the iPad and they would close their eyes and tell me how they felt while listening to the music or what they imagined while listening to it. They told me some amazing stories like traveling around the planets out in space, fighting with super heroes on a pirate ship, and watching fairies dance in a field of flowers.
Not only did the children enjoy the chamber orchestra, but it was an amazing experience for myself as well. I grew up watching a lot of the musicians perform in the actual symphony orchestra and it was very surreal to see them only a few feet in front of me playing music that I have always loved and was so proud and excited to share with these young children. Some of the children that I work with come from families that don't have the money or interest in symphony music to be able to take their children, and I was so happy that I was able to share a piece of a world that they might not have ever been exposed to. If one of them even grows up to become a musician in the local orchestra, I would be more than happy to see them perform.