I’ve always had a thing for themes, so it looks like my current theme is going to be “_____ ______ and ______” for a while now as a title, but hopefully I’ll grow out of it soon, it’s not nearly as interesting looking as I am led to believe.
For my second dance lesson, the students and I did a workshop on sound collage, to gauge the student’s abilities in rhythm and tempo and hopefully teaching the students that, when dealing with rhythm, simple is usually better, because it is easier to play with, and to fit other rhythms into, as well as being way easier to grasp as a beginner.
When I did my sound collage lesson, the class was separated into two groups, and I worked with each group for twenty minutes and then we switched. Overall, the lesson went well, the students were having fun, they were laughing and trying new things and asking questions. And I could see a definite improvement in the abilities of the students. The first sound collage we did, with me just letting the students make up their own rhythms with no real strategy to it, was quite a cacophony of sounds. As we went on to make more and more progress, I gave the students tools and tricks to work with: keeping it simple, repeating a rhythm after only a few beats [only 4 – 6 counts, ideally], starting with basic quarter notes and only adapting slightly. I have always loved rhythm, and doing a sound collage is one of my favourite things in the world to do. Getting to sit back and listen to the beats and music that was being made by the students was so cool, and it was awesome to see the students genuinely curious and excited to learn.
While I was teaching, the students were extremely engaged, asking many questions that related back to the first lesson, like “how is the use of rhythm a way of communication”, and “what sorts of sound are easier to make”. I really enjoyed that the students were asking questions, because it meant that they were curious and that they wanted to learn. They even remembered pieces of our first lesson, which we had two weeks ago.
Another point that was really cool was that I got to get to know the students better. Having a smaller group meant we got a chance to do some talking, I asked the kids to tell me something interesting about themselves, I told them it was my birthday, they all clapped, it was all very beautiful. They made me feel better about being “halfway to 40”. The students told me about sports they were involved in – some ski-doo, some play hockey, one boy plays Pokemon, and was pretty much over the moon when I told him that I also played Pokemon cause it was my jam.
I think the reason I was so pleased with the lesson was because I started to feel the respect of the students. Usually when I begin teaching, there is a period where the students test me, and don’t take me seriously, because I like to have fun, and I like to laugh and talk to my students, but today was the first day where they started to try and get too silly, or stop paying attention. And as soon as they knew that I would not tolerate disrespect and too much silliness with a reminder to pay attention, they listened and were well-behaved. I am blessed to be working with such kind and fun students. I enjoy being at the school, and I cannot wait to see what happens in my next lesson.
In my ECS 300 seminar, our teacher mentioned that trying to teach more than one subject is always preferred, and so I have been trying to incorporate other subjects into my teaching. Last week I added a bit of history, this week I did music theory. Next week I hope to add in some English and Creative Writing as I try to explain to students about story in dance, and how music changes and develops to tell a story through no words, and is subject to interpretation.