There needed to be something to rely on and there was no money to buy formal published musicals or plays and the students were not ready to learn at such a sophisticated level. I determined to simply record background tracks so that I could be free to observe the students and be able to work with them on their interpretations and practice sessions while playing the recorded music. That is how the project began. Of course there was nothing simple about making the recorded music as it necessitated hours of orchestrating quality sounds on a synthesizer/keyboard and then transferring the created soundscapes to a computer and finally making a successful music track that could support the whole concept. Oh yes, and then there were the private lessons with the sound engineer so that I could learn how to do such a project. There was nothing simple about this at all!
I chose songs from traditional children’s music that included evocative movement, sung calls with purposeful responses, and lyrics that directed the activities to provide the engagement. The original background tracks utilized fully orchestrated sounds to enhance the character of the song as well as to set the parameters for interaction. The songs all included some kind of game or action that established the rules for the students in taking turns, playing roles, assuming leadership positions, and following directions. This was a successful answer to managing the situation and everyone felt secure about the expectations and objectives of the activities while having fun. Having fun really was an essential ingredient as this was an after-school and summer camp program and not school!
There still were no videos as that was an idea yet to be imagined. We were still focused on creating some kind of performance based on a musical support track. The students enjoyed creating their own versions of moving to (choreographing) and presenting the story line to the basic tune and developing a short play to share with other students and parents. These interactive endeavors promoted practice in social skills as well as providing physical activity which is a much needed element for after-school programs.
Click to Read Part 5 of Chapter One
Click to Read Part 7 of Chapter One