“Hello, my name is Tiziana.”
“Sorry?”, said some of the children.
“It’s a difficult name, I know. It’s Italian!”
“Yes! Do you know Italy? We eat a looooooooot in Italy. My favourite food is pizza. What’s your favourite one?”
A simple conversation in which everyone says the name of a favourite food can become a multimodal and intermodal musical game, between sign language and body percussion.
This is what happened this year during the first session of Sounding Out (the research about music with children with hearing impairment, conducted by Creative Futures and the University College London).
We are currently running the sessions in two different schools of London (primary and secondary school), Blanche Nevil and Selwyn Primary, with the support of the researchers and the Prof. Graham Welch, director of the research.
This first music game helped us welcome the children and to discover something about them:
– their personal musical skills,
– the way in which they mainly interact (verbally or using the sign language),
– their personality.
We had a lot of fun all together!
Simply speaking about names, weather and food, which usually helps the educators to open a session with new children, can easily become a great music activity to develop the rest of the class.
The only thing that we need to do in order to make this happen is to keep our plans open to improvisation and flexibility.
Including children’s proposals is also really important during the development of the exercises.
Eventually at the end of the game we transformed the body percussion movements in a rhythm for drums, guitars, piano and saxophone and we asked the children to conduct the circle of instruments themselves.
My colleagues and me at the end of the session have learnt 14 new sings of the British Sign Language, with the help of the children.