Monthly Archives: January 2019
The start of a new year or new semester creates a perfect opportunity to begin explicitly teaching students to develop a personal code of character. Your post-holiday gift can be intentionally creating a haven for self-expression, creativity and empathy in your school.
AROUND THE PIANO/CHARACTER BUILDING SONGS is a resource you can use to get students talking, writing and singing about what it means to “be a good person” or “do the right thing.” These original songs and lessons will help you get the second half of the school year moving in the right direction.
Be explicit. Let your students know that you’re using songs to talk about character because music is so very powerful. Let them know that you’re taking the time to do it because you care about them and you know your group will be better if you get to know each other and feel safe in this space.
1. Bring your group together around the real or imaginary piano in your classroom. Spend time teaching an ATP song that you feel comfortable with (because you can sing it through like you own it, and the lyrics suite the message you want to share with your group today).
2. Have everyone sit down, preferrably still around the piano, but wherever works. Start the conversation (example)Let’s talk about Winter Break. Did you notice anyone doing something surprisingly kind? Surprisingly brave? Surprisingly honest? What happened? Why do you think it happened that way? What do you think/hope you would do in a similar situation. Share a true story of your own.
3. Ask your students to write or draw a short description of their personal experience and what they learned from it or how they felt.
4. Sing the song again as a reminder of where you started.
5. Help your students write new lyrics for the song using ideas from your discussion.
6. As a group, and with great care and respect, sing all of the lyrics your students are willing to share. Have fun with it. Try not to make it a test or something that can end in failure. Celebrate every effort equally.
7. Play with the song. Encourage your class to create harmonies. Add rhythm , or instruments or movement all the while singing positive messages over and over again. Eventually something will stick.😀
*Depending on your group, you might do this in small segments over the course of the semester or make AROUND THE PIANO a regular part of your weekly routine. Take the steps in the order that fits your classroom and your style. Remember, you’re doing good work because you’re teaching music and listening to your students. You can’t lose.
Consider hosting an AROUND THE PIANO workshop for staff in your district. We would love to work with you!
SING YOUR HEART OUT, AND SOMEONE WILL HEAR YOU!