This week, since Beatrice was out of town, Randy and I had the pleasure of engaging the kids in some eurythmic activitiesÂ we think will help in their ensemble playing. We reviewed them on bunny ear bow holds, violin posture, and added a reflective discussion on their practicing over the past week. Some of my favorite comments were:
I really enjoyed the â€œcrazy practiceâ€ because I could do something the wrong way and then fix it.
I liked doing the animal rhythms and marching the beat. It was fun.
We then asked them if they had any specific questions, and it was obvious that they had answers to everything! These kids are so smart! Next we had them talking about their drawings they made the week before about how playing the violin makes them feel. One boy said: â€œPlaying the violin is like being sucked into a black hole. The black hole is actually music and whenever I play music, I feel like itâ€™s powerful.â€ Wow, thatâ€™s all I have to say to that.
I know little kids love to do things with their bodies so we came up with the idea of marching the beat or pulse. We made sure to start at a slow tempo (speed) so that when the rhythms got more complicated, it was slow enough to understand and perform them. We mostly used animal rhythms: zoo, monkey, and alligator, and interchanged them with the African/Indian system: cha, taki, takadimi. The hardest part was marching the beat and clapping or singing the animal rhythm on top of the marching. It was tested their coordination skills but incorporating their bodies at the same time.