Kids and dogs. When it comes to picking up the vibe in a room, always look to children or animals to see what their reactions are. Kids have a sixth sense for seeing through adults who are trying to win them over, trying to persuade them to behave a certain way or just trying too hard in general! That is why, when it comes to interacting with children, authenticity wins each and every time. The good news is, as complex human beings, we have a range of emotions we can access at any given moment to foster a sense of mystery, calm or wonder, depending on what the situation calls for. Some of the best advice I received during my music training was to find my inner silliness and let her out to play. I discovered that when it comes to working with children, being silly is a superpower!
That’s why all my lessons are underpinned with a sense of fun and playfulness that captures the attention and sparks the curiosity of my students. How do I do this in a genuinely authentic way?
Well, last week, I wore a tutu to class. That’s right, a beautiful, ethereal, soft mint tutu. Full disclosure: I actually have one in red too. I felt inspired by the children who come to our group sessions proudly sporting a fairy dress or princess crown. They spin and curtsy and hop from foot to foot as they dance around the room absolutely immersed in the experience. I looked inside myself and found that YES! I wanted to express myself in joyful and magical ways with my choice of attire too. And how lucky I am that my workplace is filled with gorgeous, tiny humans who celebrated this new outfit of choice with me.
I also make silly noises. It doesn’t feel awkward to make bopping sounds as I collect shaker eggs on my palms in front of a room full of people, it feels silly and fun! And feeling silly and funny engages those little ears and eyes as the pleasure of the unexpected captivates them. Being silly myself gives parents and children permission to be silly right along with me. And couldn’t we all do with a little more fun and silliness in our lives?
I move my body is silly ways. Be it the foot tapping, hip swaying actions accompanying My Aunt Came Back or simply using my hands to create a pair of glasses, our bodies are just made for movement. Loosening up, relaxing and really getting in to the musical experience role models to the children that music making is something to be enjoyed. It’s not all serious scales, it is fun and laughter and enjoyment. That is what music is all about!
My face. Have you ever made a toddler giggle just by pursing your lips and raising your eye brows? If you haven’t, you are missing out! We have around 40 muscles in our face which makes for some very silly combinations. Minutes after they are born, babies usually start scanning faces. They find them absolutely fascinating. Having a baby or toddler’s attention held by making funny faces fosters their social, emotional and visual development. Once you have their attention, they are much more likely to pay attention to what is being said (or how it is being sung) too.
However you choose to let out your inner silly, know that classes with Sounds Like This are always a safe space for adults and children to explore and play with their silly sides. Funny face, silly noises and tutus are always welcome!