Sunday, January 21, 2007

Harold the Instrument

This past week, I asked my Grade Five students to draw pictures of imaginary creatures playing imaginary instruments. They had to describe how the instruments made sound and how they created different pitches or timbres. The creatures they imagined could have as many extra fingers, eyes, limbs, etc as the students' wanted in order to create new instrumental possibilities. We had just watched The Beatles' Yellow Submarine and observed all the imaginary creatures and the fantasy power of music.

I see part of my responsibility as a music teacher to not only develop their musical skills but to develop their confidence in their imagination and to provide opportunities for creativity in all the arts. Previous to this assignment, they had to write and sing their own lyrics for Yellow Submarine.

The picture is from one of my students, Andrew (age 10), who also wrote the following description of the creature.

"I blink my eye and my metallic nose vibrates to make sound waves which stimulate my metal legs to march and play the tambourines attached to my feet. My antennae meet rhythmically together and play the cymbals. My large lips encompass the mouthpiece of my self playing saxophone. My arms are busy playing the violin. In the center of my body is my eyeball AKA my Ipod, the orchestra of my soul."

It's this kind of inspiring response to an assignment that gives ME confidence in my imagination and leaves me thrilled to be teaching. It also leaves me in awe of what my students can accomplish.

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