I want to show you a book that I have been using to work with 6-8 year-old kids with very good results when starting the students with instrumental improvisation. It is not a musical book, but you will soon understand how it can be musicalised.
It is a story about Mawilda, a girl who comes out of her castle and begins to call her subjects: the colours. Thus, calm blue arrives to greet its queen, followed by strong red and warm yellow. The Queen of Colours receives and plays with each of the colours and begins to paint her world. But her temper gets out of control and everything turns gray in despair. In the end, Mawilda manages to restore peace in her kingdom.
This story enhances the importance of controlling our emotions and how to colour the world. Below you will see how we can paint it with sound.
ACTIVITY FOR INSTRUMENTAL EXPERIMENTATION AND IMPROVISATION
Materials: wood block, drum, jembe, rainstick, güiro, kalimba, and others instruments at school.
- Experiment with unknown percussion instruments.
- Develop active listening.
- Use intensity dynamics as a means of expression.
- Reflect on the sensations transmitted by the timbres of the different instruments.
- Associate the timbre of the instrument with a colour.
The different instruments will be shown to the students and displayed on the floor. The teacher will play an instrument and the students will dance along in the space. When the teacher stops playing, each student will take an instrument and adapt its intensity to the sound environment announced by the teacher, for example: night, party, playground, on top of a hill… This will allow them to experiment with the different instruments.
We will do a first read-through of the story and each time a colour comes up, we will talk with the students to draw common conclusions about the sensations that each colour evokes. Then we will all select two instruments to represent each colour. At the end of the story we will reflect on what happens when everything is gray. Who will play when everything is gray? How will we play?
Before the second reading of the story, we will separate the students into three groups: the red group, the blue group, and the yellow group. We will give out the instruments that we have previously assigned to each colour and each group will participate in the part of the story where the colour comes up. This will lead to an instrumental improvisation where the students who participate in each moment with their instruments will have to complement each other, adapting the intensity to the reading of the story, and develop active listening.