Game for children who struggle to stay quiet

This warm-up/cool-down game is a lot of fun, and encourages groups to sit with silence, and control exactly when their instrument makes a sound.

The rules are very simple:

You can play whenever you want to, as often as you want to.

But! If you play at the same time as someone else, you are both OUT.

Some children get very excited by the freedom of being able to play whenever they want. They tend to go out very quickly (I usually do a trial run of the game the first time I introduce it, so that these kids get a clear understanding of how it works).

Others cotton on very quickly to the fact that the one way to stay in the game is to never play. I make sure everyone at least has their instrument in their hand, and really encourage them all to ‘be brave’ but also to ‘look at the other students, look to see who is getting ready to play’.

Some of the resulting textures from this game can be very beautiful. The stillness can be mesmerising. At Pelican PS, where I played it for the first time today, there were some surprising winners. Those who had gone out early on struggled to stay quiet while the game continued. However, when we do achieve that universal quietness, it feels very powerful indeed.

I have heard different names for this game. Some call it Sounds in the Silence. Others call it Parking, using the analogy that two cars cannot park in the same spot, or they will crash. I’m not particularly committed to either of those names. I should give the game a name though, so that the children can request it, when they want to play it again.

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1 comment so far

  1. Darren on

    Hey G, I really like the sound of this game… I’m going to try it tmrw. I like the name ‘Crash!’ for it (as in they’re trying to avoid a crash).


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