At Pelican Primary School we are gearing up for a special music assembly on the last day of school (Friday next week). The school’s much-loved, bright, energetic, warm, funny principal of twenty+ years is leaving (retiring – much deserved) and it is a beautiful opportunity to give the classes who are ready a chance to share their work with an audience, and at the same time offer the principal a farewell gift of music.
The songs we have written make me smile. Sometimes they make me laugh. I have to remember how funny and sweet these children are (it is sometimes easier to remember how challenging they are). We write these songs together, with me writing their suggestions on the board and prompting with gentle ‘steers’ to encourage them to follow narratives through, and keep their lyrics concise. I would never come up with most of these ideas on my own. It’s magic, what they come up with. Here are some examples:
Year 3/4 – The Very Scary Song
We were listening to some music
Our parents watched a movie downstairs
When we heard a noise at the window.
We didn’t know our world would turn UPSIDE DOWN!
Red eyes staring, a green hand stretching,
Black hairy legs were sliding through the crack.
“I’m going to kill you at midnight,” (it said)
We were scared but we knew we had to SAVE THE DAY!
We ran, broke a vase, and stabbed it in the heart.
It turned into a million ghosts.
So we turned on the vaccuum, sucked up all the pieces,
And our parents asked us, “WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?”
The whole song is sung very quietly, except for the words in upper case, which are sung as a scary, dramatic surprise. There are instrumental sections between each verse, using the music we composed last term. What a story to come up with! I especially liked the solution of sucking up the million ghosts with a vaccuum cleaner. Very resourceful.
Year 2/3 – Work Things Out
There’s these kids in a school and they usually have fun
But some times, the dark clouds come
(I introduced the idea to them that the weather, or different kinds of weather, can be used in creative writing as a metaphor for feelings. Hence the second line of the song).
Maybe they can work things out.
Let’s hope they don’t scream or shout.
(Chorus) Work, work, work things out
Think about everyone and please don’t pout.
Work, work, work things out
Shake your friend’s hand and let it go… OUT.
(By which I think they mean, let the bad feelings go out, as opposed to, shake your friend’s hand so vigorously that you dislocate it.)
Sit down, calm your anger.
Count to twenty, your anger will go.
Look for the rules because they keep us safe.
You know what to do.
They are very proud of this song. They sing it with great gusto. Today we worked on adding instrumental parts between each verse, after each chorus. It’s coming together. One more rehearsal. I think we are in good shape for the concert next Friday, and I think the principal will be very moved by these musical gifts.