This morning I got my violin out to play along with the storytelling session. The first group was a school group, so I was working with a group of people I’d never met. This was not a problem, as the group were very enthusiastic and very talented. We had two volunteers playing along with the first story, the whole group joined in the second story, and by christmas carol time the room was up on it’s feet dancing. It was gratifying to see. especially after my observations yesterday (check them out here). However, people who stood up to dance were often told to sit back down again, which was frustrating. I would make a guess that as this was a school group rather than a group of adults there is a more protective attitude, especially in a new building. I would be very keen to work in a specialist school in future, to see how the attitudes differ from those at sense.
It was great to see how much people played with rhythm in the session. One of the first musician was playing a drum, and despite being very young kept strong steady rhythms as well as playing with more complex rhythms over the top. It was a very clear, intelligent and totally spontaneous response. It shows what natural talent there is for music both at Sense and in those who are yet to start at TouchBase.
In the afternoon dancing played a large role. One group member danced the entire time, and both because it looked fun and also because I wanted to send the message that dancing was OK I ended up joining her. It was great fun! It became a half mirroring , half freestyle movement collaboration to the whole group playing christmas bells and tambourines. Spectacular. Another group member was also very excited by the movement. He uses a wheelchair and has limited control over his movement (although I’ve never noticed this stop him). He had begun the session quite still, became more active during the stories and by the end was so animated I was genuinely concerned that he was going to brake his chair. The room that the story telling sessions take place in is a music room, and therefor has a lot of instruments lying around and limited free space. This can make movement a bit tricky, but was more of a problem for the support workers who are concerned that something will get broken or someone will get hurt. Also, wheelchairs can take up a lot of space, so a bigger room would help avoid collisions.
Tomorrow is the last day before the christmas concert, and the excitement is building. The two musicians in the second session were member of the TouchBeats music group who are performing at the concert. I can’t wait to see them in action!