It’s always exciting to see students embodying the spirit of play, especially informally. At this time of the year, as summer approaches, energy is high and students like to let loose. Simultaneously, the school has recently acquired a set of hand drums with an associated assortment of auxiliary percussion instrument (shakers, rain sticks, etc.). Put together, this created a great sense of fun this morning, welcomed and encouraged by Sympatico.
A number of students arrived early this morning, even before our normal start time. After setting up the room for the combined Keetman and Strings at Sunrise rehearsal that was scheduled for this morning, they wandered over to the set of shakers and small drums. One by one, students began picking up various instruments and playing them. In this early time, exploration began.
“Conga line!” one student shouted. Quickly, a number of students organized themselves into a line and began marching around the classroom with their maracas, shakers, and drums. Inspired by the Latin beat that another student was playing on the bongos, the walk turned into an excited romp that involved instruments, excitement, and energy. It was loud, raucous, and all in good fun.
Educators often talk about the way that they contribute to a student’s learning and ability to pick up concepts. There is an ongoing national conversation about this, one that Sympatico staff will be participating in at the Yale Symposium on Music in Schools in two weeks’ time. However, moments like the unstructured play of this morning’s conga line are often more educational than anything that teachers can provide. Providing spaces for students to take risks, encouraging openness and freedom, and facilitating opportunities for exploration is what Sympatico is all about.