I grew up singing, dancing and storytelling. My mom is an elementary music teacher, so music and movement have always been part of my life. So it’s a natural course for me to include a lot of music and movement in my storytimes.
My mom had been telling me about a method of teaching music known as Orff, which is a way to include music, movement, and drama in your teaching. She would tell me about the fun activities she would do in her music classroom and I would immediately think of how I could adapt it and use it at the library. So when the chance came up last month to attend a music workshop with my mom that was being facilitated by two leading Orff educators, Artie Almeida and Denise Gagne, I jumped at the chance.
I was a librarian in a room full of music educators, yet I felt at home. Here was a three day workshop on creative movement and singing, using dramas to tell stories, choreographed parachute routines, clapping and rhyming games, playing instruments and so much more. I came away from the workshop feeling energized and excited about using music and movement in my storytimes.
I took a few tips from what I learned from the workshop and applied them to storytime this past week. Before I got out my rhythm sticks, I explained exactly what I was going to have the preschoolers do, demonstrated what they would do, and had them practice several times before I passed out the sticks. Then the preschoolers accompanied me as I read Tap, Tap, Boom, Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle and played along to Tap Your Sticks by Hap Palmer. At my library dance party, I had the kids choreograph a parachute routine to Let It Go-as the music came to a crescendo, our parachute got larger. As the music was faster we shook the parachute quickly and slowed it down as the music became slower. These are simple things to incorporate into my programs and took what I was already doing and made them even better.
Attending the music educator workshop made me wonder why children’s librarians don’t collaborate more with other professions. We share a lot of similarities with elementary music teachers and could learn a lot from each other. I’m hoping to get involved in my local Orff chapter and learn more music and movement ideas. I hope to build a great collaboration between the library and my local music teachers and build on the music and movement programs I’m already doing. I think partnering with other professions and learning from their experts is a great way to expand our knowledge and also promote what we’re doing in the library.
So I encourage you to go out and meet your local music teacher! And collaborate with other professions to see what you can learn. And if you get a chance, attend an Orff workshop-they’re a lot of fun!