Some kiddos arrive at their session full of peps and impatient to leave! I often say to myself, “Wow, I wish I had half the energy of this child.” Here at Music therapy meme Connections, I work with many students and clients ages 3 to 7 in individual and group environments. This age seems to bring a lot of energy, as well as joy and excitement for music!
This enthusiasm is often accompanied by difficulties in listening to and following instructions. This can lead to non-ideal or even dangerous situations. So, I came to discover effective ways of channeling this energy towards listening, respecting other participants and following directions.
Turn on your listening ears
This is the one I saw used in many different settings. When my young students and clients have trouble following the instructions, I always do it first: I put my hands near my ears, say “turn on your ears”, turn my hands as if I were turning on my ears and do a sound effect. It gets their attention and they usually imitate you. I found it to be an effective and quick way to get everyone back on track.
Stay in your bubble
This is particularly pleasant for movement activities. Participants tend to be very passionate about their dance moves. In order to keep everyone safe, I assign a certain area in the room to each person and I tell them that this place is their “bubble”. We can dance anything we want in our bubble, but we can’t leave it, otherwise it will burst! This allows the participant (s) to express themselves while avoiding injuries.
My students of this age come to class with lots of ideas of what they want to do during music time. Fortunately, my groups often agree on the special activity they would like to do. I take this and ride with it. If everyone listens and follows the instructions, then we can do the special activity at the end. If things start to get out of hand, I just remind them of the special activity and they get back on track. This use of positive reinforcement has worked wonders for my groups and my individual sessions!
There are many different ways to encourage young music creators to keep working without spreading their enthusiasm. These are ways that I like to use in my groups and individual settings. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve? Let us know in the comments!