Sunday, February 12, 2012

Roller Coaster

One fun idea I learned from last year's Pat Graham workshop was the Roller Coaster. I don't know if that's what she called it, but the name makes it all the more fun for the kids. The idea is to "Pitch Lead" with your body. Pitch leading is using your hand to lead the melody, raising the hand higher when the pitch goes higher, and lower when it goes lower.

So when you get on the "Roller Coaster," you start sitting on your chair. You fasten your seat belt with a little click and then the Roller Coaster starts with the song. As the melody goes up, so do you and when it comes down, so do you. Sometimes it's level and you have to maintain where you are. This challenges them to pay attention to the pitch and it might take a few times through before they get it right.

I bring a piece of PVC pipe, maybe 4 feet long, and pick 3-4 kids giving their best effort to come up front and hold the pipe together across their laps while they go on the Roller Coaster. Inevitably they raise and lower the pipe as they go up and down. While you'd never want to raise that lap bar on a real Roller Coaster, there's no danger on ours:) so I let them have fun.

If you are worried about the kids getting out of control, make sure they know they only get to go on the Roller Coaster if they are singing their best. Give it a trial run, ask a teacher to be a judge and if they can't handle it, tell them you'll give them another chance next week. When I ask a teacher to judge, I do it right then during Singing Time and tell the Primary that the teacher is a really tough judge. If the judge is too easy, I tell them right after we sing that I've heard them sing better.

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