Making music outdoors and in our freshly renovated studio this Spring has been a breath of fresh air for all of us at Merry Music Makers! Outdoor classes have been a great change of pace as we soak up the sun and experience the joy of singing together in some beautiful outdoor spaces. We’ve even secured a new shady spot for classes this summer at Hamlin Park! Though some of us long for the comforts of the classroom.
The choice to register for classes inside or outside this summer is one that depends on your own comfort level with moving inside and many other things. This summer, Ms. Kristen has chosen to only teach outdoors, while Ms. Jacque recently chose to return to teaching exclusively in the classroom.
Ms. Jacque decided to share her reasons for teaching indoors.
While I've loved the opportunity to teach outside in a time when classrooms weren't as accessible an option, I've decided to teach solely inside for the summer. I have five very specific reasons why:
Air Conditioning: If you've taken outdoor classes with me this spring, you know that first and foremost I'll be moving inside for my health. I don't do well with heat, and as temperatures rise I've found it takes the whole afternoon to recover from a morning of teaching, which takes away time spent with my family.
Classroom walls: Studies have shown that a child's attention span isn't much longer than five minutes. Because of this, the Music Together curriculum is built to encourage children to explore their space and take in music in their own way. As teachers, we allow the children to wander while asking that the adults remain engaged in the activities. As they explore the space, they are able to continue learning by listening and observing all the grownups in action. When all the caregivers are able to participate without worrying about herding their child away from playground equipment or other distractions, we’re able to create an atmosphere where the children are able to both explore and learn because all the grownups are modeling music-making.
The ability to hear every voice: The caregiver’s voice is very important to each individual child's learning experience. It is the voice that refocuses them and the one they learn best from. In outdoor classes, our ability to do sound layering, rounds, call and response, and individual participation is severely limited by external noises. Trucks, emergency vehicles, wind, and physical distance all stand in the way of us hearing each other and joining our voices together in song.
The ability to observe musical development: You may have noticed that these points build on one another a bit. With external noise and no walls to contain the exploration and the sound, my ability to see and hear development in each child becomes very limited. I can't hear the infant gently cooing on the resting tone or the toddler singing my echo. I can't see the five-year-old tapping in time to the music. My ability to explain development is directly linked to how much I can observe, and this is simply easier in an enclosed space with fewer distractions.
Safe Indoor Environment: Comfort levels differ, and so some of you may not be ready to take the step towards the classroom yet, and that's okay. But I'm ready to move inside because with our distanced mats, our individually cleaned instrument buckets, our ventilation and the combination of both the vaccine and the mask, I feel safe teaching there.
The musical and educational benefits are so great that I can't wait to get back into the classroom where I can hear your beautiful voices and see your child's development firsthand. If you're ready to join me for an indoor class, then I look forward to seeing you this summer. And if you're not, I understand completely, and I can't wait until we're able to spend time together again.
Keep singing, and I'll see you soon!