The Little Things

I like to use a game of Freeze Dance as a reward for my music classes. It’s free, easy, and fun. When I started teaching, the kids danced without abandon but lately I’m seeing so many students that just stand there and barely sway. O kiddos! You are missing out on the real fun of dancing!

So I’ve been pondering how to fix this problem. I’ve tried cajoling and dancing with them. I even tried making rules that hands and feet must be moving to stay in the game but rules just go against what free dancing should be.

So I did what every good teacher does, I started talking to my students. Dear kiddo, why won’t you dance? I heard lots of: “I don’t know how to dance.” “I’m not good at dancing.” “I’m shy.”

Fixing not knowing something is easy in this situation. Youtube to the rescue! Since on this day, we were exploring music from the 1960’s, it seemed appropriate to teach the Twist. So we watched this video.

Then an amazing thing happened. EVERYONE danced! Some kids twisted for the whole music class. It was easy, fun and an awesome workout!

There are all sorts of things I’ve had to teach over the course of my career that were not music. I’ve taught how to be a friend, how to deal with the annoying person in class, what to do when you know the kids sitting beside you hasn’t taken a bath for a very long time, how to give kindness to the person you’d like to smack. I’ve had to teach how to think beyond what the teacher is asking, how to amuse your brain quietly while you stand in a silent line for what seems like the millionth minute today. So why did it take me so long to realize that DISORGANIZED community dancing might also need to be taught?

I teach organized dancing all over my program. I really enjoy folk dancing but let’s be honest, nobody breaks out the Virginia Reel at weddings and school dances. This is the biggest “head smack” moment I’ve had recently. This summer  I will be adding to my “dance moves” playlist on Youtube. These will be one of the things that I go to when I need to fill the random 3 minutes at the end of a class. We will be busting a move next year during Freeze Dance!

Brenda Muench

music educator tech integration specialist

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