Once the kids have moved around and talked a bit, they can get settled in pretty quickly. So next I like to make an old-fashioned circle on the carpet and do some large group bonding—again, with the idea of getting everyone into a musical mindset. But I’m a multitasker, so I also use this time to get to know the kids’ names. Sitting in the circle, I talk to the students about creativity and introduce (or hopefully, review) the word “improvisation.”
For this activity, we will go around the circle, and each person has two things to do: first say his or her name, then make a sound. Immediately following this, the whole group will repeat both name and sound. The key is in the presentation: giving the actual directions quickly and then moving on to talk about the CHALLENGE. The challenge is to come up with a sound that no one else will come up with. How creative can they be? Can every student be so creative that there won’t be any two sounds that are the same? The kids get so caught up in this challenge that they mostly forget the fact that they have to be on the spot, even if it’s just for five seconds. So now I have a chance to learn some new names, get everyone making noise (improvising!), and have some laughs with the group.