How To Help Everyone Join In With A Music Activity – Top Five Tips
Jamming is a fun and inclusive way to facilitate a music activity. There are so many ways in which people can bring their skills and preferences to the group. You can use scarves, voices, clapping or whistling for example. Jamming helps people to make something together, in the moment, and feel a great sense of achievement by contributing their special thing to the session. It’s a case of making things up as you go along once you get jamming, but there are ways to make sure everyone has the best chance of being able to join in.
So, with jamming together in mind, here are our top five tips on how to help everyone join in with a music session:
- Sit in a circle. Arrange the chairs, leaving spaces for wheelchairs, so that the group is in a circle. This way everyone can see or hear where you are and feel comfortable. Being in a circle is the best way for everyone to feel together in their musical activity.
- Dress Up. This could be just a headdress or a hat for instance. It helps to make people feel part of the activity, to share a theme and be part of a group. Some people feel less inhibited when taking on another character.
- Keep the energy of the session at a high level. Congratulate someone when they are doing something good. For example, ‘’ Well done Agnes, your tambourine playing is lovely!’’ Smile, make eye contact, move around to the music. Get close to people and encourage them to play.
- Give out some roles. People enjoy being given a role to play. It adds to a feeling of belonging and responsibility for the session to work. For example, you could be playing with a beach theme and you ask Alice to play the Sea Drum, to set the scene, and Brian to play brushes on the side drum, to keep the rhythm going. Elspeth could be the dancer and Norman could be the clapper.
- Offer alternatives. Observe how individuals are reacting to the session and their choice of instrument. If they seem to be struggling with a drum offer them a shaky egg. Make the egg enticing and fun and focus on the positive. Or offer them a scarf saying that we need more colour and movement in the band and it would be great if they would wave a scarf.
So, it’s over to you … what do you find helps to get people involved and engaged with your music activities?