How and why to start using body percussion in your class
To create and be engaged in music we don’t need expensive instruments, perfect practice space nor superior music skills. In its beginnings music was made by synchronization of movements that create (or recreate) sounds with the use of limited tools starting with human voice and body, and simple objects, so people could express their feelings, needs and wishes to communicate between themselves and their Gods. So, in the dawn of humanity, music IN FACT represented a universal language and the best way for a man to connect with himself, his community, nature, and holy spirits.
To use our own body as an instrument means to connect to the core of music which allows us to be more spontaneous in expressing what rises inside of us as a seed of musical creation. In simple and less philosophical and more practical terms, it is a great way to warm up the body, relieve stress, and relax, creating music without any foreknowledge, wherever we are, and with limited resources.
Engaging in activities with body percussion and singing leads us ultimately to better synchronization of the movements and internalization of the rhythm, dynamic, and agogic, which can also help us during the process of learning new musical pieces or creating them.
Introducing different sounds of the body
If you are introducing body percussion elements to the class, keep it simple in the beginning. The larger the group, the harder it gets to stay together when things get too complicated. So, do it gradually and introduce step by step more sounds and movements to make things spicier. Don’t show everything that you can think of right away. Leave some space for children's ideas and exploration. Usually, they will have more than a few and you will be surprised how many interesting sounds they will find. Even if they are shy, do encourage this exploration process and give some thumbs up for the effort.
Let's warm-up with our teacher Dijana and start exploring different sounds:
Here is one idea for a simple introduction to the body percussion class. There are many more great videos you can be inspired by from YouTube, but we found this one the most useful for the beginning of this activity:
Bonus: When working with teenagers who are usually „bored“ and/or embarrassed to do things in front of the others, show to them a few „cool“ videos they can relate to. You will always have more success, spark interest and motivation in the children, if you manage to introduce the new activities in the class as fun and cool ones.Look for the youtube videos with body percussion on the songs that are currently popular and you know they like – this will for sure keep their attention. Here are some good examples: