by Teresa Jennings
Have you ever caught yourself crunched up into a tense ball while sitting at your computer? Or trying to hurry through your day to get it all done? Or spending too much time scrolling through your messages, news, social media, what-have-you? Next thing you know, your shoulders are practically touching your earlobes. Imagine, if you feel that way, how must your kids feel?
While we were working on this revue, there was a lot going on in the world. There always is, but this particular era seems to have been on steroids. It feels like our collective stress and anxiety is off the charts. (And in this current year, charts seemingly abound...) We can try to keep calm and carry on, as the saying goes, but we also need to take care of ourselves, and we need to help our students do likewise.
Probably one of the best and most effective ways to accomplish this is to allow ourselves to become mindful. That is, to put the outside world on pause, even for a few moments, and go within. A long slow breath, a conscious relaxing of our eyes, ears, mouth, and yes, shoulders (to name a few) can do wonders. It won't erase all your troubles, but keep doing it, and you will see positive changes slowly appear. And maybe, just maybe, you can weather the storms a little bit better. Ideally, we would all find the time to actually meditate, to close our eyes, slow our thoughts, and let ourselves drift into peacefulness. But if we don't always have time for that level of mindfulness, we do what we can. It all matters. It all helps.
This gentle, simple song is a reminder – and perhaps a teacher to the uninitiated – of that. Slow and smooth, it has a slight rocking quality to it that helps encourage the actions it proposes. Written to be accessible to most ages, it includes a second part which is optional, but which makes it particularly lovely. Part 2 enters in the first ending so that you hear part 1 alone the first time through, but go into harmony the second time. To aid in teaching part 2, we have created a rehearsal track and put it on our web site.
This is another piece, by the way, that would work outside of this revue. You could add it to another performance or just sing it in class. You could even just use it as a starting point for a guided mini-meditation or mindful moment in your own classroom, in person, or during distance learning.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.