At Jemima’s Playhouse, we encounter students of different ages every year. Their personalities can vary as much as their beautiful faces. Every single city and country we have visited have also been delightfully different. There is one united theme we have experienced in the 10 years of Jemima’s Playhouse - singing, everyone loves singing. When you sing a lovely song, it has the potential to break barriers. Music has the potential to connect humans in so many ways, despite age or location.
According to author Anita Collins in her article titled 'Music Education and the Brain: What Does It Take to Make a Change?', she said “Too often music education is devalued by other educators, leaders, and policymakers who see it as a vehicle for entertainment for the school community. The learning process is far more important than the performance for the overall neurological development of a child.”
The first time Jemima’s Playhouse performed in The Bahamas; it had the potential to become a daunting experience. The Bahamas is the hometown of Mr. Tyrone and the birthplace of BahamaMan, so the pressure was being felt. Students varied from ages 2 to 12 and did not know what to expect, but any performer who entertains students understands how difficult it is to keep the attention of a wide range of students – especially between the ages of 2-12.
We stood in front of the students silently for what seemed like 3 long minutes. After 1 minute you could hear a few snickers, and then without any notice, a hand gesture was made to start the music! Once the students heard the BahamaMan song playing, the ice was broken and everyone (including teachers) jumped to their feet to dance and sing the catchy song.
Singing as a construct to build a connection with children is a central theme in Jemima’s Playhouse’s ‘cultural appreciation method’. The sounds have a way of drawing in infants the same way it does for adults. When humans hear sounds from one person that are soothing, it can create a connection with that person.
In Jemima’s Playhouse 'up and down strategy', we like to engage children by standing up to dance which is fun and transitioning into sitting so they can learn. We create memories for children as they sing and dance, letting their imagination take them away. If you'd like a school visit by our team, check out our upcoming Playhouse on the road experiences.