As an Early Years music specialist, working with young musicians and their families is all about making meaningful connections, and creating immersive, musical learning environments. The tools and the skills that we use in face to face settings create a sensory space that lets the music in. It may seem daunting, in the first instance, to think about transferring these skills to an online world, but it doesn’t need to be! When we started to take our Music Tots sessions online, it became apparent that this wasn’t just a fill in for our ‘real life’ sessions – this was something that could be a permanent part of the Flash Company Arts CIC offer. Here are our top tips that will help you to get your very best practice online.
Prepare! All of the things that you would use in your face to face sessions can be used in your online sessions – in fact if you are going to be engaging with groups you already know, it’s really important to have something familiar for your participants to connect with. Look at the space you are going to work in, and curate it. Choose specific things that will be in the space around you. Make sure that you have everything you need before you start!
Get comfortable! If you are used to moving around when you deliver music sessions this is probably the trickiest thing to manage, but it is so important. If you are comfortable you will relax and be your best.
Make a connection! If your sessions are on a platform like Zoom, where you can see your participants, make sure that you refer to them, using the children names, as often as you can. It will keep them engaged, keep their families engaged, and make the session much more personal for all of you.
Interact and overact! Ask your groups what songs they want you to sing. Tell them what equipment they might want to prepare in advance – when we song ‘Choppity-chop’ everyone has vegetables and a mixing bowl. Then make it bigger. Bigger gestures, bigger smiles, clearer singing. Enjoy your work and remember that for the families who watch your livestreams and join your sessions, you are making a big difference to their days.