Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clearwater Hand Rhyming

Jacy and Maddy, nine (almost 10) and eleven years old respectively, spend some of their time at Clearwater perfecting their skills with clapping games. They have a large repertoire which continues to grow as they add new rhymes, including some of their own compositions. They plan to perform a long routine at Whistlepig, and at the winter concert of the Clearwater Singers.

I love watching them practice. Some might classify their activity as play with little value beyond having fun, and you may rest assured that both girls are having a lot of it. Playing and having fun is dismissed far too often in our culture as charming, but ultimately frivolous and unimportant in the grand scheme. Upon closer observation, however, it becomes obvious that there's a lot going on in addition to having fun. To achieve their goal of perfecting these routines, the two girls must be focused, disciplined, persistent, creative and collaborative. In fact, fun cannot exist without these elements. Play is satisfying and mind-expanding only because it is complex, challenging and engages the whole person.

To create and work out all the details of each rhyme, the girls collaborate, try different things and practice over and over and over until they are happy with the result. When they make a mistake, they stop and instantly go back a line or two in the rhyme and do that part over a few times. They hold a dizzying array of patterns in their heads without confusing one with another.

The fun they have working and playing together is infectious. Here's a sample of what they're working on. Their concert version will have some original pieces, as well as being smoother, longer and probably faster.

End of post.

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