Capitalizing on Self-generative Opportunities
I was looking forward to trying out the alternate lyrics (Star Spangled Banner) in lessons this week, because I had so much fun singing them. To my surprise it fell rather flat. One of the adult students found the lyrics amusing, and would have enjoyed more of the same. The other student got very quiet and looked offended. These lyrics may offend some people, so use your radar to decide which lessons they may be appropriate for and which not.
Firstly, for any person who is deeply patriotic, writing alternate lyrics to their National Anthem may be considered very offensive. Be careful.
With that aside, as a project in general, and with any piece, I am always looking for opportunities for students to create their own variations and arrangements, as well as write their own lyrics. When we (as teachers) provide alternate lyrics, we forfeit an opportunity for students to assume responsibility and develop confidence with regard to becoming self-generative.
My preference would be to have the students assume complete responsibility. In a Shared Lesson, have everybody come back with lyrics for the first two lines. This would be Project 1.
The following week, hear what everyone has done, and then choose somebody’s lyrics as the basis for Project 2. With the chosen lyrics as the basis, send the students home to write lyrics for the next two lines. The project is for the lyrics to retain the character of the ‘story’, as well as preserve the structure so that they rhyme with the first two lines etc.
Week 3, repeat the process etc., etc., through to completion.
Watch how the feeling of ownership is deepened when the group has contributed to creating something that is their own.
Also, note how beneficial the Shared Lesson environment is for things such as this. In a Private Lesson, the student can hide, and tell you they couldn’t do it, or it was too hard etc. In a Shared Lesson, when they hear student after student coming up with their own lyrics, even though they may hide at first, seeing others do it tends to ‘draw them out of themselves’, and helps them to become more cooperative, more willing and more of a participant.