Children and adults often feel more able to express themselves outdoors, and so take to making rhythms, loops and small pieces of music readily. They can read the music, because they wrote it, and can express themselves in new ways, without being judged. They feel happy and more confident as a result. Forest school leaders and participants love it, and so have some of the corporate groups I worked with.
This video from Natural Storyteller and Musicians enrichment programme in Devon Autumn 2012/13, shows some of the activities and the smiling faces as we played to learn, learnt through play. Based in the 1/3 acre woodland beside the school three groups of 12 children came out, whatever the weather.
Click here to read a blog about a natural voice day in Sussex in pictures:
In relation to the natural storytellers my aim was for the children to learn through the whole body learning by engaging with activities and role play, and then to reflecting on the experiences. We enacted stories, made clay characters, became reporters and explorers, and pretended to be in action movies. We finished off the sessions with some stories around a fire – and after all, isn’t the greatest gift you can give your listening? We will have to wait and see whether their writing improves in the long term!
The natural musicians sessions were with KS1 children. These sessions were very much about play in the woods with drip fed mini activities to inspire the play. We went and found word sounds, sticks to bang tree stumps with, learnt hand clapping and body percussion rhythms and how to use found natural objects to write musical scores. It was great fun and we finished off with some music and stories around a fire.