This week has felt a little like the moment the trapeze artist lets go one swing but has not caught the other and has to trust in the momentum that they have created. The moments of moving into a space of improvisation with full concentration and focus on the task seem to bring life to the group. Trying to establish a structure which is free enough to allow creative sharing, whatever group it is in, seems to be our task at the moment. Singing “Twinkle twinkle little star"...a song that the teachers regularly sing, we introduce dynamics to the music, taking away the feeling of rote learning from it. As each teacher leads us in tempo and it slows us down to a point of nearly stopping and everybody really has to focus on the leader, the pause and anxiety brings us all together for one of those magical musical moments.
Somesh came up with a wonderful exercise which brought enthusiasm and creativity to the group - although simple it captured the imagination of the children as we danced with our hands in the air. I asked him later if he had done it before, and to both our surprises he said no. We wondered where it had come from!
As we struggled to engage some of the children with very high energy levels i was reminded of a poster in the Arms centre entrance/office which read.
“ When i asked god for strength
He gave me difficult situations to face”
by Swami Vivekanada
One particular child there had certainly focussed our attentions as he found it very difficult to engage, often disrupting or leaving the group and could not share the instruments. This week however we were able to create a safe space where we could calmly ask him why he found it so difficult to share. He could not answer, but he certainly listened attentively to the question. In the next session after about 20 minutes we arrived at the same position when it was time to hand the drum round. With gentle support from the teachers he was able to share the instrument with one child.
In our last week we will hand over to the teachers to run the sessions while we observe. This is of course and anxious time but also very interesting and potentially rewarding as we begin to prepare to leave for home allowing them to carry on the work.
Alastair & Somesh