Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Now that we are in the New Year, it is time to begin afresh, and make some magical moments with those wonderful props you have from Bear Paw Creek. But, have you noticed there aren’t a lot of resources out there for church choral directors to draw upon when searching for music and movement activities?  

I did notice the lack of resources, and certainly very few mentions of activities for more mature adults as well. So I set out to create some new activities and share some resources with you Bear Paw Creek fans and church choir directors to maximize the props you have.

If you do not yet have the budget to purchase the high quality props the BPC has to offer, then I will give you some alternative ideas for until your funding comes through. In addition, if you are like Janet and I and enjoy being makers, I am providing ideas, instructions and resources for you to make away!  

Stretchy Band

Stretchy Band in Choir Rehearsal with All Ages

Where is the magic? 

Where is the magic I mentioned?  To me, the magic rushes in in the moment when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir, wondering what I will suggest they do with the prop! Then, just as thrilling, seeing the concept I wanted to impart take hold so quickly because manipulating the prop engages those kinesthetic and tactile learners in my group.

 In this first of several blog posts on magical moments with music props in church choir rehearsal, I will provide you with activities using the stretchy band that will be just right for the church setting. There will be suggested church-appropriate activities for adults and children, recommendations on how to acquire a stretchy band for your rehearsal space on any budget and two ways to make your own stretchy band.

[Tweet “The magic rushes in when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir! “]

Stretchy Band Activities that are fun and engaging!

Adults and/or Children-

Breathing Technique- Everyone breathe with the following motions- step back on the inhale and forward on the exhale, but never fully collapsing their ribcage by moving all the way to the middle, this creates a visual for good breathing technique.

Musical Learning- Adults and children together or separate, work together to make the stretchy band into note shapes and dynamic markings, this helps them to team build and work together.

Musical Form- Analyze the form of a current anthem or hymn using teamwork, by making a triangle as group for the A section, circle for B, square for C and so on.

Children-                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song Movements- Use the band for movements to songs such as: Michael Row the Boat Ashore, My God is So Big, Father Abraham, Zaccheus or Deep and Wide.

Highlight Individual’s Movements- Sing songs that highlight individual’s actions, for the larger group to imitate such as Did You Ever See a Lassie or Walking, Walking.

Fisherman Song- Use the chorus of the tune Blow the Man Down to create fishermen lyrics such as: Gather the net and pull in some fish in yea hey, like Peter did

Preschoolers- Stretchy bands can work on fundamentals like: high and low, soft/loud, up/down, in/out, colors and shapes through movement and visuals.

Putting away the stretchy band: Teacher “How big is Jesus’s heart?” The children stretch the band back and say “Sooo big!  and release. Or simply have everyone pull back and have everyone let go simultaneously, either way leaving the band in a nice, easy to pick up pile, and it is fun!

Easy Stretchy Band Clean-up

TIP: Be open to participants contributing lyric, movement or song ideas, as they are often good ones. 

 

HOW TO GET A STRETCHY BAND:

  • Big budget: You can purchase a high-quality stretchy band right here on this site from Bear Paw Creek.
  • Small budget: I made a thick and hearty homemade band of my own design for less than $20 and about two hours of work several years ago and it is still holding up well! See below for directions.
  • Tiny budget: The blog Education in Our World has an entry with a very frugal way to create a thin stretchy band of flexible size.

 

Two ways to make your own stretchy band

  1. Thick and Hearty

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Fabric- colorful cotton/polyester blend or polyester cut lengthwise into 6 inch wide strips.
  • Fabric yardage- (using typical 44-45 inch width fabric) A few examples for stretchy bands intended for  different numbers of participants: 12 people= 1 ¼ yards, 20 people= 2 yards, 24 people= 2 1/3 yards. Formula for customization purposes can be found below.
  • 1 inch width elastic
  • Extra large safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
    STEPS:
  • Calculate size based on maximum number of children or adults times 1 foot, which will give you the amount of elastic. Then double that number, which should give you the total length of the fabric strips you will need.

o   Formula for elastic:  Number of People x 1 foot= Elastic Needed*.

o   Formula for number of fabric strips: Elastic Needed x 2= total length of fabric strips needed.

o   Formula for fabric yardage required: Total Length of Fabric Strips x 12 = total number of inches required. Inches required divided by the fabric width of 43= total put into calculator at Quilter’s Paradise: Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator.

  • Cut the fabric into 6 inch wide lengths down the longest way of the fabric until you have strips adding up to the total length you calculated in the first step.
  • Turn two fabric strips so the right sides are facing each other, then sew the short ends together, repeat until all the pieces are one very long strip.
  • Fold completed long piece in half the long way, right sides together and sew about 1/2 inch from the edge creating a very long tube.
  • Turn the tube right side out, you will need to use a very large safety pin stuck through one end to aid you in this process.
  • Now comes the challenge- threading 1 inch elastic with the big safety pin in the end through the entire length.
  • Finally, sew the two ends of the elastic, overlap by an inch and stitch in a box shape and then in and x over the center of the box. *If the elastic length you require can only be achieved by purchasing two packages of elastic, then you will use the above process to attach the two ends of elastic together to make a larger size.
  • Fold under unfinished edges and sew completed stretchy band closed.

TIPS:

  • Enlist the sewing skills of an adult choir member or a child chorister parent or grandparent.
  • Go big, you can always tie a knot in the finished stretchy band to shrink the size if necessary.
  • Always double stitch everything if you want it to last.
  • If you are savvy, you can make this style for about $15 in a large to extra-large size. Look in the clearance fabric for steep discounts.
  • If your band is one color or pattern, tie scarves or ribbons every 12 inches to the stretchy band in order to be able to call out choristers by color for activities
  1. Thin and Flexi

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 bag of nylon potholder loops

STEPS:

  • Can be found on the blog Education in Our World when you go to Mrs. Toben’s entry  “Games and Movement Band” where she explains how to make a thin, flexible band in five minutes for about $5 worth of spandex potholder loops.

TIPS:

  • You can easily adjust the size for each group
  • Create sections of a particular color so you can call colors being held for people to switch places etc.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to you in your upcoming rehearsals!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments below or you can email me at [email protected] Check out my next blog on Magical Moments for more activities.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She has a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory at Berkelee, 14 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

Shamrockin’ with Creative Movement Props for St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrockin’ with Movement Props

 

 

One of my favorite ways to incorporate music and movement into our days is by using holidays and the times of the year. 

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and I’m excited to share a song written by Rachel Rambach Listen & Learn Music!  It’s title says it all, “Shamrockin’ Song.”  It’s sure to do that and get stuck in your head!  My kiddos LOVED it (and so does their mom.)

We’ll be giving the song and balloon ball away this week!

Now I’ll share some ways we’ve been having fun with it.

Sharockin' Song and Shamrock Balloon Ball Giveaway

Shamrockin’ with the Stretchy Band

Sometimes when I hear a song, I know it will be a great one with the stretchy band and any time I hear Irish music, it gets my feet tapping, and I want to start dancing like Riverdance!  You’ll see our feet attempt to do an Irish jig in this video.  With lyrics like this: hey, hey, move left and right, up and down, it’s great to use with the stretchy band. If we had a little more I think  it would be fun to put the kids on the connect-a-stretchy band straight and have them dance in a jig line!

 

[Tweet “Shamrockin’ Song meets creative movement prop stretchy band.”]

Shamrockin’ Streamer Craft

Using scarves or streamers to move along with the Shamrockin’ Song would allow more individual interpretation of the song. 

We had fun cutting out these shamrocks and adding some “gold” for tails.  Glitter of course was a must!

Then we danced along with the song following the directions in the song.

Making shamrock streamers creative movement with shamrockin' song

Buy Rachel’s song and learn more about it!

Shamrockin' Song Listen and Learn Music Rachel Rambach

 

 

 

Check out the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Ball

St. Patrick's Day Balloon Ball

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Stretchy Bands

Singing for Autism Shares Stretchy Band Movement Guide

This post has been updated February 2, 2017

 

 

Back in 2012 I stumbled across a blog written at by Singing for Autism.  This website has since been taken down, so I am extra glad I shared what she wrote.  This was the first blog post I had found that someone wrote about Bear Paw Creek’s stretchy band.   

I was thrilled to see the picture (which is now gone)  and read her review. Hope it gives you some more ideas what you can do with your clients or kids with the stretchy band!

Here are some of the key points she shares below:

  • Beat Competency (micro/macro beats)
  • Spacial Awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Socialization
  • Circle Dances

Stretchy Band Inspiration for movement, spacial awareness, beat competency

Stretchy Band

This week I want to share different instruments and props that I feel are must haves in the music classroom! The first is the stretchy band, a fun prop that will get the students and adults in the classroom participating.

There are 4 different sizes:

Stretchy Band SIzes Rings

You can use the stretchy band with songs, chants, or recorded music. Everyone holds on, I encourage two hands, and bounces the stretchy band to the beat. I place the paraprofessionals either near students who need help keeping the beat or evenly around the circle. The wonderful thing about the stretchy band is that students are forced to keep the steady beat, since it is very hard to go against the direction the band is going. For example, holding it down when everyone is lifting it up takes a lot of energy!

For the microbeat, we simply bounce the band on our lap. I hold my hands farther apart on the band so that my hands don’t tap my lap, only the band does.

For the macrobeat, we do a variety of movements:

  • Lift up over your head for one beat and down to your lap (or the floor) for the next
  • Reach in the circle for one beat and back to your lap for the next
  • Pull back like you’re rowing a boat for one beat and back to your lap for the next
  • Reach in the circle for one beat and back like you’re rowing for the next

I often switch between microbeats and macrobeats for each repetition of the song/chant. That gives you 8 repetitions! Then, sometimes I’ll have the students move their chairs back for more tension and we’ll do it again – easily 8 more repetitions! The stretchy band is a great way to introduce a new song or chant and is great for developing beat competency and spatial awareness. It also encourages teamwork and socialization.

[Tweet “Stretchy Band is a great way to introduce a new song/chant and for developing beat competency, spatial awareness, teamwork, socialization.”]

Circle Dances

You can also use the stretchy band when practicing circle dances. Have the students hold the band as they walk around the circle. It gives a visual cue for the students as they walk around the circle. Also, you can play around with shapes for a great spacial awareness activity. Have some students walk in, others walk out, some hold it high, and some hold it low.

Stretchy Band and La Puerta Abierta preschool in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

I have both the medium and large stretchy bands and will be purchasing some personal ones this year so that I can work individually with the students. I use it with students of all ages. It is definitely a popular activity!

Click here to learn more about Bear Paw Creek’s stretchy bands.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Save

Save

Save

Stretchy Band Activities Round Up

Stretchy Band Activities Round Up

 

 

Every few months I like to do a search to see if anyone has written any new blog posts on using the stretchy band.

I am always excited to find one and also humbled. It’s a humbling thing to see something that you’ve created and sewn up, used by someone else.  It is usually used as a teaching tool and brings happiness and fun in the process.

This will be a round up of the posts I have found this year. Thank you to all that take the time to share so others can learn and be inspired!

The Many Names of the Stretchy Band

  • Rainbow Scrunchie
  • Mr. Stretchy
  • Rainbow Ring
  • Stretchy Band
  • Rainbow Elastic

Do you call it something different?  I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

On to the great round up!

[Tweet “Check out this round up of stretchy band blog posts from around the world!”]

Bumpin’ Down the Hill in My Little Red Sled by Toneworks Music Therapy

Sticky Bubblegum from Fairy Twins Book Time

From Magical Movement Company

  • Singing “The Old Grey Cat” song
  • Stepping to the Beat & Clapping Rhythms
  • “Bouncing” rhythm patterns with our “Giant Rainbow Elastic!”

Look what we can do with a giant rainbow elastic

Stretching Learning with Stretchy Bands by Sing Play Creatively

Using a Giant Scrunchie by Rhythm Express

Seven Jumps by Mrs. Miracle Music Room

Hope you enjoy this round up! If you have a blog or share things please comment or email Janet at [email protected]

Save

Save

Like to be featured on our blog?

BPC is Looking for Guest Bloggers

Save

Save

Save

Save

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

 

 

A few years ago we went with our neighbor’s to a local assisted living facility. Caroline’s Dad lives there, and they head over once a month with their guitar, banjo, voices and meet some friends to put on a show for the residents.

 

Some of our children were able to join in the band that night, while some of us joined the audience. Music is a universal connector of people, isn’t it?

 

One lady in particular could sing every song, and belt it out perfectly.  Yet – once the music stopped, it’s as if her brain froze. 

 

The power of music on the brain fascinates me. I am so glad there is more research being done and those of you that are working  to bring care and awareness.

 

This post will showcase some ways you can use the stretchy band in dementia care.

Music Stretchy Band Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band from Bear Paw Creek, is a staple in my bag of tricks! I love it because it can be used with all age groups to meet a variety of goals.  An indispensable feature is that it can be re-sized easily and immediately to fit the size of your groups.  One of my favorite places to use the Connect-a-Stretchy Band is with my groups who have dementia. I often walk into these facilities to find people sitting together in a room, but not interacting with each other.  They may be sleeping, watching t.v., confused, depressed or irritable.  The Connect-a-Stretchy Band is an invaluable tool to help clients who have difficulty socializing, become engaged and “connected” to others.

After a warm up period of singing familiar songs and perhaps, a Hello, song, I introduce the Connect-a-Stretchy Band.  While sitting in a circle with everyone holding it, I strum the autoharp to encourage gross motor movements – up & down, in & out, side to side.  We’ll move and sing to familiar songs like Edelweiss or Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  I also use recorded music so I can also participate and help guide movements.  People who are sleeping or perhaps confused, are automatically connected and supported by their neighbor’s movements. It’s not unusual to see clients wake up, begin smiling and singing. It’s important to remember to keep movements simple and take into account health issues that may impact their abilities such as arthritis. However, once they hear a favorite song or dance, you may find your clients moving to the beat in ways they haven’t in years.

Head on over to Rhythm Works Music Therapy and see the rest of Linda’s ideas (including some polkas!)

 

[Tweet “@RhythmWorksMT shares the way they use the stretchy band with dementia care.”]

Is Music the Key to Trigger Memories?

This beautiful article features the stretchy band in use at an amazing event in August 2016.  The workshop was created by Marigrace Becker of the Memory and Brain Wellness Center, part of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute. Its underlying purpose, she said, is to empower people living with memory loss and their care partners to become social activists in raising  in community awareness. 

Activities were designed for people of all ages and abilities. In a seated circle dance led by Susan Wickett-Ford of Silver Kite Community Arts, everyone held onto a stretchy band of rainbow-colored fabric, which they moved up and down and side to side to a classic Breton folk song. The circle’s members had to work together and rely on each other to maintain the dance.

Life with dementia_ Seniors expand children’s awarenessBrain wellness center creates workshop to enhance community understanding and empower people with memory loss

I agree wholeheartedly with Becker when she states: “Ultimately, I want to see more and more of these workshops happening all around the world, simultaneously,” Becker said. “The time has come to recognize that people living with memory loss can lead the way in building communities that are welcoming, understanding and accessible to all.”

Take a moment to see some clips from their day. Truly inspiring.

 

Movement, Dance, and Dementia Resource

From professional papers to advice and music resources, you may want to take a look at this “Movement, Dance and Dementia Resources” page. 

A few highlighted quotes from the article:

There is a growing recognition that exposure to the arts can help dementia sufferers to reconnect with themselves and even slow their rate of decline. Increasingly, music is helping doctors and carers reach those who have become stranded by this debilitating condition.

These 60-minute sessions reveal previously hidden aspects of the patients to their carers; likes and dislikes, talents and memories – it all helps piece together the jigsaw of an identity obscured by illness. “Perhaps that patient reveals a love for a film or a place, a time or an event; something that carers didn’t know about but can use in their communication with that patient, another way to connect with a seemingly closed personality. It’s a glimpse of the real person underneath,” said Meynell.

Some of the movement props suggested are: scarves, feathers, stretchy bands, parachutes, balloon, hats, and fans. 

I hope this post will encourage your engagement with sufferers of dementia.  I hope we can continue to integrate the aged with the young, we all benefit greatly from multi-generational activities.

Save

Learn about stretchy band sizes and options.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Save

There are no products
2019 BACK TO SCHOOL SALE: Aug 16-31 Get 10% off orders using code: 10for2019