Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Making Music Live: A Guide to Weaving Music into Faith Development Programs

Isolation exercises

Find any excuse to get children up and moving, particularly with songs. Then bring in the emotions. Have them sing a song like "Simple Gifts" or "Morning Has Broken" while walking around the room showing sadness in their bodies as they sing. The songs will sound sad simply because their motions—and emotions—reflect sadness. Have them sing a song like "This Little Light" while walking around, showing joy in their bodies. You can also do a seated version of the song, during which the children simply show the emotions in their faces (more on this later). The group will discover the huge connection between their emotions and their singing and dancing. Everything we do is shaped by our emotions.

Once the children are accustomed to showing emotions in their faces and bodies, have them sing a sad song while walking with great joy, and then sing a happy song while walking with sadness. The technical term for this activity is isolation exercises. It is a fun and challenging way for children to disconnect their physical selves from their emotional selves. It is simply the next step in letting them find the emotional core of what they do. Try isolation exercises with other emotions, like anger, and laughter. Then return to the normal way of singing, using happy movement and faces with happy songs or sad faces and movement with sad songs. Have children play with the emotions, and allow them to be truly expressive, truly alive. Let their light shine.