By Kerry Lee, Kimberton, Pennsylvania
I had the honor of being part of the LifeWays training in the Kimberton, PA area, with 24 enthusiastic students. LifeWays is a training that offers an alternative to pre-school teaching, creating a home setting instead of a school setting for the preschool child. Founder Cynthia Aldinger is enthusiastic about including “Uncovering the Voice” and “Mood of the Fifth” as part of the musical training for the students.
We met five different times in the year ranging from one to two weeks. Music was a part of every session but one. In the “Uncovering of the Voice” sessions, I introduced exercises including all parts of the body, from the head to the feet. We also sang lovely songs in unison and in parts, did rhythms with our hands and feet, along with circle action games and more. When I asked how the singing exercises had helped them, a number of students commented on how it helped to raise their voice to a higher level, and how the exercises “loosened” their voices to be able to sing better. I was able to work individually with those who had difficulty with pitch and singing “on key.”
We used the pentatonic lyre as instrument of choice for “Mood of the Fifth” songs and games. We learned how to play and tune the lyre and how to write songs, and we discovered the mystery behind the “mood of the fifth.” Each participant had to write her own song by the end of the course. Together they prepared end-of-session celebrations for the children and their families, and they always included the lyre as part of each celebration, usually as the children walked in to sit down or during the puppet show.
The students were a joy to work with, and it was a great preparation for my trip to China, where I taught similar things in November of 2015!