Music and Dramatic Play
By Beth Wise, Music Specialist and Head Teacher
Re-enacting stories through music and dramatic play is an engaging way to include many children and promote collaboration. The children participate by
• acting out roles
• collaborating with peers
• creating and negotiating the script
• making props
• playing musical instruments
In an adaptation of “The Three Little Pigs”: The children tried multiple roles; they acted and sang, moved about in space and interacted creatively and positively with their classmates.
Each child was given a guiro [a percussion instrument of Latin-American origin made of a serrated gourd and played by scraping a stick along its surface] and we discussed using the instrument in three different ways: tapping like a hammer, scraping across the grooves like a saw, and placing the mallet in the center and stirring it around like mixing cement. Then we listened to the sounds.
I explained that each time we would need to build a new house for one of the pigs, we would sing our song and use our instruments to help us build the house.
To the music of “The Carpenters,” a Puerto Rican folk song, we began moving throughout the yard to construct our houses.
“The carpenters are working, sawing the lumber,
We love to watch them working, sawing the lumber,
They go see, we go saw,
They go see, we go saw,
Until we’ve sawed the lumber,
Finished at last!”
When a house was finished, the infamous wolf appeared!
Children in this age group typically want to act out a singular role. But it is important to include everyone. With this in mind, we had 10 pigs and 10 wolves to begin our game. Using the traditional words from the story, the children became skilled at voicing their parts and moving through the yard to find a new location to build each new house.
The final house of bricks was built in the red house on the hill. All the children sang together inside and the children outside peered in.
To make sure that everyone felt included and part of the collaboration,
I redesigned the ending of the game. I asked the wolves if they were trying to blow the house down because they needed a strong, solid house of their own. Without needing a cue, all “wolves” responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!”
I pointed out that we had sturdy carpentry tools and could build a house for them, and the wolves said that they would love a house of their own.
With everyone gathering around the wolves, we sang our folk song, built a house for them and filled it with furniture, gifts and a cake. All together, we concluded our musical game with a feast and a party, which promoted a sense of camaraderie and play.