Dave ‘Stickman’ Higgins and recently Rikki Thomas Martinez have executed Rhythm and Rhyme projects at Sure Start venues around North West Leicestershire.
Rikki and Dave have worked together in the past and both artists have developed a strong synergy and instinctive balance and improvised motivation. ‘We are able to instantly inspire each other with a strong sense of musical exchange. The music and song becomes a ‘strong emotional flow’, and is all orginal material that is generated out of these sessions.’ Some of the activities executed at these Rhythm and Rhyme sessions create inspirational language from both parents and children. The aim is to strengthen knowledge, vocabulary and communication skills plus to develop a parent/child bond through creative play.
Below are a couple of case studies that Dave has generated through his study of this programme:
Sophie is 2 years old and it’s her second phase experience in the Rhythm and Rhyme sessions. Her mother has noticed and experienced marked changes with her daughter in her behaviour and outlook during creative play. She believes and feels that Sophie has benefitted from the sessions in many ways. Sophie has developed her imagination and has grown in confidence in terms of her actions and speech. She is developing the ability to speak in full sentences and has improved on her phrasing of words. Plus, her attention span has definitely improved.
Katie’s mother said that since the last session Katie has developed her language skills more than ever. She is starting to pronounce and sing words she has learnt in the sessions at home. She has also started to play instruments at home and this has encouraged her father to communicate in a fun and playful way thus strengthening their father/daughter bond. Katie’s mother believes the sessions have been a toolkit of ideas and techniques that will allow her to improve the relationship she has with her child. She also said that she has learnt how to play and have fun with her little girl and has inspired her to do many more things, such as outings and ‘trying something new’.
Dave explains a typical session activity ‘”They are greeted by live music and are encouraged to play with the resources provided at that session. The parents then gather on the floor and begin to discuss between themselves the past weeks experience, helping them to forge friendships. Often we share this experience as a whole group and I ask ‘ what is your favourite colour’ or ‘what did you eat for breakfast’. These focus exercises encourage the group to share and communicate without having to reveal their personal self. We then move into Phonic Spheres. We use spheres and roll them betweeen our hands whilst raising, lowering and dancing. Music is provided by Rikki and is gauged on the energy and mood of the group. We then create words to chant to in a rhythmical way. Every week the ritual is repeated but is always different and relevant to the feel of the group. In this exercise we include everyones name, what they have been doing and what they have said.
The mothers can see that we are spontaneously creating songs in the moment and it gives them confidence and opportunity to learn to sing to their children in an accessible, fun and personal way. This is what we call bespoke song play.”
For more information on the Rhythm and Rhyme programme please drop us a line. Head to our Contact Us page for details on how to do this.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of our Rhythm and Rhyme participants.