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Erika, you're question is

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Erika, you're question is really a great one, in fact, no one has ever asked it. The "music technique" is original and based on my own experiences. When I came home from school, I put on music to kind of forget about the day, especially if it was not a good one. The music relaxed and helped me forget about things that happened, things that I didn't want to think about, but a funny thing happened. The events of the school day, good and bad, came back in mental image pictures, or mind-pictures, as I like to call them. The pictures in my mind triggered feelings and thoughts. Instead of fighting or trying to forget the day, the music became a peaceful way to look at myself and what happened in school. I tried out the music technique with my students: I played 10 minutes of music (all kinds, but mostly Top 40 sounds) and asked them to close their eyes and "contemplate or think carefully about what they were experiencing inside themselves. When the music ended, I asked them to take a minute of "think time" to recall and reflect on what just happened and then write about it. I read their writings or "contemplations" out loud (no names were mentioned) in a discussion period that followed and asked them questions about their writings. We all learned something about how we experienced the world inside and outside by exchanging or talking about our experiences.

I am a student, and I am want

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I am a student, and I am want to know in what method "music technique" is based on. Please.

Hi Laura, Thanks very much

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Hi Laura,

Thanks very much for your kind comment. It is greatly appreciated.

First, I like the fact that you use instrumentals for visualization--ain't nothing wrong with that. What instrumentals do you use for these periods? I might ask the kids to bring in music that they enjoy, and then you can check them out, see which you think are appropriate, and then, experiment with the different songs.

I did work with 2nd grade children, above to below average, in inner-city schools (NYCDOE). The students wrote amazing fantasies, just totally surreal imagery that they visualized while listening to ten minutes of music, from Top 40/popular to rock and classical.

The visual that comes immediately to mind is: "pizza pies taking over the world," and one student writing starting with, "I'm Doctor Madness." There's a lot more...

The lower grade children wrote mostly stories and fantasies, as opposed to upper grade students, who wrote more about everyday life, hassles with other kids, and personal/family conflicts (they also got into fantasies like the little ones).

I developed an entire curriculum for fiction/creative writing based on my experiences with the second graders. And as you well know, they are really open to their imaginations (school hasn't shut them down yet) and the musings that go inside. So you should get some phenomenal mind-pictures desrcibed in their writings, and also, ask the kids to draw (crayons, pencil, pen) what they visualized. Let them come up to the front of the room and talk about what and HOW they visualized the various mind-pictures, as well as the feelings and thoughts they triggered in their minds and imaginations.

As a discussion leader, your questions will probe and expand their writings: imagery, thoughts, feelings, and experiences. And talk about the visualization process, the ways different students picture things in their minds: HOW they do it.

I talk about an inner, third, or mind's eye that views the pictures on an imaginary TV or movie screen in the mind's magic theater.

You can check out my website, www.JeffreyPflaum.com, for articles on "Contemplation Writing" and "Here and Now: Nine Meditative Writing Ideas, sample student contemplations (sorry, only fifth and sixth grade kids), themes culled from their contemplation writings, and a whole lot of other stuff.

You can contact me for more information through the website (it's only a basic site, nothing fancy). You can also check out a local newspaper article, "Bayside man uses melody to move minds in classroom," by Phil Corso in the TIMES LEDGER/Bayside Times (Google it and you will call it up).

I am also a BAM Street Journal Blogger on the BAM Radio Network (www.bamradionetwork.com), with numerous posts and articles on "Contemplation Writing."

Finally, you should try to contact Betsy Rose (Betsy Rose Music, also on the internet), who is a very talented singer, song writer, and musician/guitarist, that goes into the schools and works with your age group, singing songs with them and trying to tap into their inner experiences. Contact Betsy and explain that I recommended her. She can be very helpful, more than me, in what you are looking for.

I hope this has been helpful, and please don't hesitate to contact me for more information about my "Contemplation Music Writing Project." I'll be glad to help.

With kind regards,

Jeffrey Pflaum

Editorial Consultant, Edutopia

Laura Jane, for children of

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Laura Jane, for children of that age, I'd recommend music by The Sippy Cups (http://www.thesippycups.com), kid-friendly songs by adults who know how to tap into young imaginations. (Full disclosure: these people are my friends, but I'd recommend their music even if I didn't know them.)

Any suggestions for music

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Any suggestions for music with lyrics that would be appropriate to use with second graders for visualizing?

I use music everyday in my classroom, but mostly instrumentals.

I love your articles!

MUSIC WRITING

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Hi Stephanie,

Thanks very much for your comment.

The "Counting Technique" came from one of my students who told me his brother's middle school teacher used it as a "calming" activity. When I tried the activity, I had to work hard not to get lost in the side-trips or detours that took me away from the numbers. But isn't this what the basic meditation exercises are about: to keep focus, for example, on the breath, and if you get distracted from it, just gently bring your mind back to your breath? Same thing with "counting": if you lose track of the numbers, find your way back to the last number and continue counting. I added the writing part because I wanted to know what's happening inside, and found that almost anything can happen, and also, wanted to improve their self-expression.

I can be specific about what I have done with the counting and music techniques because the project began in the 70's and continued through the 90's and into the 2000's with kids in grades 4 through 6. I have taken it to the 2nd grade as well, although with different results compared to the upper grades. The younger kids liked drawing pictures of their experiences along with their writing.

If you want more information about the projects/curricula that came out of "Music Writing," go to my web site at JeffreyPflaum.webs.com where you will find an article titled "Here and Now: Nine Meditative Writing Ideas" (Teachers & Writers Magazine), which are a bunch of quirky, absurd exercises you can try with your kids. Check that out when you have a chance.

I am currently a BAM! Street Journal Blogger at the BAM Radio Network where I have posted more information on "Contemplation/Music Writing," Emotional Intelligence, character education, and values clarification (go to www.bamradionetwork.com under "blog" and my name for the various posts).

Thanks again for your comment. It is very much appreciated.

Best regards,

Jeffrey Pflaum

Biligual PK-6 Teacher

Thanks for being specific!

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Jeffrey, this is the first thing ever posted on Edutopia I will save and use. Thanks for taking the time to write a description and rationale that will help others try the writing activity that evolved from listening for relaxation.
The student writing excerpts you chose convinced me that counting backward from 50 is worth a try.

MUSIC WRITING

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Dear Nini,

Thanks for your generous comment, and yes, it's all about relevance, and I'm sure the education leadership will realize that one day soon and opt out of their test-obsession and find out what's most relevant, like motivation, self-, inner-, or intrinsic motivation, however you may want to call it. When things become relevant to the children's worlds, both outside and inside, that is when they will create "Kids' Own Wisdom."

Best,

Jeffrey

Founder-Developer of Kids' Own Wisdom.

In real estate, one word:

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In real estate, one word: Location, location, location.

In education, one word: Relevance, relevance, relevance. You bring honor and inspiration to your profession.

MUSIC WRITING

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Oops! Check that, Dan, I just saw the book, LOCOMOTION, by Woodson. I was not familiar with it.
~Jeff Pflaum

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