This is my favourite scene from the video “STOMP: Out Loud.”
Each year I show the video to my grade 6 classes and have them create their own performance. I find the students love the complicated rhythms, funny “scenes” and wide variety of “instruments”.
I begin by explaining that STOMP is a group of musicians and dancers who create music using everyday objects. Then we watch the video, which I purchased many years ago when I created the project.
While they watch, I have them document as many “instruments” as they can and I leave them with the question “Why do the performers need to trust each other?”
Often students find themselves tapping along with the video & joining in with the audience portion at the end. They always have insightful answers about the trust question as well.
Next comes the fun (and very noisy) part! I have the students get into groups and create their own STOMP-inspired scenes:
I do not allow students to use anything that belongs to the school. (It is amazing how quickly the class garbage bin gets dented!) And I remind them that before they bring things from home they must have their parents’ permission. I bring the contents of my recycling bin from home, just in case students forget to bring something – and I remind them that they can always use body percussion. I have had a wide variety of objects arrive in my room: plastic containers, cutlery, hockey sticks, soccer balls, pots, pans, tap shoes, and even a giant prop fork!
I find the students need about three to four 45 minute classes to have a piece ready to perform for the class. I spend time with each group coaching them through the creative process. Some groups need help starting, others get stuck on only one rhythmic idea, some focus too much on the “scene” and not enough on the sound, and some require assistance in mediation.
I always record the groups on performance day. The next class is spent watching the performances so the students can do a self/group assessment. It is fun to hear a student, after watching herself, say, “That sounded better than I thought it would!”