Many singers and musicians have kept themselves and their fans entertained with online concerts throughout the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. And students from Carlyle Elementary School in Montreal, Canada have joined in with a performance of their Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition song The World Needs Us, via Zoom.
The students had already composed and performed the song in school earlier in the year, but their music teacher Christine Rahal-Crawford promised that they were going to create a video too.
So, while the school was closed in June, she organized a Zoom session for teachers and students to sing the song from home. Students were also invited to record individual performances of themselves and send in their videos.
Making a video has been a way of keeping a sense of togetherness during lockdown. “Students were excited to perform the song again. It was a great opportunity to be united and be with all their teachers and friends. Even though singing on Zoom is quite challenging with the video delays, the students had fun and were happy to perform their song again in harmony”, says Rahal-Crawford.
The song was a culmination of their PYP exhibition project, Our Planet is Changing, Why Aren’t We?, under the transdisciplinary theme Sharing the Planet. Before lockdown, students explored various music and songs that talk about the world, animals in danger of extinction, natural disasters and climate change. They took part in active class discussions and brainstormed ideas for the lyrics in small groups.
“With all the knowledge acquired on climate change, the students took this matter very seriously”, adds Rahal-Crawford. “They wanted to be honest and tell the truth, and to mention how humanity has taken this earth for granted. They wanted to solicit change and responsibility for all. The world needs us to take care of the planet and everyone must do their part”.
“They realized what an important song they had written and it gave them much pride, hope and confidence”.
Once the lyrics were chosen, students worked in small groups with the instruments of their choice and created melodies and rhythms for the song. The groups were videotaped to keep a record. Different classes also listened to what other classes had done and students made a choice and voted on which melody and rhythm should be used.
“Not only does creating a song reinforce the knowledge the students have acquired on a specific subject, it is also a means of communication, reflecting and consolidating. A musical performance can be a very powerful tool to communicate a message”, she says.
Performing it during lockdown gave it even more significance. “The students mentioned that with the pandemic circumstances, the song was even more powerful and meaningful to them. They realized what an important song they had written and it gave them much pride, hope and confidence. It was a wonderful way to close their final elementary year”.
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