As any practiced performer knows, performing in a small ensemble, like a duet, can often require more concentration than performing in a larger ensemble. In a duet, you have to be completely aligned with the other musician – you have to listen to and hear what they’re doing, but you also have to anticipate their next moves. But when small groups of musicians are aligned, it can be magical. As if two performers become one.
Young performers can benefit from activities that help them hone some of the skills required for ensemble playing – skills like listening closely to others and working together collaboratively. These fun activities give students the chance to work on some of these skills in non-musical ways.
React and Response Partner Activity
You too can create art as a duet, reacting to your partners artistic cues. This synchronized drawing activity is a great way for kids to slow down and really pay attention and follow along with their partner.
You can work on the effective communication skills needed to play duets without ever having to pick up an instrument! Try out this fun blindfolded cooperative obstacle course to encourage communication between your children.
- Designate one child as the leader to start. You can either set-up the obstacle course yourself and then guide the leader through it before they begin or have your child set up the course themselves.
- They must then lead a partner who is blindfolded through the obstacle course using clearly communicated directions. Younger children can hold the hand of their partner and older children can be encouraged to be entirely hands-off.
- Going Further: Kids can take turns being the leader or the follower, change up the course, time it to see how fast they can get through, and more.
Cooperation STEM Activity
We love this marshmallow tower challenge to encourage children to explore creativity and cooperation with a basis in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. Adults, watch this interesting TED talk about what we can learn from this challenge about working as a team.
Provide your children with the following supplies and ask them to build the tallest free-standing tower they can. The marshmallow has to be on the very top of the tower, they can use ONLY the supplies given, and they have 15 minutes to make their free-standing structure. Supplies needed: