“Hi Kids, Check out what I brought for you today!” (Taking the Didg out of its case with a wide grin), “It’s a very, very special musical instrument that comes from a far, far away country called Australia; its name is funny got a funny name, it’s called “Didgeridoo”, or you can use the short version “Didg”.
Try and say “D–idg” (They try and laugh), “Oh! And look! It also has a unique and funny sound coming out of it” (Playing short tunes and long ones with effects and the kids are amazed – and then they laugh again) – “Do you know you can actually feel this sound in your body? Come! Lie on the floor everyone, close your eyes and you might just feel it…” This is how I present the Didgeridoo to a group of amazing autistic kids ages of 3-4 in Tel-Aviv.
During the last year, I turned into a kindergarten music teacher. I truly had no experience, or any certificate; however, my great love of children and my resume as a music student – singing and playing different instruments (Guitar, clarinet and Didgeridoo for the past 7 years) – were just the right credentials I needed.
I was first introduced to the Didgeridoo in 2009 while checking out a local band playing a gig near the sea. Throughout the whole show, I was mesmerized by the sounds coming from the talented Didge player Ofer Tzvi (Onongana, Tribal Dance). This was a once in a lifetime experience. I found myself glued to the speakers, I closed my eyes and gave in to the sounds, frequencies, vibes and tunes. I experienced every second and every breath of overtone through my body. Went back home that day, fully determined to know this instrument and master it – and that’s when I began my long-lasting romance with the Didg.
I started to play, and ever since, I’ve had the chance to play with different bands and dancers, to build my own instrument, to play for adults, for kids and even to teach! During the last year, I started my new job at the kindergarten. I was playing for almost 10 different kindergartens, and then I asked myself, “Would you play for kids with ODD?” Honestly, I had some reservations – I had my fears.
They are very delicate children and I just didn’t know the rules. What is acceptable? What isn’t? When to lean in? When to step back? I had no experience, but I wanted to follow my heart and believe that I could do this. First, I did some research regarding working with different types of children – I was very curious to find out how they would react to these unconventional tones. I was wondering whether they would be afraid of it?
I created and initial lesson plan: My goal was to recreate for them my personal experience of when I heard a Didg for the first time. I must admit – The beginning was challenging – the sight of the Didg was intimidating and this kids were shocked at first, but when I started playing they got very excited, absorbing so much new information, so many new sounds and vibes. You could see that the excitement from the sounds was fun and playful for them.
When I asked the kids to lay on the floor and feel the sound, you could see that the more I play “on them” their bodies started to relax and they were “diving” into their inner world. You could actually see their faces changing shape while becoming peaceful and serene. The frequencies highlighted the edges of their bodies, and the Didg’s monotony brought silence to their noisy inner world.
For me this was a powerful experience; I remembered how I fell in love with Didgeridoos, I truly felt the excitement of hearing it’s magic sound for the first time while enjoying its ability to go “beneath the skin” and make our senses vibrate. Later on, I tried this lesson in different types of kindergartens. I had a wide range of reactions: Most of the kids enjoyed it, some recoil, and some even fell asleep while I was playing. I found out that from all the different type of kids I played for, the autistic group were more accepting of the “One tone” world as they welcomed it with open arms and love.
Thank you, little ones, for letting me have the privilege of getting you excited!