Monday, January 21, 2013

The Nields project

Lucy has a new love.
Almost from day one, she has disliked it when we sing, or when we listen to CDs.  Early on, she took a music class with Katryna and Nerissa Nields, and she enjoyed it.  But she's a talker.  And if we sing--or listen to music--we're not available for conversation.  No good.  So she'd usually ask us to stop, or turn it off, or she'd just talk right over the music.

But we love music.  So we kept on trying.  And for some reason, seeing the Nields at First Night this year flipped a switch.
Three weeks later, she's still singing all the songs they sang that night.  And asking us, again and again and again to talk about when Katryna fell asleep.  (You know the song "Mama's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow?" When they sang about getting sleepy on the way home, Katryna yawned, sang slower and slower, sat, lay down, and eventually snored.)   "I can't stop talking about that snoring part!  I have to laugh every time we talk about it; I can't stop."

That part had made a huge impression.  So had the motions that Katryna used while they sang.  She loved the flailing hands for "in cases of emergency," and from that, was able to remember the whole song:
She was so interested, I pulled out the Nields' CDs which have been gathering dust for a while as she's been uninterested. Suddenly, we're all singing the songs together with joy (oh, what joy!).

One song on a CD got her wondering.  What does "Mango Walk" mean?  I remembered that they had explained it in their book, so I pulled it out.   Now she had a new avenue for her Nields' research.  "I can't stop looking at the photo in the Singing in the Kitchen book."  She turned the book back and lay it on her pillow, photo up, to study before going to sleep at night.  We could hear her after lights out, reciting to herself "Katryna and Nerissa.  Katryna and Nerissa."  She flipped through the book, studying each of Katryna's little sketches, matching each one to a person, or a song.

It seemed to give her an idea.  Maybe she could draw them, too.  Yesterday, she emerged from the studio with a drawing of two faces on an index card.  "It's Katryna and Nerissa."  Then she left and came back with another drawing: "it's the train song!  That's the chain, and that's the train, and those are the people inside, and that's a singer." 

 I asked if she might like to draw some of their other songs.  She loved the idea!  She ran back and forth, showing us each as she finished.  I wondered if she might like to put them into a book.  YES!

She decided her book should have only songs they sang at First Night.  After she drew them, we discussed what lyrics should be added, and I took her dictation for those and for a title.  She found an illustration of a singer on stage, and was inspired to cut it out and add it to her cover.

I loved her little book so much, I wanted to share it with Katryna (who'd once been a parent in my classroom).  So we made a copy, added a letter, and it's in the mail.  (Lucy's quotations here are from her letter.)

Today, she played guitar (being Nerissa) and directed me to be Katryna, and we sang and bantered back and forth as they do.  "I like to play Katryna and Nerissa."  Later, we took a walk around the block, and the whole way, she kept us in persona, asking me to tell stories with her that we "remembered" from when we were girls.  ("Katryna, remember when you were sick, and you threw up...?")

I'm loving this project of hers, and can't wait to see where it takes us next.


Lori said...

love seeing this and i love her drawings! thank you so much for sharing.

Julie said...

Love the "throwing up" part!

Jacqueline Sears said...

This is such a sweet little project. It's also so helpful to see the products of projects. We're just starting out this year and I feel Roscoe has been involved in "projects" spanning a few years now, but I'm so looking forward to documenting his effort, so I can really SEE it and so he can see it and so we can share it as you have.

Lise said...

Jacqueline, thanks for your comments! I haven't blogged in forever, and it was such a lovely surprise to peek back in today and discover your comments here. I'm looking forward to checking our what you document, too!

Thanks for making my day. :-)