Water play – it conjures up visions of children scooping and pouring, floating things and sinking them, measuring and washing and splashing and laughing. Huge fun, and there are a thousand things to be learned at the water trough. But water play … and music? It doesn’t seem like a natural combination but it’s amazing what you can do with a few household items, some stuff from your garden shed and a water play trough!
My first exposure to water and music wasn’t working in child care – it was watching the great percussionist Trilok Gurtu dipping gongs, bells, cymbals and sea-shell rattles into a bucket of water during a John McLaughlin Trio concert many years ago. The unearthly tones he produced delighted me – shimmering waves of ever-changing tones that swooped up and down in pitch.
I have a very broad definition of music. To me, music is sound organised in time. All sounds can be music, and with water play we can explore:
- timbre (tone)
These are the building blocks of all music, and water offers a unique playground for exploring them. It also offers a fantastic way to explore the science of sound in a way that is meaningful and understandable for young children.
We aren’t going to be creating songs (although singing may happen); we aren’t going to be creating performances (although that may happen too). Instead this is about exploration and learning through the joy of free play. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be wet and it’s going to be fun. Get your water play clothes on (budgie smugglers optional) and let’s get playing!