Many a SONG rehearsal starts with this simple question:
“what colour are you today?”
In school our students learn about the zones of regulation, which allow them to express and understand their emotions in a clear and simple way. We’ve adapted this system for SONG using coloured plates and clothespins as our tools. When a student joins SONG they get to write their name on their own clothespin, which they will be invited to clip on a coloured plate each time they enter our rehearsal space.
A clothespin clipped on the BLUE plate means you are feeling sad, tired, sick, or otherwise low energy.
A clothespin clipped on the YELLOW plate means you are feeling excited, anxious, fidgety, nervous, or otherwise high energy.
A clothespin clipped on the GREEN plate means you are feeling happy, focused, ready to learn, and generally in a great headspace for SONG.
A clothespin clipped on a RED plate means you are feeling angry or out of control in some way and you would like to go home. We make sure our students know that this is NOT a punishment, and their parents are notified that the child has made a responsible decision in asking to go home. We want our students to feel safe to admit when they are not in control of their bodies or feelings so that our classroom can be a safe and welcoming space for everyone.
The conversation these plates can spark usually takes 5-10 minutes at the beginning of rehearsal, and has changed the dynamic of our groups. Our students are supportive of one another on blue days, and they ask lots of questions about the things that have made their friends feel super green. On days when most of the students identify as feeling yellow, we adapt our activities to work with a high energy group. And when a student identifies as red, we have a conversation about how important it is to recognize when your feelings overwhelm you. The individual who is struggling that day is allowed to go home without any shame, and the rest of the group can share a rehearsal without disruption.
At the heart of every SONG rehearsal is our mission, social development through the pursuit of musical excellence. We value social growth and community above all else, and we use music as a tool to get there. By talking openly about our “colours,” all the students, teachers and volunteers in SONG learn that whatever you are feeling on a given day is normal and okay to talk about. We also learn that our community is there to support us, no matter what.
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