Teaching Indian Classical Music to Children through Games

To motivate children we can use methods based on games.

Introduction of Swaras

(Swaras – notes in Indian Music)

– Today we have some very important guests, who will become our best friends. If we play with them and look after them everyday, they will help us in or lives, make us healthy and happy.

We can have paper models for them, e.g:

model model S

– They will become our friends if only we call them correctly, the first one is called “Sa” (S), then “Re”(R)… Ga(G)… Ma(M)…Pa(P)…Dha(D)… Ni (N)…

We can ask children to feel them on their finger tips or inside their body, in chakras, remembering that each note corresponds to a chakra. S – Muladhara, etc.

Exercises

Level 1

1. The teacher shows a picture of a swara, children sing it.

2. Game ”Train”. Children sing in a chain. (S1 = Student 1)

a) S1 – S, S2 – R, S3 – G, etc.

b) S1 – SR, S2 – GM, S3 – PD, etc.

c) S1- SRGMPDNS, S2 – SNDPMGRS, etc.

3. It is difficult for children to sit still all the time, so we can use movement in teaching swaras:

e.g. Bend right – sing S.

Stand straight – R.

Bend left – G.

Hands up – G, etc.

4. One funny game (though can be a little bit confusing in the beginning)
The students sit in a chain. The teacher sings e.g. “S,R” to the first student, this student repeats and sings it to the person next to him, etc. But the teacher at the same time sings another combination to the first student. Thus, at the same time the group sings different combinations.

5. Games with a ball.

a) The teacher throws a ball to a student and sings a note, the student repeats it and throws to another one or throws back.

b) The teacher throws a ball and sings one note, a student sings the note that comes after it or before.

6. Alankaras (combinations of notes). To teach alankaras we can use our toy models for the children to remember better. The teacher puts on the board the models of swaras in order of singing.

e.g:

a) SR,RG,GM,MP,PD,DN,NS
b) SG,RM,GP,MD,PN,DS

7. Take three notes and play with them:

a) Children close their eyes, the teacher plays the note, they guess which one it is.
b) The teacher plays e.g. S,R,G – they should sing swaras (sargam).

c) They can do it in pairs. One sings akar (singing swaras with sound a), another guesses the swaras and sings sargam.

Exercises

Level 2

(Children are already confident in swaras)

1. Game ”Repeat if it’s correct”. The teacher sings different notes to the students, they should repeat only e.g flat ones.

2. Students can make exercises for each other.

a) They write combinations of notes to sing for each other on a card. Then they work in pairs, showing the card to the partner and singing the notes.

b) Another option – they go around the classroom, show their card to different partners and sing for each other. This method is called “Mill Drill”.

3. The teacher says a combination of swaras, the children sing it.

4. At a more advanced level, when we study some raga, we can sing alap (combination of notes with akar) in turns. The teacher points at a student, he starts singing, then another one should continue, making up his own alap in the same raga, etc.

Sent by Alima Kovaleva, Russia

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