Recyclables Orchestra

At a year old, my son would spend hours banging on anything he could get his hands on. A natural percussionist, his beats were rhythmic; strong. Nine years later, he is still doing it.

I used to think it was mindless tapping or drumming, but it is a stress reliever of sorts for him.  When my son is upset about something, he can usually be found tapping something.

The other day, after I reprimanded him, he walked around the yard, obviously upset and settled by the wading pool. He picked up an empty water bottle and proceeded to tap out a beat on the pool edge. Suddenly he was transformed, a smile in his face. His sister laughing at his antics, it was a heartwarming sight.

It reminded me of something I witnessed years ago in Central Park. A bunch of kids were fighting and in the process, knocked over a garbage can. They threw what fell out at each other. I remember gasping when one grabbed a pipe from amidst the debri but instead of throwing it, he banged it hard against a light pole. Once, twice, then with rhythm. Each kid grabbed something and before my eyes, organically, they began making music. What started out as a fight ended with music and laughter.

Because of this obvious positive effect, I asked a couple of friends to come join us in a little used park to take part in a Recyclables Orchestra. I have been saving water bottles, glass jars, plastic caps, etc ; indeed, anything that can be banged around. My goal is to have the kids make music- loud, obnoxious sounds- without fear of repercussion and to create a way to stress release in a fun, alternative way. Lets face it! Who couldn’t use a little of that nowadays? Maybe it will turn into something to do sometimes after a long day in school. With earplugs in hand, it will be interesting to find out.

Article By Nuria Almeida

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