1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Kindergarten presentation

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by was3funk, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. was3funk

    was3funk Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Anyone have any input or ideas for a bass guitar kindergarten presentation? I was asked to talk about what I do and present some music for the kids, about 20 minutes or so.

    I don't really do solo bass ala Wooten no fx or loopers, I'm a supporting bassist similiar to Jamerson, Dunn, Rainey and others.

    Does anyone have experience with this age group 5-6years old?

    Thanks very much!
  2. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    If it were me I would take an acoustic guitar along, too, and play and sing them a song it, and then show them how the bass is lower and different. Or maybe take some kind of recording with and without bass, preferably one that is very danceable. I think they will need some context in order to get the concept of a supporting instrument that is one piece in a larger sound. You will need to start off with an idea they know, like "music" or "guitar" and then modify it show the concept of bass.

    Also, if you can make the bass make either farting sounds or farm animal sounds, that would probably go over well.
  3. Do you sing? If so, you could always talk about how the bass helps to shape the sound of the music. You could sing (or have them sing) something like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and play different styles of basslines underneath.

    Or you could talk about opposites in music - play high, then low, fast, then slow, loud, then soft. There's a local music non-profit in Fort Worth that does educational presentations for schoolkids, and that's a big part (when they go to elementary schools).
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'd definitely say to play simple songs that they would know - +1 to twinkle twinkle, also the Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It.

    Kids love participation - let them try touching the bass, or hand out percussion, or at least have them clap along.

    They also love playing with the sound - loud and soft, fast and slow, high and low.

    I actually also like senp5f's idea of bringing a guitar for comparison - and maybe a uke or mandolin or something too, if you have them! Again, big and little make an impression on kids and you can help them learn a little about instruments by showing how little instruments play high and big ones play low. But keep it super-simple.
  5. Babaghanoush


    Jan 21, 2011
    Ohio, USA
    My advice...

    Shoot for more like 10-15 mins max and keep an extremely fast pace.

    Play often but not for too long. They want to hear the bass more than you. :)

    Walk around when you are talking to allow the students to get a close look at the bass.

    Have twice as much material prepared as necessary... It's amazing how fast you can go through your presentation especially with very young students.

    Have fun. It will be over in a flash. :)
  6. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Short attention spans. I think you have been asked to do something that is not going to work. Twenty minutes -- good luck.
  7. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    At this age they will have short attention spans and I doubt you can fill twenty minutes beyond signing some song.

    Sounds like a show and tell session is in order. I'd talk to the teacher and get some input.

    Good luck.
  8. was3funk

    was3funk Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Thank you all for your input! I don't sing but I like the idea of an accompanying instrument or track I can play along with. I agree that hands on would be good, I have a Mikro bass I can bring along. The short attention span I'm going to think about. I may want to give them something to do like a coloring page. If you have any other ideas please share. Thanks!
  9. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    I've given a few grade school music presentations, and my general feeling is that you can never be too simple. About two years ago, some of my colleagues and I took some taiko to a nearby elementary school to present to a group of third graders. We did a short performance at the beginning to get their attention, then talked about Japan and gave the kids some vocabulary, followed by giving the kids strips of paper to color their own hachimaki so that they would have a souvenir for the day. After all of that, we had them take turns (Sharing is caring!) playing the drums, and ended the presentation by asking them questions on stuff we had gone over. Keep it way way way way simple. The teacher criticized my group for not getting around the room enough and keeping the energy going. When they had finished coloring, we should have had something else that they could have done or worked on.

    I did the same thing a couple more times and followed the same format, trying to circulate around the room and talk to the kids more. I've never done a kindergarten class, but I can tell you that I wouldn't expect third graders to retain the high-versus-low thing with the guitar and bass. If you stylize the way you present it, maybe. The deep-voiced dad guitar versus the high-voiced mom guitar, or whatever.

  10. The more they participate, the longer you will hold their interest.
  11. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Coloring page is good. My wife and I do kids' music programs all the time. If you have the time and can come up with the materials, what we do is craft time at the beginning of the program - they make their own instruments. Make drums from cans, shakers by putting beans in a folded-over paper plate, that kind of thing. Make sure they get to put on stickers and streamers and color them with markers and stuff. We do this with pre-schoolers, and parents are often there to help; kindergarten age should be able to do it if you have a teacher or two there to help them as needed. Then, of course, they can play along during songs, and they have something to take home to their folks.

    You can keep attention for up to an hour total - 20-30 minutes on craft and 30-40 music, as long as you keep varying the songs and tempos. Have them sit down for one song and get up and dance for the next one - that deals with the attention span issue for quite a while. Maybe read a picture book about music in the middle.

    When kids know a song, they LOVE correcting you when you "mess up." I can draw Itsy Bitsy Spider out and have them in stitches by singing about the Itsy Bitsy Elephant or "down came the snow..." Can't do that EVERY song (the attention span thing) but it's a way to get them laughing and participating, and fills time if you need to.
  12. deathsdj


    Sep 18, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    My kids (8 and 4) love it when I play pop goes the weasel, happy birthday, twinkle twinkle (which also doubles as the alphabet song), and Spongebob's theme.

    I mean they totally freak out and love it!

    Good luck bro!

  13. So, you're a supporting bassist, it doesn't matter really to the kids. You just have to entertain them and make them smile. It would be enough for getting you a music tutoring job.