Ah, the 1980’s: So many poor hairstyle choices, and yet so many unforgettable tunes. “Because the Night” by Patti Smith is just one of those great 80’s tunes that you couldn’t forget if you tried. So, I figured why not embrace the everlasting “earworm” that is [all of the] 80’s music with open arms and create a session activity around it!?
Note: I chose to play the song on my iPod speakers to free up my hands for modeling different movements or rhythms, but I think this activity could be just as effective with live music [depending on the needs of your audience].
There are so many ways you could go about using this song in a session: Prior to the bridge and chorus, the song is very mellow, consisting of Patti’s ever-so-haunting voice and a piano ostinato. During said parts: For clients that like to dance or just keep moving, interpretive or choreographed body movements can be incorporated. Or, to stick with the rhythmic/instrumental theme, accompaniment [on a rhythmic instrument of your choosing] can be performed quietly, emulating the pensive-feel of the first section.
The visual aid(s), or “musical maps” as I call them, cater to the most notable part of the song: the chorus. I created this activity with a small group in mind, particularly students of mine with whom I continue to work on speech goals, and incorporating proprioceptive movement with speech. Clients who don’t recognize the song will catch onto the form of the piece very quickly because it is fairly repetitive — alas, the form that was followed by the majority of 80’s musicians. Brilliant.
Download the Musical Map!
– The “x” markings on the visual match up with the strike of the drum or shaker along with the lyrics “Because the night.” The music itself reinforces these pronounced beats, so feel free to crank the volume a bit to fully jam out!
– The icon depicting a girl singing for the opposing lines is a prompt to… SING! Switching back and forth between instrument and vocal tasks is not only a fun challenge for the students, further motivated by the song itself, but it also increases dexterity and clarity in both gross motor and oral motor skill areas.
I created musical maps for both hand-held drums and shakers/maracas. Feel free to use whichever map best suits the goodies found in your instrument bag! — Noa