Jan Zimmermann: Storytelling and Music Lessons for All Ages
This is a fun-filled hour of storytelling, music and audience participation. It can be geared toward any age level or be a family event. I have an eclectic repertoire of tales from around the world so I simply draw from those. I bring in various instruments ranging from a gender, (pronounced gehn dare) or Balinese xylophone, a freenote or pentatonic xylophone, to drums, percussive instruments, recorder and/or flute.
This is similar to the above program however all the stories address a particular theme. Often times I will incorporate reading from a book if that helps to further the topic. Themes take on a wide variety of forms. The following are some presentations that I have made, but let it be known that I am happy to work with you if you have a particular need.
Themes by Continent
- North America—Native American Tales, Tales from the South
- African Folk Tales
- Asian Folk Tales
Themes by Countries
- United States
Themes by Subject Matter
- Thankfulness, gratitude
- Love, friendship
- Harry Potter Night—geared towards teenagers with a love of H.P. Includes flute music from the movies, reading from any of the H.P. books and the telling of an amusing yet scary witch tale.
This is similar to the thematic storytelling except that an art or craft project is included. Usually it is a half hour of storytelling with a half hour project. These programs lend themselves quite well to the major holidays—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day. These are all programs that I have done, as well as Native American stories coupled with dream catchers or totem poles, pirates and sailing adventures coupled with small model boats, fairy and little people stories coupled with fairy houses. These hour programs are tailored toward the younger school age children, kindergarten through 3rd or 4th grade. The art or craft projects are kept simple (a low mess factor) in order to be able to be completed at a library in a half hour’s time. Supplies are often recyclable material, e.g. cardboard, Styrofoam, cloth, etc.
Shadow puppetry is an ancient art form from the Indonesian culture. In Bali and Java the Wayang Kulit , or shadow play, is part of their religious celebrations and a way to educate and entertain the people. Balinese Wayang lasts 3-4 hours. Javanese Wayang lasts all night. My plays are about 45 minutes long, followed by a brief informative session on Wayang Kulit and a display of the puppets and instruments involved in the production.
The physical space requirements for shadow plays are a room which can be darkened—the darker the better—and a stage area approximately 15’ wide, 10’ deep. The stage need not be elevated. Seating capacity is up to you but a smaller venue is better in terms of visibility of the shadow puppets and voice projection without a mike. Classroom size rooms are ideal or a small hall, approximately 25’ x 40’. The space must also be available for three hours—one hour prior to the performance for set-up, one hour for the performance and one hour after the performance for breakdown.
The three plays I currently offer are:
- Master Frog A Vietnamese tale, similar to the Beauty and the Beast theme, where a conceited Frog must prove his worth in order to be transformed back to his princely self.
- The Giant An original play that shows how teamwork can better accomplish a task.
- Beyond the Mountains An original play that shows how reaching out to the world beyond one’s borders can broaden your horizons, expand your knowledge yet create new challenges.