process

When form is content: singing a round

A great little place near me runs weekly group sessions where we reflect on our lives and work together on essential skills like empathy and dealing with difference.  We also take part in experiential group activities*. Today's theme was trust: the necessity of continuing to trust each other, despite the frailties and failures we know we will sometimes experience. Partway through a presentation on this, we tried an experiment: singing a round.  The song was one that many of us - but not all - had sung before.

The words are about joining together to make something bigger than the whole. And so is the form. We begin by singing in unison. Then we break into groups and each group begins the song slightly later than the previous group. The tune and words reveal themselves as elements which work together as the phrases overlap, making something more delightful and interesting than the unison version.

The rounds I learnt as a child (London's Burning, Frere Jacques) used the form for its entertainment value (!) but this song uses the form to deliver and emphasise content.

I wonder how we can do the same in our facilitation training...

*Yes, I'm being a little coy here. As a confirmed atheist, it's a little uncomfortable to explain how I love going to my local Unitarian church.  Discovering that the Minister is also an atheist was a nice surprise. But there you go: my notions of church have been confounded, so check it out.