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STOMP! Out Loud

STOMP! Out Loud” is an excellent video to show to high school students, or even younger students. It’s vastly entertaining, upbeat, and has some great educational value.

STOMP is a collection of percussion / dance / movement routines. The group uses anything but normal percussion instruments to make rhythms pleasing to the eye and ear. There are no speaking parts to the performance. I have used it with my hearing impaired students (turn it up loud, and hand out blown-up balloons so they can feel the vibrations). “Instruments” they use include brooms, metal pipes, trash cans and lids, wooden dowels, even basketballs. The actual stage production (go see it if you get the chance!) includes kitchen sinks (hung around their necks), oil drums, and non-verbal comedy routines.

Preview the video before presenting it to the students, and go over the worksheet I’ve presented here. I’m sure you will come up with many of your own ideas. The video is 50 minutes long: This lesson plan may last two or three days.

Suggested presentation:

  • Discuss with the class the ideas of teamwork, creativity, responsibility, and trust.
  • Hand out the worksheet and go over the questions. Tell the students to be thinking of these as they watch the video.
  • Watch the video. (It’s best to blast the volume as high as you can get away with.)
  • Discuss the questions from the worksheet again.
  • A second viewing of the video may be in order, or just use selected scenes to emphasize your main points (i.e., the interview segment at the beginning, the routine with the brooms, and the almost-finale with the garbage cans and lids).
  • Discuss each of the questions again before the students write their answers.

WORKSHEET QUESTIONS:

1. One of the guys at the beginning talks about trust when they are practicing and performing. Why do they need to trust each other?

2. As you look at the video, try to pick apart what each person is doing, or follow just one person through a routine. Notice it might not seem like much. See that no one person is making all the beats or all the noises. They each have a part, and they trust each other to do their parts so that the whole thing looks/sounds good, and so no one gets hurt. Each person has an important part, and it as important that they perform that part. Have you ever been a big or small important part of a whole?

3. Remember that there are no extra sounds backstage that someone is making. All the sounds come from what you see. Name some of the “instruments” you hear.

4. In some of the drama scenes, and when they get the audience to participate, see what kinds of messages they convey without any words. Notice the actions, large and small, and their facial expressions.

5. Does it look like they are having fun? Do you think it as always fun, or do you think they get tired of it sometimes?

6. These are all the finished performances we see. What do you think the practices look like?

7. How long do you think practices take?

8. What if someone is new on the team? What kind of attitude do you think the rest of the team needs to have for a successful show?

9. How hard do you think these people work to make such a good show?

10. Why would anyone work that hard at something?

11. How do you think the performers prepared to try out for the show? Did they just show up one day and audition and get lucky to get a part, or do you think they had a lot of hard work and failures before they tried out?

12. Think about some of the different kinds of jobs involved for a production of STOMP: Performers, Director, Choreographer, Lighting technicians, Sound technicians, Drivers, Makeup, Publicist (advertises for the show), Heavy workers (loading & unloading all the stuff from trucks, moving it around), Manager (decides where the group will go, makes the schedule, works with locations to make sure everything is ready), Backstage people (they make sure everything is where it as supposed to be)

Which job might you enjoy doing? Why would it suit your personality?

13. Think again about all the people involved with STOMP. Do you think everybody likes each other? They have to travel around together to do the show. What happens if one of the people doesn act like someone else?

14. Suppose one of the performers was very good, but he had a problem: no one really likes him. He always wants things his way, he thinks he is the best. He really likes his job. Maybe the manager talks to him one day, and says, “You are very talented, and a good performer, but your attitude stinks. Shape up, or you are out.” What do you think the performer might do? Explain.

15. What other kinds of things do you think they do during the week to make sure they have a good performance (eating, working out, staying in safe situations)?

16. What other comments or ideas do you have about STOMP?

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