During my time with The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit, I had the honor and privilege of meeting and working with extremely talented professional clowns. Some of the most brilliant comedy came from clowns who could play an instrument well. Not only were they impressive due to their musical skills, they managed to work comedic interaction with the patient into their routine, while simultaneously including their partner.
Music is an incredibly contagious and effective form of entertainment no matter who your audience is, and children are no exception. Knowing how to play a small, portable instrument such as a ukulele or flute is ideal for a hospital clown for many reasons (see “Singing Silly"), but what if you can’t play an instrument?
The best thing is to take lessons or teach yourself an instrument, but that takes time. Using a shaker is helpful and you can make some simple ones to give away (see “Simple Rhythm”), but there are other options.
Having a music player (such as an mp3 player) in your pocket with family-friendly music you’ve chosen is great for walking hospital halls (see “Walking the Halls”) and for dancing with anyone who wants to join in. These little gadgets are also great for doing silent clowning in a waiting room or lobby. You can also have instrumental karaoke versions of children’s songs and invite surrounding little ones to join in; children love to sing!
Don’t let lack of musical training stop you from enjoying some creative fun-and spreading joy while doing it!
Lucy E. Nunez has been a theatrical performer since 2002 and an improv performer since 2003. She created Nurse Lulu for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care program in 2014. She is Baptist Children's Hospital first-ever resident clown! For more information please visit: www.sunnybearbuds.wix.com/buds