I wrote When I Feel Mad for some Head Start residencies I was fortunate to have through the Wolftrap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. The pre-school teachers asked me to write something to help kids with some aggressive and disruptive behaviors that seemed to stem from anger. My own experience tells me that anger can be a wonderful creative engine, but, of course, it can also be very destructive and hurtful. I wanted to give the children the opportunity to share the power of anger—in the voices of the fiercest animals, and to demonstrate that words allow us to express such powerful emotion without violence. I still use the song frequently, showing children my “pretend mad face” and inviting them to show theirs before we sing. I explain that I’m not mad now, but that I want to practice some good ideas about what to do when I’m mad now that I’m feeling perfectly happy. Because when I’m mad, I can’t always think of something good to do.
For the lead sheet, click here: When I Feel Mad