Bo Diddle Bop

During my fifth year of college (yes, I was on the 5 year track), WAY back in 1997, the Colorado Orff Chapter dedicated their workshops to clinicians that "blended" Orff and Kodály.  These were AMAZING workshops.  I learned a lot of repertoire, tools and techniques that I still use today.

One of my favorite workshops was that of Ann Kay.  Ann is a Kodály educator and from what I hear, she is working on developing a music program that supports classroom literacy.  ROCKE has discussed bringing her out for a workshop, I hope that's fruitful some day as she is a fabulous clinician.  Fifteen years later, I still use EVERYTHING that she presented at her workshop in my teaching.

One of my favorite songs that she presented is Bo Diddle Bop.  It's great for improvisation, vocal exploration, expression and it lends itself to this so well in 4th and 5th grade.   And it's an echo song/chant so once students know it they can start leading it (great chance for a singing assessment).

Here it is:

With a pizza in my han' (with a pizza in my han'), 
I can be yo' pizza man! (I can be yo' pizza man!)
Yo' pizza man! (Yo' pizza man!)

[song]

With some books in my han' (with some books in my han')
I can be yo' librarian (I can be yo' librarian)
Librarian, (Librarian)

Yo' pizza man! (Yo' pizza man!)

[song]

With some weights in my han' (with some weights in my han')
I can be yo' barbarian (I can be yo' barbarian)
Barbarian (barbarian)
Librarian, (Librarian)
Yo' pizza man! (Yo' pizza man!)

[song]

etc.


With the "pizza man" verse you have to act really "laid back/cool" like a stereotypical pizza guy.  With the librarian verse I use a higher, softer voice and act very reserved.  With the barbarian I use a deeper, stronger and fiercer voice and stance.  With the cumulative part you use the corresponding voice for each of the "people".  The kids just eat this up.  Some other verses that my students have made up include a musician (with a trumpet, sax o guitar and spoken like a "jazz cat"); a lineman (with a football  and spoken with a deep, chant like voice: like you're calling a play); a custodian (with a broom or mop); a garbage man. . . the list is endless!!

Bugler's Dream

Alright, here's a mystery song for you (don't look at the title of this post, lol!):



Okay, so I gave it away, oops!  Yesterday I saw a few of my Kodály friends put the solfege for this on their facebook status.  I thought, what great do pentatonic review for 3-5 grade when we get back to school so I had to make this power point.  The three slides above I'm going to use with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade when we're reviewing the do pentatone as a "Mystery Song" during the high concentration portion of their lesson.  The rhythm contains elements that have not been taught in any of these grade levels, so one way I represented rhythmic duration is through the placement of the solfa below four hearts that are representative of the beat.

I need to preface the next section:  I LOVE power points.  I love that you can easily manipulate them for however you want to use them by adding, rearranging or deleting slides.  I will be doing that with this power point to make it applicable to the grade that I'm using it with.  Third and fourth grades will not see the next few slides.  They will skip from this slide to the slide that presents the name of the mystery song (the slide with the Olympic Rings below that says "Bugler's Dream).

My fifth graders will start preparing tim-ka this fall, so I have added these slides for that purpose.  Once tim-ka is presented, we will bring back these slides and read it with the new rhythm, as a mystery song:




With all three of those grade levels, once they have sang the solfa successfully, they will derive the mystery song.  I'm sure they don't know the exact title of the song, but they'll easily recognize it as the Olympic Theme (unless they were visiting Jupiter this August, lol!).  I will duplicate the slides accordingly to match the recording that I have.  I found a relatively short (45 second) version on iTunes that works really well:



These slides, of course, are for 5th grade and will be used for reading once tim-ka is presented:




Freddy Oaka

This is a gem that I just discovered this past year.  I use it with third grade; first for tika-ti and then later in the year for low sol.  It's now become my tika-ti presentation song: I LOVE the fact that the text matches the name of the rhythmic element!!  And, it's got a great game that the kiddos love. ..  not only in 3rd grade, but also in 4th and 5th grades (makes for great "back-to-school" review in these grades for low sol and tika-ti.).





Game:
Everyone sits in a circle with left hand palm up and right hand palm up on neighbor’s left hand. Sing through the song tapping neighbor’s right hand with own right hand, on beat, one person at a time. (Start somewhere in the circle and pass tap around the circle). When the song gets to “oh no” the person that just got tapped says a number between 2-20. That person passes a tap and the tap gets passed until the designated number is spoken. When the person is about the say the designated number, the person who is about to be tapped pulls their hand away. If the person misses, they are out of the circle. If the person doesn’t miss, the student who is tapped is out of the circle.

Two Songs, Same Game

I LOVE these two songs and they share the same game however they are from two very different places.  I do find it interesting that not only is the game the same but the topic is very similar.

"Biddy Biddy Hold Fast" is from Jamaica.  I first learned it from Julie Swank at a ROCKE workshop.  I use it to teach the diminution of syncopa.  



"Queen Alexandra" is from Edinburgh and I learned it from Susan Brumfield.  Susan's source is Golden City by James Ritchie.  This is one of my favorite "ti" songs. It's also great for teaching 6/8 meter (which I do in 5th grade):


Game formation: circle or row of players with one student in the middle
Action:  all students have their hands held out in front of them with their palms vertical, touching and almost closed.  The one student in the middle also has his/her hands with palms touching, but with a toy ring between their hands.  As the song is sung, the center player "slices" through the other players hands and drops the ring into some one's hand.  The players then try to guess who has the ring at the end.  If you play "Button You Must Wander" with your students, it's the same game except with a ring.

One thing that we do is while the guessing is going on, all students hum the song.  If they want to make a guess, they raise their hands (still clasped together) and point to who they thing has the ring.  The guessed player then opens their hands to reveal if the guesser is correct.  To avoid the guessing from taking too long we limit either the number of guesses per round or the number of times we hum the melody.  The person with the ring is the next center person.

Carnival of the Animals

I've posted a couple of my other "old-school" listening maps from "The Carnival of the Animals": The Aquarium & The Elephant.

Here are the remaining listening maps that I've made:

The Lion:  
I use this to teach/reinforce the following: introduction & coda, crescendo (represented by the trees gradually getting larger), pitch direction (the squiggly blue lines on the second poster), duration (the red lines on the second poster) and form.
The Lion, poster #1
The Lion, poster 2
The People With Long Ears:
I use this to teach/reinforce pitch and duration.  The donkeys jumping are symbolic of the high part glissando played on the violin and the long lines that follow are the low pitches the violin plays.
The People With Long Ears
The Swan:
This is my favorite movement of "The Carnival of the Animals".  I use it to teach legato and to teach about the Cello.  After students are familiar with it, we improvise movements to describe the music using scarves.
I haven't shown my kids this video yet, as I just ran into it on Pinterest this spring, but I'll be showing this the next time we study "The Swan."  This is AMAZING:

Shoes

Passing games are a lot of fun but let's admit it, but when it comes to passing on the beat they are often challenging.  That's why singing and playing a lot of preparatory games in the primary grades is so important.  In my classes, we sing a lot of songs that encompass passing an object around the circle in grades K-2 without expecting or needing students to pass on the beat.  With the right amount of physical preparation, (in my opinion) students are ready to be successful at passing on the beat by the end of 2nd grade/beginning of 3rd grade.  

The first passing song that I do with my 3rd graders is this:

I love this version of "Deedle Deedle Dumpling" for a number of reasons.  First, it has a pentatonic melody that third graders can read melodically, with iconic notation (on the staff, without rhythm).  Second, the first new rhythm I teach in 3rd grade is tika-tika (we begin preparing it in second grade and present it by the end of September).  Tika-tika is nicely extracted in the first phrase of "Deedle Deedle Dumpling".  Thirdly, it also contains ti-tika, the next rhythmic element I teach in third grade.

Before we do the passing game, we do some preparation activities.  
  1. We keep a steady beat with the song on non-pitched percussion (i.e., drum, tambourine, etc.)
  2. We march the beat of the song.
  3. We march the beat of the song wearing only one shoe.  Have them take the first beat with the foot wearing the shoe, the second beat with the shoeless foot.  This is a nice reinforcement of duple meter.
  4. We practice an alternating beat pattern on our knees with our RIGHT hand- beat 1 the right hand is on the right knee, beat 2 the right hand is on the left knee.
  5. We use shoes to keep an alternating beat pattern in front of us, mimicking the prior pattern: beat 1 the shoe is in front of our right knee, beat 2 the shoe is in front of our left knee.
  6. We begin passing the shoes- the students say "pass, grab, pass, grab" while practicing passing shoes.
  7. We pass while singing the song.
  8. Finally, (remember this whole process is over the course of MANY lesson) we play this as an elimination game.  We assign a shoe that is the "out" shoe.   If you have the "out" shoe at the end of the song, you start/join the other circle that is formed next to the existing circle (remember to trade the "out" shoe with your neighbor and take a shoe with you to the new circle).  This "out" circle keeps all the students engaged/active in the game until the very end.  Some classes have even formed multiple "outed" circles.  

While I LOVE this game, one of the non-musical challenges that I always faced were students who didn't want to take their shoes off.  Here's how I solved that problem: I started collecting my own two kids' shoes as they outgrew them.  I now have this nice collection:
If you don't have access to your own kids shoes, try asking for old shoe donations in your school newsletter.

I use the shoes for more then just the "Deedle Deedle Dumpling" game.  We also use them for this passing game when we learn about anacrusis:

* In this passing game you pass on the first strong beat (the word "pass," works out nicely that the text of the song tells you what to do, huh?!) and it passes on the half note.  

HERE'S THE CATCH: it switches to the quarter note on "that is what you do."  On "that is what you do" you do NOT pass the shoe, but instead tap it right-left-right (and on the third beat, on the word "do" you begin passing again and switch back to passing on the macro-beat or half note.  I have them say "hold-hold-pass" on these three beats to reinforce the physical behavior that you are wanting them to perform).  

Because this passing pattern incorporates half note and quarter note patterns it's a great opportunity to teach/reinforce about macro vs. micro beat.


I use the shoes in the primary grades to teach about steady beat with one or more of my many versions of "Cobbler Cobbler."  First, I use this picture of a cobbler so they can make a visual connection.   Chances are your students won't know or have ever heard of a cobbler:
This is my favorite version of "Cobbler Cobbler," I learned it at a workshop that Lille Feierabend did for ROCKE a few years ago:


Using a toy hammer, I pretend to be a cobbler and keep the steady beat on the students' feet to "fix" their shoes.  They always think this is very humorous.  Silver Lake College sells these great crochetted hammers, but I've also found inflatable hammers at Oreintal Trading that work great with this activity.

I LOVE this chant for keeping a steady beat, also learned from Lillie Feierabend: 

There's a cobbler down the street
Mending shoes for little feet
With a bang and a bang and a bang, bang, bang
And a bang and a bang and a bang, bang, bang
Mending shoes the whole day long,
Mending shoes to make them strong
With a bang and a bang and a bang, bang, bang
And a bang and a bang and a bang, bang, bang


It's really hard with this one for them to not to tap the rhythm on the line With a bang and a bang and a bang, bang, bang and I choose to not make a big deal of it. :)

As students get older, they can choose to "fix" their own shoe or fix one of the shoes in my box.  I prefer them to fix their own shoes as I love that when they're keeping the beat they also feel it on another body part.

 Here are a couple other versions of "Cobbler, Cobbler" that I also use.





Elephant and a bit more of the Aquarium

A couple weeks ago I posted about "The Aquarium" from The Carnival of the Animals.  When I was at school today I took a picture of the listening map that I had made for it:
There is one more piece to it that I I forgot to take a photo of and that is the coda which is represented by a descending line of water drops.  

Here's what I do in "The Aquarium" lessons.
  1. The students follow along while I point to the fish.  They are asked to listen for why they think the fish are different shapes and what they represent (shape=rhythm; placement=melody)
  2. They listen again, following along by tracking the fish from their seats.
  3. The next lesson we review and then the students use fish that I have mounted on popsicle sticks to follow along with the listening map.
  4. The lesson after that they can either use fish or scarves to travel in space around the room, using the manipulative to show duration and melodic contour.  They are suppose to "swim" only when they hear the "fish" part)
Here is "The Elephant" listening map, also from The Carnival of the Animals:

"Elephant" from The Carnival of the Animals Listening Map
The first thing that is very obvious to students is the form of the piece and using their background knowledge it is very easy to identify that the form is ABA.  I've also made this into a power point.  You can download this file by clicking here.

"Elephant" Slide one of the Powerpoint

"Elephant" Slide two of the Powerpoint

"Elephant" Slide three of the Powerpoint

"Elephant" Slide four of the Powerpoint
The downfall and/or benefit of the power point is that the students don't immediately identify the form.  

Here is an activity that I do with the students for "The Elephant":

Pocket String Bass:
After listening to "The Elephant" all the way through the students identify that the string bass is the solo instrument.  I then make a big production over the fact that each and everyone of them is going to get to play a string bass that day.  Furthermore they are all going to get to play their basses at THE SAME TIME!  AND here's the best part: their string bass can even fit in their pocket!  GASP!  It's funny, when you first tell them that they all will get to play a bass in class they start looking around the room for the bass, which we all know would take up a large space in the classroom.

Here's how it works.  You will need a string for every student in your class.  The strings should be about 4 feet in length. At the end of each string make a loop and tie it in a knot so that you have a loop at each end:
Nylon string with a loop tied at each end.  The string is approximately 4 feet in length.
From there, you will make a slip knot, that is, pull the string through the loop just like you would for the end of a yo-yo.  Put one of the slip knots around your finger like this:
Make a slip knot at each end.
The other slip knot you put around your foot.  

The next part is very important: you are going to place your finger (the one with the string on it) on the outside part of the ear call the tragus.  We all know that it is very important that our students not stick their fingers IN their ears, so please go over this with your students.  Now, you should have the slip knot around your foot, a slip knot around your finger and the finger with the slip knot on your tragus.  Make the string tight and with your free hand pluck the string.  It will sound like a string bass.  Let your students experiment with how to change the sound of their bass.  They will learn that the tighter the string, the higher the pitch; the looser the string, the lower the pitch.  They can use their fingernail to slide along the string, they can make the string tighter after they pluck it to see how that affects the sound.

Once they have had the chance to experiment it is now time for them to play their bass along with the solo bass in "The Elephant."  I have them pluck their string for every elephant they see (every strong beat).  In the b-section I have them slide their fingers along the string but you can change it however you like.  In my "old-school" listening map you'll see and hear that in the b-section there is a spot where they pluck (beats 2 & 4 of the second line of the b-section).  I found a way to add that to the power point  yet that I'm satisfied with.  If you do, please share it with me! :)

Happy bass playing!

Epo I Tai Tai

Epo I Tai Tai is one of my favorite "syn-co-pa" songs to use with 4th grade.  I introduce it with a hand clapping game that goes like this:

 I introduce it with a hand clapping game that goes like this:
  1. Have the students listen for the longest sound as you sing the song. ("e")
  2. Have them count how many times "e" occurs.
  3. Every time they hear "e" have them perform this following pattern: right hand (in the air, mocking patting a partner's hand), clap both hands, left hand (same as with right: up, tapping phantom partner), clap
  4. Have them listen for how many times "Epo i tai tai" happens while they perform the patter for "e".  This is tricky, a lot of times they will say five (they'll count epo i tuki tuki)
  5. Add pat-pat-clap-clap on "Epo i Tai Tai"
  6. Have them count how many times "epo i tuki tuki" happens
  7. Add pat-pat-both (patting both of phantom partner's hands)-both
  8. We will sing it a few times more practicing the pattern but that's all I do with it the first day.
  9. The next lesson we will review the pattern and add having a partner
  10. Eventually, they will be in concentric circles, facing their partners performing the pattern.  After they are successful with the pattern I will start calling "left" or "right" at the end of the 1st, 2nd or 4th phrase.  This is A LOT of fun!
Pedagogically, I use this to prepare and practice "syn-co-pa" or single eighth note-quarter note-single eighth note.

When we are practicing we will read and clap the rhythm of the first slide of the following powerpoint. We will derive where ties need to be inserted to make the rhythm match the song and then they will read the second slide with the ties inserted:


Once we have presented syn-co-pa, we will read this slide on rhythm syllables:




In 5th grade, once we have presented low ti and are practicing this element we will sing this mystery song and then play the game:


 
Here are some other activity ideas:

Sitting circle on the floor
body percussion:
pat pat clap clap snap snap snap snap (repeat)
pat pat clap clap pat pat head head
pat pat clap clap snap snap snap snap

When students are proficient with the body percussion, have them perform the pattern using rhythm sticks. The pattern is:

Floor, floor, cross, cross, out, out , out, out (repeat)
Floor, floor, cross, cross, floor, floor, up, up
Floor, floor, cross, cross, out, out, out, out

Cross = tap sticks together
Out = tap your sticks with your neighbors sticks to your right and left at the same time.
Up = pulse sticks holding them straight up for 4 beats.

When your students are proficient at doing this, have them practice flipping their sticks in 2 beats. Say, “flip, catch”. This movement replaces the “up” done on the first tuki-tuki.

Challenge:
Have students sit in 2 concentric circles so they face a partner. Instead of “flip, catch”, change it to “toss, catch” and they toss their sticks and catch their partners sticks.



Up Like a Rocket

I love rhymes and finger plays.  They lend themselves so easily to vocal exploration.  It's easy to take any rhyme and ask the students, "Can you say it like Mickey Mouse" (high voice), or "Now say it like a monster" (low voice), "Can you say it like you're telling me a secret?" (whisper), or "Now can you say it like you're talking to a friend who's across the playground?" (calling voice).  These are just a few examples.  

"Up Like a Rocket" is no exception.  This one actually lends itself to pitch bending within each phrase. Here are some slides from a power point that I use with it.  

As you can see in the first slide the voices get higher:

With the second phrase, the voices get lower:

And the third phrase lends itself to pitch bending:

Another fun extension with this chant is to add instruments that represent vocal inflection or describe the text.

Here's an additional activity to add to it.
When we were in Disneyland my son HAD to get this toy:
I was tempted to buy two of them: one for him and one for my classroom (I hope he doesn't mind when he comes to music class this year and I use it in class for vocal exploration!).  The propellers make Buzz fly and will work as a fun vocal warm-up and can be used in conjunction with "Up Like a Rocket."  There is a hand held controller with a button.  When the button is pushed Buzz's propellers go and he flies.  The general idea of this would be the students would use their voices to follow Buzz's flying pattern (when he flies higher their voices go higher and when he goes lower their voices go lower).  Noah and I played around with it for a bit yesterday and I was able to get a very brief and rough video of this idea.  When you watch it please remember that my son is almost 5 and was anxiously wanting to go watch Looney Tunes instead of help me. :)


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