Navajo Happy Song

Two years ago my school district implement "Parent Nights" in which admin is to share school data with our parents.  At my new school last year we called this "Parent Engagement Night".  We had almost 500 students in our school last year and had 90% participation from our families.  This is largely in part to the art, music and PE/movement presentations that my two "specials" team members and I put on.  This year, I am preparing preschool, kindergarten and 3rd grade for grade level performances (additionally, my school choir and two tone-chimes will be performing).  

The reason I mention this, is I am bringing song material that we are doing in the classroom to this performance.  My preschoolers and kinders are singing some traditional American folk songs.  My third graders are singing "Canoe Song" and "Land of the Silver Birch" and we'll be giving their families the "411" on harmony in 3rd grade: we'll sing them with orff accompaniment, with ostinatos and as partner songs.  Additionally, we will be singing and performing the following song.  I LOVE this song.  I first learned if from Christopher Roberts at a ROCKE workshop that he did in 2003.

Here's the song:

Now, in true folksong nature, this has unconsciously changed over the years of me teaching it.  Traditionally, this is done in a circle, but for performance intent you can also have your students do it in rows (see the video below).  This song has some hand patterns and I "didn't-mean-to-but-did" change them to the following patterns.  Here they are, in order of progression with each song repetition:
  1. no beat kept
  2. steady beat kept on legs
  3. pat own legs twice ("O"), pat leg of neighbor to left twice ("L") : O-O-L-L
  4. pate own legs twice, pat leg of neighbor to left twice, own twice, neighbor to right twice ("R"): O-O-L-L-O-O-R-R
  5. the floor ("F") is added into the pattern, as follows:  O-O-L-L-O-O-F-F-O-O-R-R-O-O-F-F
  6. the final pattern is "singles" of pattern #5: O-L-O-F-O-R-O-F
Here's a video of my 3rd graders singing it a couple weeks ago.  Our "performance" is this Wednesday and they're really ready now!

We'll be using this soon to extract la, from the 3rd and 4th phrases.  You can also use it for do', which I teach in the first part of the year of 4th grade.

Happy Friday everyone!

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