Issue 138: Welcome to The Jungle

Autumn has arrived – was that the wettest August Bank Holiday on record? Probably not, but it must have been a close contender!

One more week, and then we are into the fray.

Here are my Wider Opportunities Ukulele plans, in outline, for the first four weeks, and a couple of songs, just to get you into the mood.

Next week I have got two days of staff training. I guess a lot of it will be taken up with “business”, but I am hoping to have a chance to get some new ideas for interesting activities for the forthcoming term.

Until then; When I was one, I had some fun, the day I went to sea; Animal fair for recorder trio, and Ukulele plans.

Concentration one line

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Issue 138: When I was one I had some fun

This is a lively and popular song, especially with younger children.

When I Was One I Had Some FunThere are ten (or as many as you like) verses. I usually sing these ones;

1 – had some fun; 2 – buckeld my shoe; 3 – grazed my knee; 4 – knocked on the door; 5 – learned to dive

6 – picked up sticks; 7 – went to Devon; 8 – shut the gate; 9 – drew a line; 10 - started again

And there are actions;

. As well as miming the action for each verse, everyone jumps on the word “jump”, salutes for “Captain”, goes from side to side on “this way, that way”, leans fowards and backwards on “forwards and backwards”, makes wave motions with their hands for “over the bright blue sea”. Finally, drinking from a bottle of rum, rubbing your tum and a cheerful “thumbs up” finishes to chorus. Ten verses makes a pretty good workout.

If you are feeling creative, split the class into 10 groups, give them each a number and get them to come up with a new verse. But be prepared to deal with the obvious “lavatorial” rhymes for one, two, three… I usually pre-empt this by putting on my “stern” expression, peering at the class over my glasses and saying, in my firm, no nonsense voice “And no PLAYGROUND words allowed”. Usually that’s ALL I need to say.

Concentration one line

 

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Issue 138: Animal Fair

This is a popular little song. Once you get to the “Monkey, monkey, monkey” bit at the end, one group continues singing (or playing) this as an ostinato while the others sing the song again.

recorder trio Animal Fair

I wrote this arrangement for my primary school recorder ensemble. The treble part is deliberately simple, as each year a few more children join the trebles and have to “convert” themselves from descant fingerings. I don’t teach them more than the very basics, but use ensemble music that lets them learn as they play along.

I also use this song with ukulele Wider Opportunities classes and clubs. It just about works with strumming a C chord on the first beat of each bar all the way through – there are a few dodgy disharmonies, but they don’t last long.

Concentration one line

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138: Four weeks of Ukulele Planning

This is what I have sketched out for myself for the first four weeks of Wider Opportunities Ukulele lessons.

I’ll be teaching several keystage 2 (age 7-11) classes in two different schools.

SESSION 1

Intro – expectations, ground rules etc – listening, no plinking when I’m talking!

Warmupconcentration game 1st level, everyone say everyone’s name going round circle

Songs Row row row your boat, star light, star bright, I went to the animal fair ,

Ukulelehow to hold it (flat against stomach, not like a frying pan, insist on playing it “normally”, no special treatment for left-handers, check that everyone has got their left hand organised properly ( thumb round the back, fingers under the neck)

Name and learn strings; G C E A, make up phrases like Good Children Eat Apples etc and sing them while playing each string

 Strumming – decide if you are using thumb or 1st finger (I use 1st Finger). Listen and copy. Sing concentration strumming open strings. Sing star light strumming open strings

 

SESSION 2

Intro – remind expectations, ground rules etc

Warmup – concentration game level 1, and level 2 children individually say own name and neighbour’s name

Songs Row row row your boat, star light, star bright, I went to the animal fair, Rain on the Green Grass (starting on C)

Ukulele – revise how to hold it and string names

Strumming – decide if you are using thumb or 1st finger (I use 1st Finger). Listen and copy. Sing  star light strumming open strings

Teach C chord – “easy peasy threesy C” “It’s as easy as 1 – place first finger on A string, 2 place second finger on A string, 3 place third finger on A string” Stress A string to help learn names of strings

Sing Row Row, Rain on the green grass, and Animal fair strumming in time with C chord

 

SESSION 3

Warmup – concentration game level 2, and level 3 – the real game

Songs Row row row your boat, star light, star bright, I went to the animal fair, Rain  

Ukulele – revise how to hold, and string names

Strumming – Revise C chord – “easy peasy threesy C” “It’s as easy as 1 – place first finger on A string, 2 place second finger on A string, 3 place third finger on A string”

Sing Row Row, Rain, and Animal fair strumming in time with C chord

Teach Am chord (preparation for F chord); Finger 2 on G string – the top string, the one that’s nearest your nose. Chant “Finger 2, not near your toes, but up near your nose on the G string”

Sing and strum Star light alternating C and A; first divide class into two groups, one place C chord, other plays Am, taking turns. Swap groups. Then practice switching between chord Am and C (new chord  to “easy-peasy threesy C”) by setting up an Am, then chant “move your fingers, play a C!”

Try other way round; set up C, “move your fingers, play Aminor”.  Children should be moving their fingers as they say it, ready to play the chord when you say.

 

SESSION 4

Warmup- SONG AND RHYTHM ACTIVITY Bee Bee, Bumble Bee (C, Am) pass shaker while singing,, person who is “out” plays a rhythm on a shaker,

ACTION SONG My Hat it has three corners (F and C )

Songs-  When I was one I had some fun (FFFFCCF every line) Rain on the green grass in F

Ukulele –Revise strings; G C E A

Teach how to read chord charts. Draw chart on whiteboard, hold ukulele beside picture, show how they relate to each other. Draw C chord and Am chord charts. Revise C and Am chords, revise switching between them. Sing and strum Starlight Starbright, sing and strum Bee Bee Bumble Bee

Show chart for F chord

Teach F chord; Finger 1 on A, then finger 2 like the Am chord. Chant, slowly, “One” (place finger 1 on A,) “move your finger” (place finger 2 on G, “TWO!” (strum). Speed up chant, until fingers are nearly going down together

Strum an F chord on first beat of each line Rain on the green grass F major,

Sing and strum “When I was one I had some fun” – divide class into 2, some playing the F chords, some playing the C chords. Teach swapping same way that you did last week. Sing again, see if any of the class can manage to swap from F to C (easy) and C to F (harder)

 After four sessions, the groups will have made different levels of progress depending on age (some classes will be 7-year-olds, others may be 10-11 year-olds. They will also have had very different previous musical experience. My target is that they should be comfortable with Am, C and F chord by the end of the first term. I’ll also work on composing some kind of Christmas carol using the C pentatonic scale which they can perform, accompanying themselves with C and Am chords.  

Most of the songs and activities have already been posted up on the Jungle in previous years, if you don’t already know them. I haven’t included any “listening to music” in these sessions. That’s because I reckon the children will be impatient to be able to do something with the ukuleles to begin with. Later on, I’ll factor in some “listening and responding” activities.  Concentration one line

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Issue 137: Welcome to the Jungle

We were away last week staying near Shrewsbury, in an isolated cottage with no television, no radio, and no signal!

But here I am, back in the land of internet and wi-fi, and here’s another issue of the jungle.

leaves divider

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Issue 137: Cake-walk – Theme and variations

I’m out of musical inspiration this week, so here’s a recipe for cake instead.

Take 1 (small) pot of plain yoghurt, 2 yoghurt pots (use the same pot) of self-raising flour, 1-and-a-half yoghurt pots of sugar, Quarter of a yoghurt pot of light, mild oil (I use olive), 2 eggs.

Mix this all together, pour into a suitable greased and lined tin, and bake for around 35 minutes at around 170C. Test by poking cake with a toothpick – if it comes out clean, the cake is probably done.

Variations

Chocolate – add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder, use brown sugar

Fruit – use brown sugar, add a couple of handfuls of dried mixed fruit and a tablespoon of mixed spice

 

Lemon Drizzle – grate the zest of a lemon into the mixture; squeeze the lemon and add 4 tablespoons sugar to the juice. Pour this over the cooked cake while it is still hot.

Fresh Fruit – use a fruit-flavoured yoghurt (purple coloured ones come out grey when cooked but taste fine) and throw in a handful of blueberries or strawberries or chopped apple

Improvisation – over to you!

leaves divider

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Issue 137: The history of music with kittens

Now that we are required to teach the history of music, here’s some help:

http://www.classicfm.com/discover/music/music-cats-gifs/

I bet you laugh at least once.

leaves divider

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Issue 137: Skeleton Wider Opportunities Planning

This is my skeleton plan for the first four weeks of a Wider Opportunities Programme. My objectives are to establish the ground rules, and get the children playing their instruments as quickly as possible. I think it is too, too cruel to set out all those shiny instruments in front of the children and make them wait ages before they can get their hands on them! 

Date

Session

Teaching Activities National Curriculum Objectives Review
 

Session  1

Welcome and Introduction (keep it short)

About the programme, behaviour expectations

Pulse/Rhythm Warm-up

Concentration game level 1

“Stay Home” from Shrek1 – copy movements in time to pulse

Song

Vocal warm-up – relaxing the jaw, sirening, “coo-ee”

“Rabbit run on the frozen field” teach by rote, listen and copy

Instruments

Introduction (keep it short)

How to Play

Suitable warm-up (eg breathing, finger exercises)

First lesson on playing (probably listen and copy)

Packing away

1a sing  

1b play

1c rehearse/perform

2a improvise

2b explore/structure

3a analyse

3b explore/express

3c improve

4a listen

4b elements

4c notation

4d time and place

 
 

Session  2

Welcome

Pulse/RhythmWarm-up

Concentration game level 2

“Stay Home” from Shrek1 – copy movements in time to pulse let children lead

Song

Vocal warm-up – relaxing the jaw, sirening, “coo-ee”

“Rabbit run on the frozen field” teach by rote, listen and copy, call and response

Instruments

Introduction (keep it short)

How to Play

Suitable warm-up (eg breathing, finger exercises)

Revise first lesson and move on

Packing away

1a sing  

1b play

1c rehearse/perform

2a improvise

2b explore/structure

3a analyse

3b explore/express

3c improve

4a listen

4b elements

4c notation

4d time and place

 
 

Session  3

Welcome

Pulse/Rhythm Warm-up

Concentration game – playing the game properly

Switch game – let child lead

Song

Vocal warm-up – relaxing the jaw, sirening, “coo-ee”

Start teaching a suitable round, eg “You can’t put your muck in our dustbin” or “si, si si, si dolada”

Instruments

Suitable warm-up (eg breathing, finger exercises)

Continue as appropriate for instrument

Packing away

1a sing  

1b play

1c rehearse/perform

2a improvise

2b explore/structure

3a analyse

3b explore/express

3c improve

4a listen

4b elements

4c notation

4d time and place

 
 

Session  4

Welcome

Pulse/Rhythm Warm-up

Concentration game – playing the game properly

Switch game- let child lead

Song

Vocal warm-up – relaxing the jaw, sirening, “coo-ee”

Start teaching a suitable round, eg “You can’t put your muck in our dustbin” or “si, si si, si dolada”

Instruments

Suitable warm-up (eg breathing, finger exercises)

Continue as appropriate for instrument

Packing away

1a sing  

1b play

1c rehearse/perform

2a improvise

2b explore/structure

3a analyse

3b explore/express

3c improve

4a listen

4b elements

4c notation

4d time and place

 

 The items in the “National Curriculum” column refer to the old, detailed curriculum, which I have summarised for myself here:

National Curriculum

 

National Curriculum Programme of Study (summary)
1a Sing in unison and parts with diction, control of pitch, sense of phrase and expression
1b Play instruments with control and rhythmic accuracy
1c Practise, rehearse and present performances with awareness of audience
2a Improvise, develop rhythmic and melodic material when performing
2b Explore, choose, combine and organise musical ideas within musical structures
3a Analyse and compare sounds
3b Explore and explain own ideas and feelings about music using movement, dance, expressive language and vocabulary
3c Improve their own and others’ work in relation to its intended effect
4a Listen with attention to detail, internalise and recall sounds with increasing accuracy
4b How pitch, duration, dynamics, timbre, texture and silence can be organised within structures to communicate
4c How music is produced in different ways and described through established and invented notations
4d How time and place can influence the way music is created, performed and heard

 I highlight the items that are covered in the lessons. For the first sessions, I’m not too concerned to introduce notation, and I’m also laid back about the composing, improvising, and listening to music areas. There’s plenty of time to look at other areas in the future.

I’ll be fleshing out this skeleton with descant recorders, ukuleles, djembe and samba this term, for years 3, 4, 5 and 6. After four weeks, the difference in age, and the demands of the instruments will make themselves apparent, and I’ll have to adapt accordingly.

Leaves

 

 

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