Issue 143: Grandma, Grandma – a complete samba lesson

The toughest class I teach at the moment is the very last one on a Friday afternoon.

It doesn’t really matter which class, age group, instrument – I’m beginning to think that the problem lies in the words “Friday Afternoon”. The children have had a whole week of learning, and by the time Friday comes they are more than ready for the weekend.

It used to be year 3 beginner recorders; three sessions back-to-back. Now it is year 6 samba, three sessions back-to-back. I plan the lesson with about 4 elements, and reckon to deliver all four to the first class, three to the second, and a couple to the third.

This week I did much better than usual, all thanks to Grandma.

Here’s the rap (traditional)

Grandma, Grandma, sick in bed, 
called for the doctor and the doctor said
Grandma, Grandma, you ain’t sick,
All you need is a walking stick!
Hands up, shaky shaky shaky shakety shake,
Hands down, shaky shaky shaky shakety shake,
Hands up, shaky shaky shaky shakety shake,
Hands down, shaky shaky shaky shakety shake,
To the front, to the back, to the s-s-side
To the front, to the back, to the s-s-side
She didn’t go to college,
She didn’t go to school,
I bet you five dollars
she can wriggle more than you.
Hands up etc

I taught the rap, and the class thoroughly approved of it – it has a lively sound and a good beat. You can do actions – make up your own, or get the children to suggest them.

Then, it became a samba. Surdos took the first line, tamborims the second, ganzas the third, agogo the fourth. “Hands up” was played by surdo each time, “shaky shaky” etc was ganza. The first “To the front” etc was tamborim, the second “To the front” etc was agogo. In verse two, the lines went round the groups as before, but watch out – they are much shorter.

The children clearly thought it would be a doddle, but it is actually quite trappy. Then you move everyone round to a new group. Heheheh. And, as they are sharing instruments one between two, you get them to swap with their partner after each line. Heheheheheh. Well, I didn’t get this far with the third class, but the first two classes certainly had a serious mental work out in my lesson.

Poppy divider

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