Issue 14: 101 things to do with “Rain on the Green Grass”

There’s a nice little 3-note round on the website;

Rain on the green grass          Rain on the tree          Rain on the house tops          But not on me.

If you want to see the notation, have a look at the website. But it is s-o-o-o simple, you hardly need to. Each line is played/sung on the same note; eg line one is C, line two is E, line three is G, line 4 is C again.

For singing, you might find D, F# and A more comfortable. Firstly, teach the song; I use pitch movements for each line – hands on waist for line 1 and 4, on shoulders for line 2, on heads for line 4. – Ah, that’s one idea already. Once the song is known, you can sing it as a round, and maybe try different entry points  and discuss the effect. Add dynamics or change the tempo. Sing it in different moods, eg fierce, gentle, happy, sad.

Add drone accompaniments and untuned percussion accompaniments; either rhythmic or descriptive sounds.



Teach the song on whatever instruments you are using – it is ideal for introducing new notes.

Use it to teach triads, transposition, playing by ear, and simple ensemble playing.



melodic structure; which lines have the same note, which are different? (answer; lines 1 and 4 have the same note, lines 2 and 3 are different, so the structure is ABCA

tuned percussion eg chime bars, boom whackers; divide class into three groups, give group one Cs so they can play lines 1 and 4; group two have Es and play line 2, group three have Gs and play line 3. Each group sings and plays their line

tuned percussion; glockenspiels and xylophones; see if the children can play the whole song – either teach them the letters (KS1), or encourage them to work it out, given C as a starting note (KS2).

rhythm; clap the rhythm of the lines, work out which are the same, which are different  (answer; the structure is ABAB; ie lines 1 and 3, 2 and 4 have same rhythm)

work out the rhyhmic notation using crotchets, quavers, and crotchet rests.



rhythmic structure as basis for composition; children choose two rhythms to compose pieces using ABAB as the structure

melodic structure as for composition; children choose three elements (pitches, sounds, timbres, dynamics) to compose pieces using ABCA as structure

movement; create expressive movements  for the song

lyrics; change the words to something topical or seasonal – ideal for small group work, hand out paper and pencil to record their work, maybe combine group verses into song or ballad. Add illustrations to verses. Record performances

Well, I know I am considerably short of 101 ideas, but I think you get the idea – this song is so simple, but so versatile. I am currently working with a year 3 4 keyboard Wider Opportunities class to develop a Wintery, Christmassy, composition with five different group verses which we will combine a story, a song, an illustration all with percussion and drone accompaniments.

This entry was posted in Clarinets, Composition, Djembe, Keyboards, Lessons that have happened, Ocarina, Piano, Recorders, Songs, The organised teacher, Theory and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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