Issue 25: Pancake Day – 21st February

The supermarket shelves have been filling up with Easter Eggs since the beginning of the year; so far I have managed to avoid eating any yet. I’m in no hurry to get started on Easter as the Christmas season has only just finished (you may think it ends on Tweflth Night, but the proper ending is on Candlemas Day, February 2nd,). Before Easter (and all the eggs) comes Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent.

There are plenty of opportunities for music-making on the theme of pancakes; first, assemble the equipment that you need to make pancakes; a nice, springy metal whisk, a bowl, wooden spoon, frying pan, fish slice, plate, spoon and fork (for eating the pancakes), robust lemon squeezer, empty jam pot and spoon. It is likely that this equipment is in for a hard time, so choose things that are going to survive the experience, and that are not super-precious.

You might like to listen to “The March Past of the Kitchen Utensils” at this point – Third movement of “The Wasps”,  by Ralph Vaughan Williams. You can download it from Amazon for less than a pound; this is the best version in my opinion;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wasps-Aristophanic-Suite-Kitchen-Utensils/dp/B005LD8CYW

As you mime making the pancakes, you can explore the different sounds, and find the school percussion or vocal percussion equivalents.

It is fairly straightforward to sing the instructions to a well-known tune such as Twinkle Twinkle or Frere Jacques (a first verse, to Frere Jacques might go “weigh the flour, weigh the flour, crack the eggs, crack the eggs, now pour the milk in, now pour the milk in, whisk it up, whisk it up). It’s better if the children suggest the words and make their own song.

If you have the staff, and the facilities, and the time, and the energy, you could even cook the pancakes as you sing and play! A true, multi-sensory, cross-curricular experience.

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