Issue 60: Great Big House in New Orleans

This is a catchy traditional American song, using the pentatonic scale

I have used it as a circle game; children take it in turns to choose the pie – banana, chocolate and mud being some of the more popular flavours, although caterpillars and worms have also featured.

When the children are confident of the tune you can point to individuals so sing the whole of the last line “filled with pumpkin pie”, with their own choice of flavour.

I was teaching crotchet and quaver notation, and the children had been writing out their own 4-beat rhythms on paper using crotchets and quavers. So, when we sang the song, I chose individuals to play their rhythms (8 beats works well – they just play their 4-beat rhythm twice) in between each repetition.

You can strum along to the song with a single chord – C – in this case, which just happens to be the first chord that the ukulele Wider Opportunities classes have learned (not counting Aminor7 which is just open strings). Actually, an Aminor7 sounds OK with it too.

I reckon a song to be a success, if I hear the children singing it out in the playground. On that basis, this one hits the spot.

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