I’ve had a great time teaching the Out Of The Ark Music Comic Relief song to several classes last week. It is available, with all the supporting material (Words-on-Screen, lead sheet, score, vocal track and backing track) FOR FREE! Just go to http://www.outoftheark.co.uk/resources/red-nose-day and help yourself!
The song is dead simple, and the children love it. After you have all listened to it, my advice is to teach it really carefully first, ensuring that they sing the octave leaps accurately (“like shooting goals in netball/basketball”). As soon as they start adding groovy moves or percussion, they will instantly lose the ability to sing in tune unless you have already got this completely sorted, so if you haven’t nailed the singing first, you will find it difficult to reverse engineer any wrong turns that they make.
Year 1 2:
We looked at the repeating patterns hidden in the song: Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Verse, Chorus Bridge, Chorus. I wrote this structure up on a white board, and invited one child to put a coloured blob by each chorus, another to use a different colour to highlight the verses, and a third to highlight the “Let’s do something funny”. They then recreated the pattern using those clock-together-cubes that they have for doing sums, and used these patterns as a graphic score to create their own music using body percussion and class instruments.
I wrote out the melody for my more experienced recorder player, just changing the low B in the fourth phrase of the chorus for a D, and transposing it all up an octave for the treble recorders. As they had already learned the song in “singing practice”, teaching them to play the chorus and the bridge was a quick job. F naturals, please! They were playing it from memory by the end of the lesson. We’ll tackle the verse, with its more challenging notes, this coming week.
My year 3-4 ukulele Wider Opportunities class started learning chord G last week. This was the perfect vehicle to inspire them to get their fingers round it: The chorus works fine with 8 rapid C chords, 4 Gs, and 4 Cs for each line, with the 4 Gs and 4 Cs repeated at the end. It was also great for differentiation: one group only played C chords, another only G chords, and the most nimble-fingered children managed both. In the bridge “Let’s do something funny for money” we played a single G on each line, swinging our whole arm round like a mad rock band guitarist. I’ll start teaching the verse, next week, and then, we’ll all just sing in the final verse when the melody is transposed up a tone.
We learned the song, and then picked rhythms out of the chorus and allocated them to differnt instruments. Whoa! An Instant Red Nose Samba!
As for samba, but played the rhythms in differnt groups on djembes.
This class clearly suffers from “percussion deprivation”, so we all played the different rhythms on an eclectic mixture of random instruments. This week I’ll encourage them to be more dscrimating about who playes when, in order to instroduce a variety of timbre, and choose which rhythms work better on the instruments.