Here is a traditional song for children, which I have adapted for piano. The aim of this piece is to improve the co-ordination of the two hands where the left hand marks the pulse. The left hand starts slowly at first, marking just the first beat of each bar with a semibreve (whole note). Then as the piece continues the left hand changes to minims (half notes) and finally crotchets (quarter notes).
I arranged this piece as a preparatory step for my students before tackling Driving Force by Fiona Macardle from Piano Time Jazz Book 1. This piece is currently set for the Trinity College London’s Initial Grade.
The original song is sung with five verses. Verse one starts with one hammer and the children bang one fist. Two hammers are two fists, three include a stamping foot, by four hammers we’re stamping both feet (you probably need to do this sat down unless you’re happy jumping) and finally five hammers includes a bobbing head! The children love it. I discovered it in Jolly Music Level 1.
I am doing some Christmas singing with the 20th Worcester Beaver Scout group on Friday. I wanted to do some Kodaly-based songs and needed them to be Xmas themed! So here are my alternative lyrics to Doggie Doggie Where’s Your Bone (a favourite with my own sons!) entitled Santa Santa Where’s Your Sleigh!
It uses a small toneset of so mi and la so makes it ideal for young primary aged children, especially those learning musicianship using the Kodaly approach.
To play the game you need at least three singers! Although I’ve done it before with two and a sock puppet (don’t ask!!). One is Santa, the guesser. They turn their backs on the other children. You choose one of the remaining children to “steal” the sleigh. At the end, Santa has to guess who stole the sleigh by identifying their voice, or position in the room. It’s clearly a better game with more children but my boys don’t seem to mind guessing between me or their brother!
The original game can be found in the brilliant Jolly Music for Beginners by Cyrilla Rowsell and David Vinden
Here is a Christmas nativity song I wrote called Sleeping In A Stable. It uses the limited solfa toneset of do mi so and la. This is ideal for Reception/Early Years children (aged 4-5) or any child learning singing and musicianship using the Kodaly approach.
It could also be used in piano lessons. You could teach the child to sing the song, away from the score. Then demonstrate that they can play the melody by ear using just the black keys.
On the black keys the required keys are do = F#; mi = Bb; so = C#; la = Eb
On the score do = C; mi = E; so = G; la = A
The song would fit into the nativity as Mary and Joseph settle down in the stable. They are not too impressed with their accommodation and are worried about getting to sleep with all the animal noises! You can alter the number of verses depending on which animals you want to add to the stable. I have included horses, ducks, hens, cows and dogs! I’ve saved the sheep to arrive with the shepherds later on!
Let me know if you use it!!