• Jenny Ferris

Cup Song


After the release of the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect, you'd be hard-pressed to be in the same room as an adolescent and a cup without hearing some version of the Cup 'Song. You know the one. But just in case you've been under a rock since then, here it is:

It's actually a brilliant ostinato and offers a wealth of teaching opportunities (it's become a staple of my tika-ti strategy since then, for instance).

It has also taken off across pop culture, inspiring other renditions of the song, such as this one by Kaboom Percussion

If you (like me) struggle to pick up the pattern when it is performed at full speed, here's a good little teaching video for the basic pattern:

Now that you've mastered it, you're good to go! All you need are some cups and a sense of enthusiasm! I use these multi-coloured sets of cups from Ikea and the enthusiasm is partly homegrown, partly caffeine-fuelled!

In addition to the song from the movie, you can also add this cup song pattern as an ostinato to other well-known repertoire, such as John Kanaka! In case you're unfamiliar with John Kanaka, it's a folk song/sea shanty which is great for older students due to its dotted rhythms and that it works well to introduce so to older beginners who're using a do-re-mi based program.

On an ethnomusicological note, one should be aware that the term "John Kanaka" is a name for a person of Polynesian descent and there are mixed reports about whether this nickname is affectionate or derogatory.

Take a look at the Lost Quays (amazing band name) and their rendition of this wonderful combo.

Have you used this cup ostinato with any other repertoire? Comment with your ideas below!

#Rhythm #Ostinato

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