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  • Writer's pictureJenny Ferris

Songs with Props

As part of my video series to help teachers adapt to remote teaching, here are a few more clips that you can feel free to share with your students. These are fun songs for the students to learn and perform at home or record themselves and send to you for assessment.

Each of these songs features a prop that can easily be found in the home, to add an extra element of fun to your students' musical learning!

John Kanaka with the Cup Song

Yes, I'm sure you're all familiar with (and possibly sick to death of) the cup song pattern. It was made famous in the movie Pitch Perfect and soon it could be heard in schools across the globe.

I think it works as a really successful ostinato though (and it's great to transcribe if your students are working on tika-ti!) and you can breathe some fresh life into it by pairing it with a new song.

In this case, I've added it to John Kanaka - a sea shanty (and therefore a favourite!) but it can work with so many songs.

I must give credit for this idea to shanty group The Lost Quays, who I believe were the original performers of this wonderful combination.

You can also check out Kaboom Percussion's magical version - see if you can spot the moment they add the water!

J'entends le Moulin

J'entends le Moulin is a beautiful French folk in a minor key which, when coupled with the chopstick tapping pattern, engages your older students so well!

Once again, the ostinato is very simple and could therefore offer a great composition task, allowing students to flex their creative muscles and come up with something more complex.

Bee, Bee

A variation on the classic "Bee, Bee" that I learned as part of my Kodaly levels, this is a great elimination chant. If your students are in isolation and unable to tag out others, they can use teddies or buttons or, as I did, cups!

Shanghai Chicken

I absolutely LOVE teaching this song as part of my tika-tika unit! It's a rather silly song, but my students have such fun with the ball-tossing ostinato. In this video, I'm actually using an egg shaker to add an instrumental component, but if your students don't have an egg shaker at home then a tennis ball or hackey sack or anything of a similar size will do.

The game can be made more complex by tossing the ball to another person on the final hooray (and subsequently catching a different ball being thrown to you at the same time) - this can make for some rather frantic - but ultimately very fun - music making!

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