Activities for families or friends to share, based on a selection of our online music. Click on a link to open the player, or to view the lyrics. Double click on the 'play' button to stream and play the music (you must have pop-ups enabled).
Cuckoo | Lyrics
Tyrolean folk dancers would probably give this the ‘schulplatter’ treatment - vigorous dancing, with much stamping and slapping of thighs, and children will enjoy creating their own sequences of rhythmic movements to the tune. If the group includes a chair-bound member, the song can be treated as a seated dance. Choose a leader to invent a 3-beat sequence of movement for others to imitate,
1.Slap thighs - 2. Tap shoulders 3. Clap
For the yodelling chorus, try a repeated action (finger snaps, patting knees, etc.), interrupted by two claps on "... are you?" and "... Cuckoo!"
Part A1 could be divided between two players, or singers, one playing "Cuckoo, where are you?" and the other, "Cuckoo!" (See "Winter, Goodbye", below, for a suggestion to use this part as an introduction to recorder playing.)
A little game could be played in the chorus with a blindfolded group member singing "Cuckoo, where are you" and endeavouring to identify who sings, or plays, "Cuckoo!"
Morning Has Broken
A more reflective moment. For copyright reasons, no words are given for this song. However, many people know at least one verse and will enjoy singing it. As suggested in the score, sound 123 (124) on General Midi Keyboards (Birds) can be used to add ‘birdsong’ to the arrangement.
Hot Cross Buns | Lyrics
This is the cry of a pedlar (US peddler), selling his wares. If you have a small bell, this would be ideal for the ‘pedlar’ to play (each time the ‘hot cross buns’ rhythm appears). Alternatively, part A1 could be played on chime bars, glockenspiel, keyboard, etc., or sung (an octave lower than written!) Children can mime ringing the handbell for the pedlar’s cry and at the words "One a penny, two a penny" can make sound effects for children running out to greet the pedlar (tapping with alternate hands on any available surface).
For the middle (instrumental) section, anyone not involved in playing a melody instrument can raid the kitchen to find baking tins, plates and spoons. Group 1 plays the baking tins, tapping with their spoons, and Group 2 plays on plates, in similar fashion. The groups can play along in alternate bars, imitating one of the rhythms they hear being played on the melody instruments. Younger, or less coordinated children can count the four beats, playing freely for the duration of the appropriate bar. Where physical response is slow, it is helpful if someone gives a signal to prepare the movement, in advance of the player’s entry.
Winter, Goodbye | Lyrics
If children sing the "Goodbye!" (Part A1), they will enjoy the harmony created when another part sounds an F against the A of their "bye". These exclamations are cued in the vocal part, so that an adult can indicate where they should sung, or played. If you have a confident male vocalist to sing the middle section, it is nice to have a change of colour, brought about by resting the treble voices, at that point.
Part A1 can be played on any instrument that can sound the two notes. This affords a good opportunity to introduce a child to basic principles of recorder playing: If tape (preferably the clear sort) is placed over the thumb hole and the second left-hand tone hole, the ‘Goodbye!’ interval, C -A, can be played by raising and lowering just the left-hand index finger (up for C, down for A). The child can concentrate on finding the appropriate blowing technique and practise closing just one tone-hole at a time, within a musical context.* If the "Cuckoo" song were transposed to F Major (-2), the cuckoo calls in that song could be similarly played.
*First, if possible, have the child sing the interval to "du-du" and then try to ‘sing’ it into the recorder, so that the notes start with a gentle tonguing action.
Spring | Lyrics
It is effective to have some singers swelling the vocal part on the words "Praise Him" and "Praise Him, the Lord of Creation" or to play the melody notes, just at these points. "Praise Him" uses the two notes A-G.
When everyone is thoroughly familiar with the song, it can be extended by improvising a ‘birdsong’ interlude, before repeating the song. Choose from the notes C, D, E, G, A, although it isn’t necessary for anyone to use them all. Very effective bird calls can be created with just two notes.
If you have a decent General Midi keyboard, see the note about ‘Bird’ in the "Morning Has Broken" section, above.
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