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Music - Going down a storm

What it's all about

With the plethora of songbooks now available in shops and online, primary teachers are spoilt for choice and may be tempted to cover too many vocal activities, leaving no time to exploit the learning potential, writes Sue Carroll.

Revisiting a song in a more challenging context can demonstrate how progression works. If a song encountered in Year 3 (P3), sung in unison with an appropriate percussion part, is revisited in Year 5 (P5) to a more exacting vocal standard, with harmonies and more demanding accompaniment, pupils will experience musical progression layered through a piece.

Teach the copyright-free song Storm, to the tune of What Shall we do with a Drunken Sailor?:

Skies growing black; the rain is lashing (D min)

Silvery streaks where lightning's flashing! (C maj)

Thunder is rolling. Hear it crashing! (D min)

Here comes stormy weather! (C maj; D min on "weather"), etc

to Year 3, aiming for tuneful, clear unison singing. Add simple accompaniments on untuned percussion, using repeated rhythmic patterns (ostinati) guided by syllable patterns - "Pour-ing rain" and "Wet wea-ther". Then revisit the song with Year 5, starting on note A to accommodate the harmony. Introduce the partner song, to the traditional melody of Sinner Man, also on A: "Rain's coming down, quick, run for cover x3Here comes the storm!"

Sing the two songs together. They are built around the same chords, D minor and C major, alternately. Encourage pupils to experiment with this harmonic structure.

What else?

Sing along to DonnaJMinto's song Recycle. bit.lyRecycleItSong.

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