Beatle music in class

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Maurice Walsh takes you on a trip in the Yellow Submarine Go to for a site dedicated to last year's album of hits, Beatles 1. Number 15 - "Yellow Submarine" - offers audio clips of Ringo and Paul talking about how this children's song came to be, video clips, photos and other stuff. Here are a few suggestions for using "Yellow Submarine" in your music lessons. You will find words and music in Aamp;C Black's Apusskidu, but do make sure you check out the copyright position.

Key stage 1

* Sing the chorus with everyone tapping the pulse on their knees.

* Sing the chorus with everyone clapping the rhythm of the words.

* Can one half tap the pulse while the others clap the rhythm as you sing?

* Clap the rhythm of the words "yellow submarine" over and over, creating a rhythmic ostinato. The children can chant in a whisper.

* Can one group clap this ostinato pattern as the rest sing the chorus?

* When these two activities are secure, use classroom instruments in place of the tapping and clapping. This demands much more right-brainleft-brain co-ordination than you might think, and some children will need extra time to acquire the basic skills.

* Use other word patterns from the song as ostinati - for example, "Sea of Green", "All aboard", "Begins to play".

* Play Copy Me. Clap or play the rhythm of phrases from the song, and have the children copy you. Keep a steady beat.


We all live (rest) Class: We all live (rest)

L: Yellow Submarine (rest)

C:Yellow Submarine (rest)

L: Sky of Blue (rest-rest)

C:Sky of Blue (rest-rest)

(A rest is silent. You can indicate a rest when clapping rhythms by moving your hands apart with palms upwards.) * Can the children identify the phrases without hearing the words?

* Can a volunteer lead the class?

* The recording has a non-sung section. Can the children identify it? What makes the difference between speaking and singing?

Years 3 and 4

All the above activities could be developed by Years 3 and 4. In addition: * Two or more ostinato patterns can be clappedplayed together.

Group 1: We all live (rest) We all live (rest)...

Group 2: Sky of blue (rest-rest) Sky of blue (rest-rest)...

* Clap or play these as accompaniments to the singing.

* For extension, let them develop the lyrics. A new verse, for example, or bits to be sung or chanted between the phrases:

"In the town in Chinatown where I was born on Saturday morn Lived a man, it's Dapper Dan, who sailed to sea the A B-sea"

* Let them compose, on an instrument of their choice, a different tune for the original lyrics, then record it using their own notation and teach it to the others. Start with the chorus.

* Design and produce a version of the lyrics on a computer using suitable fonts, clip-art, Dazzle software scanned or cut-and-paste images.

You can order a Singalong CD, Kids Sing Beatles by The Starbugs. The recordings are "at suitable pitch and will encourage any reluctant singer". Go to and click on Kids Sing Beatles.

Best of all, give the kids a treat - show them George Dunning's brilliantly inventive animated film Yellow Submarine and see the effects on their art work!

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