Elementary School Music

Choral Music

Posted in Choral Music, Repertoire by P. Conrad on February 13, 2011

choral practice

The Choral Information Site offers a lot of useful material for directors and teachers.

The Internet Center for Choral Resources serves all choirs (adult, children, church).

The Choristers Guild serves primarily church choirs. Their catalog offers literacy materials and videos, including some on the master teacher Helen Kemp. Kemp’s video, Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice is sometimes hard to find.

At Musicanet, browse through 143,000 choral works available for download, for free.

Singers.com is a wonderful site primarily for a capella singing, and it offers a ton of print resources in its sections on “Teaching  Kids How to Sing.”

Young People’s Chorus of New York City


  • Teaching Kids to Sing by Ken Phillips (Wadsworth, 1996).

  • Teaching the Elementary School Chorus by Linda Swears (Parker, 1985).

  • Choral Music Experience by Doreen Rao, Vols 1-5, (Boosey & Hawkes, 1987).

  • Choral Music for Children. (MENC, 1990).

  • We Will Sing! (Boosey & Hawkes, 1994).


Trade Books for Teaching Music

Posted in Books for Teachers, Lesson Planning, Repertoire by P. Conrad on May 22, 2010

Trade Books for Teaching Music:  Click the link for a list of  illustrated books for use in the classroom.

The list provides only titles, authors’ or illustrators’ names, and ISBN numbers for research and shopping.

Most of the books are read-alouds (or sing-alouds) to present traditional folk songs with contextual illustrations.  The titles are listed in categories:

  1. Folk songs

  2. Read-alouds in which the subject has to do to music, or music-making — or where the non-music subject offers a good visual and narrative context for listening to recorded music.

  3. Illustrated biographies of composers or performers that are short and written for younger readers or listeners.

Many of the titles can be found in used editions on amazon.com. The information will be updated as often as possible. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

American Favorites

Posted in Repertoire by P. Conrad on February 22, 2010

In the last couple of years, the Smithsonian Institution has initiated a series of book-and-CD sets that includes some staples of the patriotic curriculum. The experience of learning from an illustrated read-aloud may preserve old songs at risk of being forgotten.

The titles include I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Home on the Range, The Star-Spangled Banner, You’re a Grand Old Flag, Take Me Out To the Ballgame, She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain, Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone, Give My Regards to Broadway, and Froggy Went a Courtin’ (which originated in Great Britain in the 16th century).

The series also includes the canon “Make New Friends.” The straightforward designs and accompanying recordings provided by the publisher, Soundprints, are perfectly adequate.  Each title includes sheet music, historical notes, and lyrics.

Arabic Songs for Children

Posted in Repertoire by P. Conrad on January 2, 2010

This collection is the result of a 2003 research project in the Dearborn, Michigan, schools and most of the songs and games are Yemeni in origin. Priced at $40 plus shipping this package includes a CD, a book and a performance videocassette. Apart from the very short holiday song Al Eid ga’a, most songs have no specifically Muslim content.

It includes 15 songs with Arabic text, English translations and transliteration.

1. Hunak Tunak, a hand-game; 2. Malik Tibki, a choosing game; 3. Sha Sha Sha, a partner/friendship game; 4. Salam; Salam, a circle hand-clapping, elimination game; 5. Dakel Yadee Gowah, Arabic “Hokey-Pokey;” 6. Al Eid ga’a, holiday song; 7. Wahed Howa Rabi, a counting song; 8. Yabanat, Yabanat, a call-and-response game; 9. Al Tha’alab wa Addeek, a Yemeni song about the fox and the rooster; 10. Ya Watani, Ya Yemeni, a patriotic song for Yemeni children; 11. Dhahabal lailo, (The Night Is Over); 12. Aliph, bet, tet, Arabic alphabet song; 13. Eideq Ya Mama, song of devotion to mothers; 14. Rabat al bait, (Mother of the House); 15. Khulsit (Bye-bye).

It was compiled by Susan Snyder who has a lot of other valuable materials for music teachers at AE IDEAs (Inventive Designs for Education & the Arts) website, including the excellent Music Memory curriculum for teaching Western art music appreciation.

Draw Me a Bucket of Water (Frog in a Bucket)

Posted in Repertoire by P. Conrad on December 6, 2009

Here’s a nice little video on School Tube with students at a Knoxville, TN school demonstrating the game from Bessie Jones’ classic collection Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage.

I never saw it end with that counted-down “dismount.” Usually the dancers turn one direction in a “bunch” and then loosen up and hold hands in a open circle of four so they can really fly around in the opposite direction (and maybe fall on the floor).

Draw Me a Bucket of Water (Georgia Sea Islands singing game)

Draw Me a Bucket of Water
Draw me a bucket of water
For my lady’s daughter
We got none [one, two, three, four] in the bunch
We’re all [three, two, one] out the bunch
You go under, sister Sally.
Frog in the bucket and I can’t get him out
Frog in the bucket and I can’t get him out
Frog in the bucket and I can’t get him out.
Frog in the bucket and I can’t get him out.

Nursery Rhymes with graphics for classroom use

Posted in Music Technology, Repertoire by P. Conrad on December 6, 2009

From one of Amy M. Burns‘s music ed blogs, here’s a link to a set of Mother Goose rhymes:

Hey Diddle-Diddle; Dance to Your Daddy; Baa Baa Black Sheep; Hickory Dickory Dock; This Little Piggy; Jack Be Nimble; Jack & Jill; There Was a Crooked Man; Little Jack Horner; Three Blind Mice; Twinkle Twinkle; Humpty Dumpty; Little Bo-Peep; I Had a Little Nut Tree; Little Miss Muffet; Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat; Old King Cole; Two Little Dicky-birds

for each rhyme you can download a printable illustrated poster; a set of printable cards for sequencing activities; and (for teachers who use an interactive whiteboard) a six-page Smart Notebook file with characters, scenes, sequencing activities and suggestions for activities in class. The cards and posters are Microsoft Word files.

The illustrations are well-done, and posters and cards could be printed as take-home activities for students.

Yo Quiero

Posted in Repertoire by P. Conrad on December 1, 2009

Yo Quiero music and lyrics by Leonardo Croatto

Yo quiero que a mi me quieran, yo quiero tener un nombre
Yo quiero que a mi me cuiden si me enfermo o estoy triste
Porque yo quiero crecer.
(I want everyone to love me; I want to have a name. I want to be taken care of, if I´m sick or if I´m sad, because I want to grow.)

Yo quiero saberlo todo, yo quiero que a mi me enseñen
Mi familia y mi maestra, a contar y a hacer las letras, y me quiero divertir!
(I want to know everything; I want them to teach me, my family and my teacher, to count and to spell, and I want to have fun!)

A jugar, a cantar, que me enseñen a ser libre y me digan la verdad.
A jugar, a cantar, que me escuchen cuando hablo y que no me hagan llorar.
(To play, to sing… let them teach me to be free, and tell me the truth. To play, to sing… let them listen when I talk, and not make me cry.)

Pero quiero que también todos los niños del mundo
tengan todo lo que quiero pues lo quiero compartir.
(But I also wish for all the kids of the world to have everything I wish for, ‘cause I also want to share it.)

A jugar, a cantar, que tengan todos los niños en el mundo su lugar
Vamos todos a cantar: pa’ que los niños del mundo tengan todos un lugar.
Vamos todos a ayudar todos los niños del mundo merecemos un lugar.
(To play, to sing… let all the kids in the world have their own place
Let´s all sing… for all the kids in the world to have a place.
Let´s all help all the kids in the world: we all deserve a place.)

(source information here)

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Early Childhood Songs and Rhymes

Posted in Repertoire by P. Conrad on November 18, 2009

To browse a collection of lyrics to many traditional standards for teaching music in early childhood, click on the “more…” tag, below.

Many thanks to the compiler, Walter Paul, who teaches music at P.S. 42 in Manhattan. He has provided brief a cappella MP3 files for melodies of any unfamiliar pieces, at      http://drop.io/songsandrhymeslevel1


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Children’s Songs and Games from Ecuador, Mexico, and Puerto Rico

Posted in Repertoire, Where-ever by P. Conrad on November 8, 2009

childrens songs and gamesHere’s a 1970 Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage CD (or download) that collects field recordings of children in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Ecuador playing and singing various games and songs. Some of the material will be familiar.

The music was collected and annotated by the late ethnomusicologist Henrietta Yurchenko, a “song-catcher,” scholar, and author of the biography Woody Guthrie: A Mighty Hard Road.

The Folkways collection costs $17 on CD or cassette but just $9 as a download. Click on the cover art for more information.

Rhymes, Chants, & Folk Songs from Mexico

Posted in Books for Teachers, Repertoire by P. Conrad on August 29, 2009

elpatiodemicasaEl Patio de Mi Casa: 41 Rhymes, Chants & Folk Songs from Mexico is a new collection published by GIA Publications. Gabriela Montoya-Stier has collected, translated, analyzed each piece with game directions, teaching suggestions and cultural background information.   An accompanying CD is available for an additional $15.

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