Elementary School Music

Books for Music Teachers

Posted in Books for Teachers, Where-ever by P. Conrad on February 13, 2011

The following lists are not at all complete. Most of the following titles are either song collections or texts written for teachers of music. In addition there are trade books that illustrate a traditional song.

Check the on-line catalogs of the NY Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library for availability of these books and others. Typical call numbers for Music Education begin with 372. or 780.

To purchase books, see the mail order companies listed at the bottom of the Purchasing for Schools page. In many cases, clean used copies of texts can be found at very low prices on-line by checking at amazon or another online bookseller.

Song Collections:

Bradford, Louise Larkins. Sing It Yourself: 220 Pentatonic American Folk Songs (Alfred Publ., 1978) ISBN: 0882840622.

Choksy, L. & Brummit, D. 120 Singing Games and Dances for Elementary Schools (Prentice-Hall, 1987) ISBN: 013635038001.

Locke, Eleanor G. Sail Away (Boosey & Hawkes, 1988).

Johnson, Richard. Folk Songs North America Sings (1984), dist. by Hal Leonard.

Jones, Bessie and Bess Lomax Hawes. Step it Down (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1987).

Rao, Doreen. We Will Sing (Boosey & Hawkes, 1993).

Kenney, Maureen. Circle Round the Zero (MMB, 1975) ISBN: 0918812089

Erdei, P. & Komlos, K. 150 American Folk Songs to Sing, Read, and Play (9th printing, (Boosey & Hawkes, 1989) ISBN: 0913932043.

Trinka, J. (1996). The Little Black Bull and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 4 (CD and book), Folk Music Works. ISBN: 1-888895-41-1.

_______. (1989). John, the Rabbit and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 3 (CD and book). Folk Music Works.

_______. (1988). Bought Me a Cat and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 2 (CD and Book). Folk Music Works.

_______. (1987). My Little Rooster and Other Folk Songs, Singing Games, and Play Parties for Kids of All Ages, Vol. 1 (CD and Book). Folk Music Works. (ISBN for the 4-volume set is 1-888895-04-7.)

Some Books About Music Teaching:

Choksy, Lois. The Kodály Method I and II (3rd edition, Prentice-Hall,1999).

_______. Teaching Music Effectively in the Elementary School (Prentice Hall, 1991). ISBN 0138927049

Choksy, Lois, Robert M. Abramson, Avon E. Gillespie, and David Woods, Teaching Music in the Twentieth Century (Prentice Hall, 1986). An overview of Orff, Kodály, and Dalcroze.

Eisen, Ann. & Robertson, Lamar. An American Methodology. (Sneaky Snake Pub.,1996) by two Louisiana-based Kodály master teachers.

Forrai, K. Music in Preschool, 2nd edition, translated and adapted by Jean Sinor. (Brisbane: James Ferguson,1998). ISBN: 0958629706.

Frazee, Jane. Discovering Orff (Schott, 1987)

Houlahan, Michael. & Tacka, Phillip. Sound Thinking: Developing Musical Literacy, Vol. I and II. (Boosey and Hawkes, 1995) ISBN: 0913932531, a teacher’s guide for Kodály-based instruction.

Phillips, Ken. Teaching Kids to Sing (Wadsworth, 1996). ISBN 0028717953. Indispensable.

Rozmajzl, Michon, and Boyer, Rene C. Music Fundamentals, Methods, and Materials for the Elementary Classroom Teacher (with audio CD), 4th edition, Allyn & Bacon, 2005) ISBN: 0205449646.

Rozmajzl, Michon, and Castleberry, Rosalie. Rhythm and Melody Concepts: A Sequential Approach for Children (Pencil Point Press, 1995) ISBN: 1881641139.

Shehan-Campbell, Patricia, Carol Scott-Kassner. Music In Childhood, 2nd (Schirmer, 2001).

Steen, Arvida, Exploring Orff, (Schott, 1992)

Swears, Linda. Teaching the Elementary School Chorus (Parker Publ., 1985) ISBN 0138925143

Valerio, Wendy, H., Alison M. Reynolds, Beth M. Bolton, Cynthia C. Taggart, and Edwin E. Gordon. Music Play. (GIA Publications, 1998) Provides a basic understanding of Edwin Gordon’s ideas.

Weikart, Phyllis. Teaching Movement and Dance: A Sequential Approach to Rhythmic Understanding. (5th ed., High Scope, 2003) ISBN 1573791326

Wiggins, Jackie. Teaching for Musical Understanding. (McGraw-Hill, 2001).

Trade Books:

Basal Series (textbooks):
Major textbook publishers have their own graded textbook series for music education, and some teachers find these very useful. Each of the following series has a publisher’s website packed with learning materials, and teachers resources that anyone can access. Click on the title of any of the series listed below, to visit those sites.

Spotlight on Music (Macmillan, 2005).

Share the Music (Macmillan, 2003).

Making Music (Silver Burdett Ginn) SBG’s website is especially rich in resources and links of value for music teachers.


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.

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.

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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Teacher-directed staff development

Posted in Events, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on November 15, 2009

flip photo. . . at a meeting of elementary school music teachers, organized and hosted by Craig McGorry at P.S. 35 in the Bronx, on November 3, 2009.

16 people attended, some of them from schools as far away as Brooklyn.  Participants discussed and shared activities (body percussion, movement to music, xylophone work, singing rounds, rhythm notation games, etc.), including:
  • Body Percussion Rondo:  “Everyone learned it, then broke into four groups.  Each group spent about 10 minutes coming up with their own 4-measure ideas.  We then regrouped and combined the parts with the A-section from the original rondo.  The result is an activity that moves from learning a piece to composing other sections and finally performing them.”
Other material demonstrated on the videos includes:
  • Body Movement: to identify different sections from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (presented by Evan Alboum of P.S. 246, Bronx).
  • Macro-Beat Awareness: activity presented by Fay Watson of P.S. 75, Manhattan)
  • Two African-American handgames —Hambone and Juba (presented by David Haiman of P.S. 180, Manhattan).
  • Balafón: Orff arrangement for 2nd graders, from Walt Hampton’s Hot Marimba (presented by David Haiman) .
  • Kokoleoko: a Liberian folk song acappella arrangement
  • I Won’t Go to Macy’s Anymore: a schoolyard rhyme (presented by Walter Paul of P.S. 42, Manhattan)
  • John Kanaka: a Pacific Islands sea shanty with circle play
Mr. McGorry writes: “What made it work so well was that different voices contributed.  Also, we kept bringing it back to the practical:  how do you use this in a classroom?  What are the potential problems that you could encounter in doing this?  How do you avoid those problems?”

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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Values & Social Justice

Posted in Repertoire, Values & Social Justice by P. Conrad on May 20, 2006
Teaching music is partly about social studies, whether or not this aspect is made explicit in every lesson. Songs composed especially to deliver a lesson about social values are sometimes weak choices for children’s music, both lyrically and musically — and sound like summer-camp songs from the 1960s. Here are a few exceptions:
  • Family Tree by Tom Chapin and John Forster is wordy, but fun to sing and think about. MP3 sample at amazon.
  • Yo quiero comes from the Inter-American Children’s Institute. The IIN multimedia page has animated video and lyrics (see “I Wish”) but our translation of  Leonardo Croatta’s lyrics are a little better. There’s also a YouTube version. Both videos use the recording by Uruguayan candombe star Ruben Rada (he’s the 2011 Lifetime Achievement award-winner of the Latin Recording Academy). The MP3 is a little hard to find as a download, but it’s worth looking for.
  • Don’t Laugh at Me is the centerpiece of an anti-bullying curriculum called Operation Respect.
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