It seems like most elementary music teachers right now are teaching at least some virtual lessons. We’re also faced with social distancing, which complicates most of the games we’d normally play during class. That’s why I recommend using the song Alcitrón for your lessons. Here are a few reasons to use it:
- It has a catchy tune that students enjoy.
- We need to incorporate multicultural music in our lessons, and this one is accessible to students.
- Instead of playing the traditional passing game in a circle, try playing a modified version. (More information below.)
- This song can be used with multiple grade levels. Change the focus depending on the concept they’re studying.
- Add a simple low so,-do ostinato while singing and playing to help keep the beat.
In which grade level do you teach your students the concept of low so,? Teach the song to that grade level and use it to practice the low so,-do interval. Here are solfege only examples in F and G.
In which grade level do you teach your students dotted quarter notes followed by eighth notes? Teach the song to that grade level and use it to practice those rhythms. Here are examples with only the rhythms, and on the staff without lyrics in F and G.
This game also provides a strong framework to practice steady beat. If you have older beginners, use it to practice a limited number of pitches (low so,-do-re-mi). More information about this song can be found on the Holy Names University Kodaly Center Collection.
Modified Game: (A local fast food restaurant donated plastic cups for my music class. After a class uses them, I sanitize them for the next group.) Each student has a cup in front of them on their right side. They pick up the cup on the anacrusis, turn it and put it down to their left on the next beat. They continue picking up and turning it, end to end and side to side, on each beat until the triki-triki-trón. For that part, they tap to one side, tap on the other, and return the cup to the original position. But you don’t have to play it this way. If there are other motions you’d rather use, please do. I made these up.
A colleague made a different passing game to go with the song Long Road of Iron that is similar. It uses the four corners of a desk or carpet square. Students tap in each corner in order until the end. They sing and play several times, getting faster in each round.
What else can you do with cups? For The Pebble Song and Button You Must Wander, I place an object under three cups and move it around as the students sing. At the end of the song, someone guesses which cup hides the object.
How have you modified games?