Someone recently asked if I could recommend a round for the beginning of the school year. Don’t get me started, because I could go on and on. But, the start of school is a busy time, so I’ve only had time to prepare visuals for a few: Toembai, One May Begin, and Debka Hora. You’ll find each of these rounds with full notation and lyrics, and Debka Hora with rhythm and solfége examples as well.
Would you use the same round for every grade level? Probably not! Most teachers don’t see their students as often as they’d like, so every song has to pack a powerful punch. I never teach a song just because I like it. It has to be extremely useful and enjoyable for the students. So, choose wisely.
Once you’ve chosen the right piece and taught it to the class, how do you get young singers to sing in a round? Here are a few ideas that have worked for me. First, let them begin in unison. Play the second part of the round on a xylophone. A recorder is also nice, but if you use a xylophone, you can pick up singing their part if they falter. Then allow the class to sing part one, you sing part two, and play the xylophone for part three (if there is one). Finally, divide the class in half, sing the third part, and play the xylophone as the fourth part. This is a gradual release of responsibility. On another day, perhaps the students can sing all parts independently!