20 activities to do with one simple chant!

Isn’t it great that we never need to run out of ideas or resources when you can do at least 20 brilliant activities with just one simple chant?  (Obviously there are always more to do but 20 is plenty to start with!)

Take a simple chant – 4 lines, 4 beats in each line, using only the rhythms Ta and Te-te.

‘Bee, bee, bumble bee               (Ta, ta, te-te ta)

Stung a man upon his knee       (Te-te  te-te  te-te ta)

Stung a pig upon his snout         (Te-te  te-te-  te-te  ta)

I say you’re out!’                          (Ta, ta, ta, ta)

Then get started on your activities!

  1. Chant
  2. Chant and tap the pulse on knees
  3. Chant and clap the rhythm
  4. Think the words and clap the rhythm
  5. Say it to rhythm names (Ta and te-te)
  6. Half tap pulse on knees, half clap rhythm
  7. (swap)
  8. Play the Rhythm and Pulse game *
  9. Play the out loud/in your head game *
  10. Chant and tap the pulse on instruments
  11. Chant and tap the rhythm on instruments
  12. Half tap pulse on one timbre of instruments and half tap rhythm on another
  13. (swap)
  14. Create a rhythm composition on instruments *
  15. Chant and walk the pulse
  16. Chant and walk the rhythm
  17. Walk the pulse and clap the rhythm
  18. Walk the rhythm and clap the pulse
  19. Tap the pulse on one knee and the rhythm on the other
  20. Chant while clapping an ostinato! *
Music Curriculum levels

Music Curriculum levels

If you want any further explanations of the games that have stars by them (*) please visit http://www.activemusicdigital.co.uk , register for a FREE TRIAL and you can instantly download 40 lesson plans for free and watch the children doing all these activities for 10 days at your leisure! We would love to see you there!


How to see active learning taking place in every music lesson!

When I was first told by an inspector that she wanted to see PROOF that EVERY child was PROGRESSING in their musical skills in EVERY music lesson, I wanted to turn the tables back on her and ask her to demonstrate! I was fairly new in the school. I taught over 200 children and only saw each class for half an hour a week. I barely knew the children’s names let alone exactly where they were in their musical progress. However, being polite, I took on board what she said but secretly put the thought in a corner of my mind where I considered it was pretty much impossible.

cropped-hoop.jpgHowever, I soon realised there was a brilliant way to visibly SEE progress taking place within a child’s learning – you can’t track individual progress in total detail in this way but you can definitely see highly motivated children owning their own musical progress.

If you take a chant or a song that the children already know, you can then focus on the actual musical skills they are developing through it.

Studio shoot for the Interactive Music Club taken on 28/06/09I put the children in groups and give them lists to chart their own progress.  They need to achieve the first task and be seen doing it well in order to be allowed to move on to the next task! An example is this:

I had a year 1 class and took a chant they knew backwards and inside out – I made sure all the children fully knew this chant so none of their learning time would go on trying to remember it and all their attention would be on the associated musical skills.

I put them in mixed ability groups of about 6 in each group – so each group had one or two musically able children who could develop their skills by conducting and by also supporting the children who weren’t so musically adept. With each task they needed to start and finish at the same time. The list of tasks went like this.

  1. Chant
  2. Chant and clap the pulse
  3. Chant and clap the rhythm
  4. THINK and clap the rhythm
  5. Chant and PLAY the rhythm on claves
  6. THINK and PLAY the rhythm on claves

With each task, the musical skills were becoming more complex. If you want to go further with older children you can add:

7. Chant while half tap the pulse and half tap the rhythm                                                         8.  Walk the pulse and clap the rhythm                                                                                     9.  Walk the rhythm and clap the pulse                                                                                 10.  Tap the pulse on one knee and the rhythm on the other

There are always ways to take skills to the next level in order to take able children further!

You can definitely see active learning taking place with this model. The children can only move on when ALL of the group have achieved their task but this is great for relationships, encouragement and also patience! It helps them to work out how to help each other. They are all highly motivated to achieve the next level and they have to PROVE they have reached one level before moving on to the next by performing them to you or another teacher in the room. They own their own learning and they are highly motivated to get to the instrument stage if they can.

3619055This way of teaching encourages working together and learning patience, especially if there are one or two children who really need help to stay on task. I find it encouraging to see my children being so kind and enthusiastic with each other while also being fully engaged in the learning progress!

If you’d like more ideas like these or to see the children doing these activities, please visit http://www.activemusicdigital.co.uk and sign up for a free trial. You can download 40 lesson plans for free and have full access to over 600 videos for 10 whole days. Enjoy!

To learn a little more about Active Music Digital, please watch the video below.

If you have any questions for me, please email Sally at office@activemusicdigital.co.uk.


Music skills for primary children – complex or simple?

1846671Sometimes I think teachers who don’t have musical training see music teaching as being as complicated as THIS! Does teaching music have to be this complicated??? NO!!!! You can go right back to the very beginning with music as you can with letters and numbers!

It can be easy, colourful, fun, interactive, straight-forward and progressive in positive little steps! Even though I have a music degree, my favourite part of music is making skills EASY and fun for children and teachers, Think THIS!



You can almost feel the learning taking place when looking at this picture! Here, rhythms are broken down into the simplest of components – Ta for a crotchet, Te-te for 2 quavers and a ‘Z’ for a rest (each worth one beat – it’s like very basic maths)  The children already know the chant – ‘Mice, mice, eating all the rice, nibble nibble nibble nibble, nice, nice, nice!’ They are looking at how it is notated and are playing a game with it – one is playing on the Ta’s, one is playing on the Te-te’s and one is playing on the rest. They are learning pulse, rhythm, keeping in time, starting and finishing at the same time and also about different timbres.They are continuously working things out and thinking things through. For you, once you grasp just these 3 elements of rhythm, there are heaps of games and activities the children can play with them, including composing and improvising!

Still feel overwhelmed?  That’s why I created VIDEOS of all the activities involved and all the processes the children need to know, so you can learn the activities alongside them. Everything has been done to help you and your staff to be able to understand and enjoy loads of games and musical activities with your primary children – EASILY!!! Honestly!

AND…. through these activities you will be covering all the practical music-making elements of the music National Curriculum!

If you already know all these aspects of teaching music you may feel like this is an element patronising. However, if you are a music specialist in a school it will be your job to teach and inspire all your staff. By allowing us to explain music in this way to your staff and for them to all have personal access to our 600 videos and lesson plans, we can really help you to share the skills of music teaching, easily, to everyone.

2981798Feel free to go in and have a really good look at what’s been made for you.  We WANT to make your music teaching as easy as possible and for you to find lots of games and ideas. You can download 40 lesson plans for free and will have access to all the 600 video clips for 10 days. Nothing to lose! My gift to you! Enjoy!

To access the free trial please go to http://www.activemusicdigital.co.uk and click on ‘start free trial’.