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Hello & Welcome Songs for Elementary Music Class


 

Hello! Welcome! 

Greetings are a common social norm whenever we are out in public or invite people into our homes.  Greeting songs serve the same purposes in our music classrooms - to make our students feel welcome and to set the tone for the day. Here is one of my favorites, Hello Everybody!


Hello Everybody

This song has been around for a LONG time!  While I included a video below, I hardly ever use an accompaniment with this song in my practice.  There are several features that make this a very versatile piece that can be used across grade levels.  


First, the melody and lyrics are simple enough for our youngest students.  Add a simple waving motion to the first half of the song and a two-handed conducting movement to the second half to reinforce/practice steady beat.  Here is one version of the notation: 


Second, the harmony only includes two chords. This makes it very simple to sing the chord root bass line.  As soon as my students are secure with the melody, especially second grade and up, I begin to sing the bass line along with them. Eventually, students will begin to sing the bass line with me, and then we can put them together to create harmony.  This simple bass line can also be played on Orff instruments or ukuleles.

Third, you can play games that get kids moving and practice skills at the same time.  I learned this game in my GIML Elementary General Level I course. Students walk in curvy pathways around the designated space, waving and singing the song, then freeze at the end and face the student nearest them.  Everyone should attempt to have a partner, but don't stress over this.  Groups of three are acceptable.  

The next part of the game involves singing tonal patterns and can be teacher-led or student-led, depending on the skill level of your students. Students should remain frozen in their spot for this part of the game.

  • The easiest level would have the teacher sing a tonic pattern (do-mi-sol in any order) or a dominant pattern (sol-fa-re-ti in any order) and students echo the exact same pattern while shaking hands with their partner.  When hand shaking is not advisable, try it with a hand motion or body movement.  These tonal patters can be sung on a neutral syllable such as "bum" or using solfege. 
  • If you have been practicing and are ready for a challenge, try this.  Teacher sings a tonic pattern and students respond with a DIFFERENT tonic pattern.  For example, if I sing do-mi-sol, a student might respond with sol-mi-do or mi-sol-do. This can be done as a whole group at first.  It will sound messy, but that gives students a chance to try it out in a nonthreatening environment where they can make mistakes without consequence. After a few rounds, you can ask for volunteers to sing alone.
  • For another challenge, after the teacher sings a tonic pattern, students answer with a dominant pattern.  At first, to keep it simple because we are doing this round whole-group, I give students a specific dominant pattern that they should all sing together at the appropriate time.  After a few rounds, I change the pattern. Eventually, students will build a familiar pattern vocabulary and be able to choose a familiar pattern from the patterns that they know. Be sure to take turns being first in this game.  Let the students sing the tonic patterns and you sing the dominant.  
  • Finally, once students have build a tonal pattern vocabulary, this call/response portion of the activity can be totally done by the students.  Remember, they are standing and looking at a partner.  While shaking hands, one student sings a tonic pattern and the partner student answers.  All of the steps above can be incorporated into this step.  The first time you do this, the partner may echo the pattern exactly.  During later classes, you may direct the partner to respond with a different tonic pattern or a dominant pattern. Be sure to have students take turns being the leader!
The key to keeping students engaged is to keep this game moving.  Whatever level of patterns you choose, lead only 2-4 call & responses, then immediately go back to singing the song, walking & waving, freezing at the end for a few more call & response patterns.  Repeat this sequence for several repetitions.  One way to end the game is this:  while students are frozen tell them that they should be at their seats by the time the song is over. Then sing the song as they walk to their seats.

Tonal Pattern Sheet

Have you worked with call & response tonal patterns before?  These tonic & dominant patterns are simple, right.  Do, mi, sol, in any order.  Sol, fa, re, ti, in any order.  When I first began to use this type of activities, I found that I froze when trying to think a pattern.  Almost as bad were the days that I sang the same pattern over and over.  If this might be you, download this little "cheat sheet" of 2-note & 3-note patterns to get you started.  After a few times, you will no longer need this sheet!


I really do love it when the same song serves so many purposes in my curriculum!  In what ways do you use greeting songs in your music classroom?  I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Look for More Hello & Welcome Songs in my next post!





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