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Methods to Incorporate Music Into Literature

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago
Don’t Stop the Music!
OLC Children and Teen Services Conference, August 2008
Cindy Brown cbrown@lakevilleschools.com                                Amy Brown abrown@worthingtonlibraries.org
Methods to Incorporate Music into Literature
Books with familiar melodies set to a new text: Take Me Out Of The Bathtub by Alan Katz
  • Sing regular song first. Kids can join in. They can use words or “loo,” “la,” hum, “zzz,” etc. to join in if they don’t know the song.
  • Read the story with the new words. Look for repeated words/phrases or chorus and teach that to the children. Read it again and have them join in when that phrase or chorus appears.
  • Read the new lyrics-omit obvious rhyming words. Kids fill in the “holes.” Sing and let the children fill in the blanks— singing or speaking.
  • Add instruments or movement to repeated or special phrase and/or chorus
  • Make up a short phrase for the children to chant while the leader sings the song. Ex: Take me out-I’m clean-hurray. (Pat lap twice, clap, arms up)
Books with a specific melody written for the story: Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
  • Learn the song and feel comfortable with it first. If you can’t read music, find someone who can help you or make up a tune you can remember.
  • If the tune is short and repeated often, you can teach it to the kids first. Begin with repeated nonsense words if any. Ex: Mary Mack
    Then you can break it down into short phrases-you sing and kids echo back.
    You can also try leaving out key/rhyming words and let the kids fill in.
    Change it up a little by asking: Can you sing it with a soft voice, strong voice, mad voice, cranky voice, etc…
  • Decide how much participation you want from the kids. You may want to jump right into the story and let the kids join in when they feel comfortable and have grasped some or all of the tune. Marsupial Sue Presents “The Runaway Pancake” by John Lithgow
Books with repetitive or catch phrases: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Make up a melody of your own—easy to remember
  • Use a familiar tune.
    Ex: Leader sings, “Brown bear, brown bear what do you see” to the first part of the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Children can sing back, “I see a red bird looking at me” echoing the same short melody.
Books that can incorporate sound effects: The Bremen Town Musicians by Lisbeth Zwerger.
  • The words may indicate the actual sound effect: “The door closed suddenly with a bang.”   Act it out if appropriate.
  • Books about animals are great to use. “What kind of sound does a __________ make?” 
    Work those sounds/actions into the story.
  • You can have the kids participate in unison or divide them into groups. Some stories introduce the animals one at a time and then bring them all together at the end of the tale. You can layer the sounds for this total “chaotic” noise at the end.
  • Incorporate movement/drama when possible in unison or divided groups.
  • Have a visual clue to indicate start and stop for crowd control.


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