Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Dance with the Irish" for Elementary Music – games, instruments, round singing and recorder music

As the cold weather persists, we march boldly into spring and quickly approach a fun classroom holiday – St. Patrick’s Day!  With its cultural connections, exciting music and colorful tones, St. Patrick’s is a great opportunity for lesson planning, particularly in the Music Room.  I wrote “Dance with the Irish” as a multi-purpose song that has so far proven to be fun for all grades and useful in a variety of settings.


Our fourth and fifth graders play along with the fast-paced track for this song on recorders, an exercise for developing skills with those early notes (G, A and B).  The music includes an A and B section, helpful for reinforcing form in music.  (

Singing with motions and in a round

A section

Dance with the Irish

All through the day,

Sing and beat the drum,

Dance the night away!

B section

I, I like the Irish life,

I, I like the Irish life,

I, I like the Irish life,

I, I like the Irish life!

The song itself can be sung in a round using the A and B sections.  I begin by echo-teaching with motions:

·        “Dance with the Irish” – create your own dance move

·        “All through the day” – spread hands over head to represent sunshine

·        “Sing and beat the drum” – cup hands to mouth, then beat an imaginary drum

·        “Dance the night away” – create your own dance move

·        “I, I like the Irish life” – use thumbs to point to self, then do a dance move

 After singing together with the motions, we sing the song in two groups, overlapping the A and B sections in round-singing style.

Singing with Rhythm Sticks

In third grade and below, a favorite has become a Rhythm Sticks game that fits nicely with the song.  Students sit in a circle, each holding a Rhythm Stick.  The A section is sung with an accompanying Rhythm Stick pattern:

·        Two taps on the ground

·        Two taps on an arm or the lap

·        Four taps on the palm

During the B section, students tap the ground twice, and then pass their Rhythm Sticks to the right.  It sounds simple, but students love doing it to the tempo of the background track, all the while singing along.

A great day of musical St. Patrick’s Day fun!

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