Saturday, February 22, 2014


©2014 Brigid Finucane, Merit School of Music, Chicago, IL

This interactive workshop expands typical classroom dances and singing games,
and fosters community and cultural diversity. 
Participants will learn multicultural dances and musical games that can be put to immediate use.

**BEAT always stays the same. RHYTHM’s  what you sing or say.**

1. JUMP JIM JOE / American Heritage Playparty
Partner circle dance – inhibitory control, sequencing, following complex directions.
Teach dance in a circle first before transitioning to partners.  Two, three or more partners can dance together – a nice feature of this gathering activity.

 -Transition rhymes:  - 1, 2, 3and 4…Find a new partner and we’ll do it some more!
                                           2, 4, 6-8-10…Find a new partner and do it again!
                -Find a new partner as quick as can be. Find a new partner before I count to three!

2. HOW PUNG YO (Looking For A Friend) / Traditional Chinese Folk Song
YouTube:  Three different versions:
(1) Make a circle, with one child in center.  This child is “It,” and walks inside the circle while children are singing the first line, then he/she stops in front of another child.  On “Jeeng gah lee ah,” the two bow to each other, then shake hands on “Wah guh sho.” On the last line, they trade places, with the new friend going into the center.  Repeat. Continue until everyone has had a turn (no repeats!).  Teaching Tolerance: I Will Be Your Friend

(2) All the children play, looking for a friend simultaneously. Walk for the first two lines, then turn to a friend, bow and shake their hand. At the end of the song, wave goodbye. Repeat, finding a new friend. Chinese American Service League (CASL), Chicago

(3) Follow directions for #1 (above), but instead of trading places, the new friend holds gently on to the shoulder of the first child (“It”). Repeat the song, adding a new friend with each repetition.  Each new friend is added to the end of the train, until everyone is selected. Campbell, P.S. et al.  Roots & Branches. A Legacy of Multicultural Music for Children

            Jow yah, joy yah, jow yah jow,                   Looking, looking, looking for,
            Jow do wee guh how pung yo.                  Now I find a good friend.
            Jeeng gah lee ah.                                          I bow to you.
            Wah guh sho.                                                (I) shake your hand.
            Nee shur wah duh how pung yo.             You are my good friend.

3. BONJOUR MES AMIS / Traditional Cajun
Circle dance using basic French phrases. It transitions into a partner dance.
Lyrics, notation, and audio recording can be found here: Campbell, P.S. et al.  Roots & Branches. A Legacy of Multicultural Music for Children

1. Bonjour, mes amis, bonjour.                              (Stand in circle, wave at friends)
    Bonjour, mes amis, bonjour.
    Bonjour mes amis, bonjour mes amis, bonjour mes amis, bonjour.
    Bonjour, mes amis.

2. Comment ca va, mes amis, comment ca va   (Shake hand with partner)
3. Ca va bien, mes amis, ca va bien…                     (Shake hands . This verse can combine w/v.2)
4. Allons danser, mes amis, allons danser…         (Join hands in a large circle. Dance  in circle)
5. Allons chanter, mes amis, allons chanter…      (Four small steps in, four steps back out)
6. Au revoir, mes amis, adieu…                                (Partner take hands, and dance around circle)

Bonjour, mes amis (Hello, my friends)  Comment ca va, mes amis (How are you?)  Ca va bien, mes amis (I’m fine)  
Allons danser, mes amis (Let’s dance)  
Allons chanter, mes amis (Let’s sing)
Au revior, mes amis, adieu (Goodbye, farewell)
4. TUE TUE / Traditional, Ghana
There are as many versions of this song as there are interpretations of what it means!
For a fascinating look at the unresolved, and continuing, conversation, visit Mama Lisa’s blog:
This is a great song for steady beat. Movements can be simple or increasingly complicated!
·      Count “1 -2  -3 -4” a few times to establish the steady beat. 
·      Pattern: Pat hands out in front of body for two beats, then pat knees for two beats.
·      Sing song while clapping pattern with partner.
·      When pattern is mastered, increase the tempo with each repetition.
·      Make a double-ringed circle, with one partner in the inside circle, and the other in the outside circle. Direct partners to face each other. 
·      Divide the ring into “boxes.” A “box” is made from two neighboring couples- 4 kiddos.
·      Ask original couples to greet their partners, then turn and greet the person next to
            them – their “side” partner. Do this several times, to get accustomed to the movement.
·      Using one group, or “box,” demonstrate first patting the pattern with the original partner then with the new, “side” partner.
·      At a very slow tempo, invite students to try the pattern. Sing the song.
·      Tell students that there’s another “box” on the other side! 
·      With a group of six (3 kiddos and their partners), slowly try the pattern.          
            1. Pat original partner’s hands   2. Pat “side” partners  hands  3. NEW side partners
·      Sit, facing partner in a double ring.
·      Pat partner’s hands, then your knees for the first four beats.
·      On the second four beats, pat hands with the neighbors on both sides for the first two beats, pat knees for second two beats.  Repeat pattern, starting with original partner.

5. JUMP JOSIE / American Heritage Playparty
This song changes from a circle to a partner dance and from fast to slow.  It also changes from 3/4 to  4/4  meter and from legato (smooth and connected) singing and dancing to staccato (short and separate). It is a great song to reinforce the “two x” math tables.
·      Teach the song with students in a circle.  Move side to side during the first section, then clap hands in the second section, “One in the middle…”
·      On “Oh, my Susan Brown,” make a large “sunshine circle” with both arms crossing.
·      Choose 2 students to be partners. Ask them to hold hands, facing each other.
·      Dancers in the middle, or inside, are jumpers, dancers in the circle are clappers.       The only ones who jump during the second half of the song, are those in the middle.
·      After the song is completed, ask the “two in the middle” to choose new partners from the circle and repeat the song.  After several repetitions,  ask everyone to get a partner.  At this point, sing “all in the middle.”
·      Other ideas include using colors (“red in the middle”), clothing (“jeans in the middle”)
            or anything you can think of  - gender, patterns,  shoe styles, month born, etc.
·      Other thoughts:  Several couples can start the song in the middle to speed things along. Partners can also “tap tap Josie,” “fly fly Josie,” “turn turn Josie, etc.

6. MRS. MURPHY’S CHOWDER / Crescendo circle game
Crescendo means to get gradually louder, in Italian, the language of music. After teaching the
chant, get into a small circle, and very quietly, with feet to the beat, say the words. With each repetition, the circle becomes a little larger, and the words a little louder – until at last, the circle is at its fullest. Crescendo!

7. LUCY LOCKET / England. Tune: Yankee Doodle.
This game may be done two different ways: As a chasing game or Crescendo hot /cold game.
(1) Chasing game: A child with a small purse, handkerchief, etc., circles the ring of seated players as all sing.  At some point in the song – it can be anytime – the child drops the object behind the back of a seated child.  The seated child chases the first child around the circle.  The empty space left by the second child (chaser) is “safe.”
(2) Crescendo game: A “finder’ is chosen to hide their eyes while a “hider” hides a small object (‘pocket’) somewhere in the room. The object MUST be partially visible.                                                      The finder turns her / his back or leaves the room while the object is hidden – whatever is best for your classroom. The hider then joins the group, and the whole class softly sings the song while the finder looks for the object.  As the finder gets closer to the object, children gradually sing louder (crescendo) until the finder is guided to the object by the singers’ voices. Choose two more children, and repeat, etc.
            Lucy Locket lost her pocket.
            Kitty Fisher found it.
            Not a penny was there in it,
            Only ribbon round it.

8. SOL ULTE, SOL INNE  (Sun, Only Sun) /Traditional, Norway
Partner dance created by Brigid Finucane and Amy Lowe. To hear the song sung in Norwegian, visit Mama Lisa’s World:
Students stand with one partner, holding hands.

            Sun outside, sun inside.                              (Step away from partner, then forward)
         Sun in the heart, sun in the mind.                (See-saw to one side, then the other)
            Sun, only sun.                                                (Double handed “bridge turn”)

9. CHOCOLATE / Traditional Mexican Chant.   Partner activity, steady beat, tempo.
There are many variants of this chant, some which allude to mole negro, the rich, spicy sauce whose main ingredient is chocolate (con arroz y con tomate…).   I use the simpler chant, which refers to the molinillo, a wooden utensil that is twirled between one’s palms making the chocolate frothy.  Each repetition is faster than the last.
Children hold hands and “see-saw” arms back and forth while saying the chant.
Pause briefly at the end of each line, emphasizing the final syllable.
Variation: Try a double-handed “bridge turn” on the last “chocolate!”

                      Uno, dos, tres, CHO!                         Uno, dos, tres, CO!
                  Uno, dos, tres,  LA!                            Uno, dos, tres,  TE!
                 Chocolate, chocolate,                        Bate, bate, chocolate!

10. UNO, DOS Y TRES – Mexico / Traditional Counting Song.                                                                                      
Partner circle-dance created by Brigid Finucane.
Students stand in a circle facing a partner, back to back – in one ring.

            Uno dos y tres,                      (Clap, pat and tap hands together with partner)
            Cuatro, cinco, seis.                 (Repeat)
            Siete, ocho, nueve,                (Take partners hands, and go halfway round in a 
                                                            two-hand turn, changing places with partner)
            I can count to diez.  OR       (On “diez” turn around halfway to face a new partner.
            (Yo) Puedo contar a diez.       Repeat with new partner, etc.)

Resources to know about: New England Dancing Masters (,
 and the “Games Children Sing” series (China, India, Malaysia, Japan- book with CD).

Take suggestions and be creative!
 Above all, have fun!

Please contact me with additional questions.
I’ll gladly sing melodies into your answering machines!

Brigid Finucane * 847-213-0713 *
Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL  60607.   312-786-9428.  - the 18th of every month!

I’m a proud and grateful member of ECMMA, GCAOSA, NAEYC & the Children’s Music Network. Check it out!