It’s been a good 5 years since I started this blog and all this time I haven’t really said much about the lessons I do. Well, I’ve come across a warmer that is such a hit that I just had to share it with you.
Remember when you used to take school trips to far away places? What songs did you sing? If you were anything like me you would have sung the ever so wonderful song called ‘The Music Man’. Now with this plan you can share that experience with the cute little English learners you teach. I found it works best with elementary kids in the 5th and 6th year (so 10-12 year olds).
Preparation is minimal, you need a copy of the song as recorded by Black Lace (available on iTunes, or other sources) and a picture of a one man band (search google images for pictures, like this, or this). Also be aware that you only expect the kids to sing the chorus lines and not the lead.
- Show the big picture of the one man band and ask the kids “Who is this?”.
- Look at their bemused faces and tell them “It is a music man.”
- Ask them, “How many instruments does he have?”
- Elicit a few responses and then let them know the answer.
- Tell them that we are going to sing the Music Man song.
- Stick the picture to the board and tell them the first line, “I am The Music Man”.
- Draw a picture of a house and the area around it, ask them what it is and then say the second line, “I come from down your way”.
- Next draw a guy playing a recorder, ask the kids what it is and then say the third line, “And I can play”.
- Then draw a question mark and say the fourth line “What can you play?”. This is the line you want the kids to say so drill it.
- Then draw a Piano, ask what it is and tell them the line, “I can play the piano”.
- Ask them what sound a piano makes, ignore any suggestion they give and go “Pia, Pia, Piano, Piano, Piano, Pia, Pia, Piano, Pia, Piano.” In the style of the song while making wild ‘playing piano’ gestures.
- Get them to do it.
- Repeat steps 11 to 13 for trombone (“Umpa, pa”) and Bagpipes (“Dur Dur”).
- Do a practice run of the first verse. Remember you sing lines 1-3 and 5 and to count down 3,2,1 for the kid’s line, “What can you play?”
- Do it with the music (They may not be ready to sing their line 1st time, if this happens act all flustered and start it one more time).
- Turn the music down and off after the bagpipes verse.
Difficulties with this activity are that the second line “I come from down your way” is difficult to understand or teach, I tend to gloss over it a bit. Also bagpipes is a bit too British a reference for Japanese kids but if you are lucky at least one pupil in the class will know what they are. Just thank the lord that the verses where the music man can play Match Of The Day and Dambusters are much later in the song and can be ignored.
If the kids you teach are anything like mine, most will be giggling their little heads off but this song really is a hit. On Friday I got followed to the train station by three of my fifth year kids who demanded we sing it over and over. Even when we got to the station they weren’t tired or board with it and do you want to know the best bit…..?
Neither was I.