Round and Round We Go!

By Sally K. Albrecht
Director of School Choral & Classroom Music

Experience the joy of teaching rounds to children! Experiment with them, arrange them, add new fun twists to them as they become more familiar to your students. You won’t believe the excitement and the rewards that will result from your efforts!

I have found that educator and Orff specialist Elizabeth Gilpatrick is truly the master of writing rounds. We are so fortunate to have her expertise represented in the five Alfred publications featured in this email.

As Liz says in her Foreword to the publication ‘Round We Go:
The first time children sing “Frere Jacques” in two parts without assistance they take a giant step toward musical independence. Like countless numbers of singers before them, they experience the joy of chasing (but never catching) the voice before them …

What a great image . . . of one voice trying to catch up with another!

Singing rounds gives us many opportunities to address the National Standards:

1. Singing, alone and with others.
For many children, rounds are the first step to singing together and hearing harmony.

2. Performing on instruments.
Try performing rounds with one group singing, one group playing Orff instruments or recorders.

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
Liz explains many options for accompaniments and improvisation in her notes that accompany each of her rounds.

4. Composing and arranging music.
Work with your students to arrange these rounds and short songs. Sing in unison, then add rhythm instruments, then perform it as a 2-part round with recorders adding the other voice. The choices are endless!

5. Incorporating the other arts.
Many of the rounds in these collections use familiar texts or short popular sayings. In the collection Sing with Me! Learn with Me!, the imaginative songs focus on academic areas such as health, science, history, and geography. What a fun way to learn!

These publications will help your students achieve their musical best while introducing them to the thrill of part-singing. All of the songs offer helpful teaching suggestions and activities. Plus, many of the songs offer optional Orff instrumentation, making these collections a solid curriculum choice for your elementary classroom.

Enjoy the chase!

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