Lesson activities · Singing games

Cuckoo hiding in the trees

I describe the shy cuckoo hiding in the trees who sings a descending minor third.  We are going to search for him in the forest. The only way to find the cuckoo is to listen for his song. Play a variety of walking, running, skipping, tiptoe, or giant step music (see Dalcroze Locomotions) and say, “If you hear the cuckoo, point high up in the tree.”

The next step is to contrast high and low: sometimes the cuckoo hides under a bush. “If you hear his song sounding low, point under an imaginary bush.”

In another variation, the children sing along with the cuckoo’s song, or echo it one beat later. This is a wonderful task, especially if the cuckoo’s song keeps appearing in another key!

The verbal command can be used for as many events and variations as you can identify and contrast: dynamic, harmonic, melodic, metric, timbre, and pitch.

Suitable song:
Cuckoo, cuckoo, sitting in a tree
Cuckoo, cuckoo, up in the leaves
Cuckoo, cuckoo, what do you see?
Cuckoo, cuckoo, sing for me!
Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo
Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo

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