Lesson activities · Singing games · Songs

Bhombela – stone passing game

http://www.recastmusiceducation.com/eugene-skeefs-stone-game.html

http://www.recastmusiceducation.com/uploads/4/9/1/8/49189643/bhombela_-_the_stone_game_song_-_full_score___parts.pdf

On a given count, everyone passes their stone to the right. They have to place it on the floor in front of the person on their right. They then pick up the stone that is now in front of them (placed there by the person on their left).

The idea is to settle into a rhythm that goes like this: put-down, pick-up, put-down, pick-up, put-down, pick-up, etc. Things get fun when someone fumbles a stone (the person next to them won’t have anything to pass on to their neighbour, and so the stones start to pile up. When the ‘Stop!’ is called, the person with the largest pile of stones in front of them is out).

You can also get the group to gradually speed up, or slow down.

Variations include building in some floor taps as well, such as: One, two, put-down, pick-up – one, two, put-down, pick-up.

You can also sing a song at the same time. We will Rock you goes well with the two-taps-on-the-floor-before-passing-on example just above.

Eugene taught us a song from South Africa. The song was called Bombhela. Here are the Zulu lyrics of the stone/stick/any object passing game:

Bhombela
Bhombela wes’timela

Bhombela
Bhombela wes’timela

Jaz lam’ lesiliva
Ngal’thenga ngemal’

Jaz lam’ lesiliva
Ngal’thenga ngemal’

The song literally praises the steam train that transports the fathers of the children from their homeland to the bustling cities where they earn their living. The song is in praise of this train because the children look forward to it returning their fathers with gifts. In the case of our song a child fantasises about a shiny silver coat bought with money earned during his/her dad’s migrant work. These migrations could take 9 months, a year, two years or forever…

Another variation is to invent a passing pattern in a different time signature, e.g. 3/4 pattern and singing Eidelweiss.

It is also fun to do a pattern in one time signature and an accompanying song in another time signature. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, as the rhythm established by the passing action is quite strong and grounded, and moves into an automatic mode with the participants.

Source: The stick-passing game | music work

Credit for the game’s explanation from Gillian Howell – www.gillianhowell.com.au
Credit to Eugene Skeef for his explanation of the lyrics and song’s providence.

Lesson activities · Singing games · Songs

Oats and Beans and Barley Grow

Oats and beans and barley grow,
Oats and beans and barley grow,
Do you or I or anyone know how oats and beans and barley grow.

First the farmer plants the seeds,
Stands up tall and takes his ease,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats and beans and barley grow,
Oats and beans and barley grow,
Do you or I or anyone know how oats and beans and barley grow.

Then the farmer watches the ground,
Watches the sun shine all around,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
And turns around to view his lands.

Oats and beans and barley grow,
Oats and beans and barley grow,
Do you or I or anyone know how oats and beans and barley grow.

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