What’s a Witch, Fire Engine and an Owl got to do with Music?

What's a witch, fire engine and owl got to do with music- (1)

What’s a Witch, Fire Engine and an Owl got to do with Music?

They’re all in a brilliant rhyme, one of my favourites, called ‘The Witch Says’.

It could be used if you're looking for a rhyme that relates to Animals, Transport, Families or, as I was using it, Our Bodies.  The link to ‘Our Bodies’ was not through the words but how the voice is used throughout the rhyme; it is great for vocal play with the many onomatopoeias.

Many songs explore multiple musical elements but they don’t all allow the children to play with their voice. Vocal play is an important part of a child’s voice development; it allows children to experiment with Pitch (high and low sounds), Dynamics (loud and quiet), Tempo (Speed), Duration (long and short sounds)…

‘The Witch Says’ facilitates vocal play with:

  • Dynamics (loud and quiet) the boo is loud in some verses and quiet in others
  • Crescendo and Diminuendo (gradually getting louder and then quieter) when creating a fire engine sound
  • Pitch (high and low sounds) the owl going from a low to high sound on the twit-twoo
  • Glissando with the ghost sound (gliding up and down in pitch)
  • There’s also breath control with the tyre sound.

Here’s the first verse:

Square The Witch Says

I think you can probably see why it is one of my favourites as so much is happening in just one rhyme!  Plus the children really, really enjoy learning it.

Also it is worth noting that children don’t always need to learn all the words to a song or rhyme.  It can be that they just learn a little element of it to develop a specific skill: vocal play, rhyme, rhythm, tuneful sing, confidence....   For example, when I first teach children the song ‘Pussy cat pussy cat’  I only ask them to join in with the ‘miaow’ at the end as I want them to grasp that simple tune.  By doing this it helps to develop tuneful singing and also confident children; the children know the simple two note 3 miaows are coming at the end of the song.

The witch says, Pussy cat, and 100s of other song/rhyme and listening activities can be found in my online resource 'Early Years Music Ideas'.  Click here to read more about it: https://musicalabc.simplero.com/pages/early-years-music-ideas 

If you would like to develop the Musical Elements more with your children, please take a look at my Musical Elements online training: https://musicalabc.simplero.com/musical-elements

Happy Music Making!

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