Drunken Sailor Lesson Ideas
Students will explore the elements of music in Drunken Sailor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTsHaXtPrys
MU:Cr1.1.4b Generate musical ideas (such as rhythms, melodies, and simple accompaniment patterns) within related tonalities (such as major and minor) and meters.
MU:Pr6.1.4a Perform music, alone or with others, with expression and technical accuracy, and appropriate interpretation.
MU:Pr4.2.4a Demonstrate understanding of the structure and the elements of music (such as rhythm, pitch, and form) in music selected for performance.
Process (exploring rhythm and beat)
“Can you guess this song? Raise your hand if you know, but don’t shout it out.”
Clap the rhythm to the verse, “What shall we do with a drunken sailor? What shall we do with a drunken sailor? What shall we do with a drunken sailor earlye in the morning?”
Take guesses from individual students who raise their hand.
Test the guesses as a class. (Don’t tell the children “yes” or “no”.)
It might take more demonstrations before the students guess the song.
Invite the students to sing while clapping the rhythm.
Explore additional ways to show the rhythm (stamping, patting, drumming).
Invite the students to make up their own ways to show the rhythm.
Invite individual students to share how they showed the rhythm and then have the class imitate.
Use a similar process for the beat: Keep the beat. Keep the beat in a creative ways. Share and imitate.
Have part of the class keep the beat and the rest show the rhythm.
Try it without singing—just the beat and the rhythm.
Process (melodic contour and pitch matching)
As a class, demonstrate the melodic contour by raising hands up or down relative to the pitch.
Use other body parts to show the melodic contour (head, nose, chin, elbow, belly button, toes, etc.)
Close eyes while showing the melodic contour.
Sing “inside”: Start the song and then give a signal to start and stop the actual sound. For example, hand open for sing out loud and hand closed for sing inside (inner hearing). When the sound is off, in other words, the song continues in the students’ head and when the sound is back on the song picks up accordingly. It’s like listening to the radio; if the volume is turned off, the song still continues.
Perform the dance for Drunken Sailor (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTsHaXtPrys)
This dance is a natural expression of the form of the song.
Invite students to make up new ways to perform the dance.
Have students combine partnerships into groups of four and come up with a new way to perform the dance. There are essentially two movements: side to side and over/under. So, they just need to come up with a movement repeated three times and a new concluding movement.
Let the groups also come up with new verses—solutions to what we should do with a drunken sailor. Be sure to discuss the context of the song: It is a sea chanty reflecting a real-life problem of dealing with a sailor who is drunk and can’t help with the day’s work.
Let the groups share their creative dances.
Let the other groups imitate.
(A quick way to share is to have half of the class watch the other half. If there is time, however, let groups share individually.)