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Author Topic: Blues in the 5th grade  (Read 5045 times)

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Offline JohnEdelman

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Blues in the 5th grade
« on: February 23, 2005, 07:58:19 PM »
Hi All,

I'm a student teacher in a fifth grade class (I'm an old guy changing careers).  I volunteered to do a lesson about the blues.  The music teacher in the school suggested I teach the standard 12 bar blues, playing a few songs to help the students hear the chord changes.  I'm also planning on having them write their own blues lyrics. 

Anyone have expereince with this?  I'm open to any and all suggestions.  Are there any songs in particular you think are good, musically and lyrically (remember, these are 5th graders).  How about useful websites?  I don't want this to be an academic exercise.  I think they can be exposed the musical form and have fun with it and, hopefully, recognise it when they hear it again.

Thanks in advance.

John

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2005, 09:40:28 PM »
Hi John,
Welcome to Weenie Campbell!  A song that I think would definitely appeal to 5th graders, though it might seem a little naughty, is Charley Jordan's "Keep It Clean".  In fact, I have always thought of it as a kid's song.  It starts:
   Went to the river, couldn't get across
   Jumped on your papa 'cause I thought he was a horse, yeah,
   REFRAIN:  Rode him over, give him a coca cola,
   Lemon soda, saucer of ice cream
   Take soap and water, for to keep it clean.

Other verses include:
   Up she jumped, down she fell
   Her mouth flew open like a mussel shell

   If you want to go to Heaven when you D-I-E, you've got to
   Put on your collar and your tie

   If you want to make that old elephant laugh, take him
   Down to the river and wash his yas yas yas

   Your sister was a teddy, your daddy was a bear, put the
   Muzzle on your mama case she had bad hair.

   Run here doctor, run her fast
   See what's the matter with his yas yas yas.

The song also has a really spiffy guitar part, but the kids may like it too much.  Leroy Carr's "How Long, How Long Blues" is a great 8-bar blues with pretty high-minded lyrics that might work for you, too.  I will keep thinking.
all best,
Johnm

Offline outfidel

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2005, 06:43:51 AM »
Hi John,

You might want to check out the book Elizabeth's Song, which tells the story of Elizabeth Cotten & how she wrote the song "Freight Train" as an 11-year-old.

My kids (ages 8, 6 and 3) love this song; maybe your students will, too.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2005, 06:45:08 AM by outfidel »
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Offline dj

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2005, 10:24:45 AM »
Back in the early 80s I used to play music fairly regularly for kids aged 10 - 13.  I'd slip in country blues once in a while because that's what I really liked to play.  The kids' favorite, the one that always got requested, was Furry Lewis's Kassie Jones.  They also liked songs played with a slide - my version of Booker White's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home was a favorite.  Most of my Mississippi John Hurt pieces went over well: Louis Collins, Stagolee.  I'd change the words, rearranging them, rewriting them, move them from song to song to make something age-appropriate that would hold the kids' interest.

Offline JohnEdelman

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2005, 08:18:27 PM »
Thanks for the ideas.? I appreciate them all.?

John
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 02:48:29 PM by Johnm »

careyr

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2005, 08:35:16 AM »
Hi John. Here's a couple of web-sites which might provide some more ideas.

http://www.pbs.org/theblues/classroom.html
http://www.teachersfirst.com/blues.shtml

Best of luck!

Bob

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blues in the 5th grade
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2005, 12:27:20 PM »
Well, Bob just reminded me of another site on blues in the schools. Scott Ainsley has pretty much dedicated himself to teaching blues in the Piedmont region and a portion of his web page describes various lesson plans that he uses with students in various grade levels. Some great ideas, and a good description of African retentions in the blues.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Blue in VT

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blues for the little ones?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2007, 11:54:22 AM »
Howdy all!!!  happy turkey day!

I have a little one in the house these days and even though she is too small to appreciate it now I would like to learn some tunes to entertain her...so I'm looking for suggestions of good kid freindly fingerpickin tunes.  Several MJH tunes spring to mind like his version of "chicken" and "you are my sunshine"  as well as "spider, spider" can you all suggest some other good ones.  If they happen to have tab...that would be great!

cheers...off to stuff myself full of turkey!!

Blue
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 04:46:05 PM by Blue in VT »
Blue in VT

Offline waxwing

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2007, 12:01:46 PM »
Keep it Clean by Charlie Jordan. I think there may be tab in a Grossman book somewhere.

All for now,
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Cooljack

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2007, 12:49:41 PM »
Somthing by Henry Thomas maybe? Maybe a song with the melody of "Sitting on top of the world"

Offline CF

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2007, 12:58:51 PM »
Leadbelly's got a bunch. 'Red bird, soon in the morning . . . '
Me & my cousin were asked to play for some scouts one year. We go to this jamboree, set up, & then look at our setlist. Haha, man we started sweating. 'Out With the Wrong Woman', nope. 'They're Red Hot', nope. 'Louisiana Blues', nope, & so on. I had to censor myself on the fly.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2007, 07:50:01 PM »
Speaking of fun Leadbelly tunes...


"Me & My Buddy can pick a bale of cotton, me and my buddy can pick a bale of hay.
Ohhhh boy we can pick a bale of cotton. Ohhhhh boy we can pick a bel of hay."

Offline Richard

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2007, 12:52:07 PM »
Why not just do a few of the more usual kid type songs ( don't ask me what, it's too toooo long ago to rememebr 'em now!) in style of your favourite blues type artist  :D
« Last Edit: November 23, 2007, 12:53:27 PM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Blue in VT

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2007, 02:13:29 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions all I'll start tracking some of those down...

Richard...I guess this is what I would really like to do...like MJH's "you are my sunshine"  but what is the best way to do that?  My idea was to get the music for a particular song with the chords...use those to tell me what bass notes to play with my thumb while I use the singing notation to tell me what meldy part to play.  Does that make sense?  this is obviously something I haven't done before but am willing to give it a go...

cheers,

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline waxwing

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Re: blues for the little ones?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2007, 02:32:45 PM »
That's a great way to learn the music, VT. Have at it. Be aware that it might be good to transpose to a different key to get the melody to "sit well" on the treble strings. Some melodies work better in C than they do in A or G, if you see what I mean. If you are playing a song in G and the melody seems to be on the 2nd 3rd an 4th strings, or else goes up too high on the first, try playing in C. It just sorta shifts things over a string (with, of course, little variations because of the G/B string relationship, eh?).

Try to notice what the highest note in the melody is, in terms of the notes in the scale. If the highest note is the V (sol) try playing in C. If it's a III (mi) try playing in E. The root (do)? Try G, or maybe A( which is good if it's the VII (ti), too). Just some ideas. Hope it helps.

Go for it.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

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