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Here I play the Ukulele on this fun song. Try to incorporate hand movements to show laughing, eating gum drops, and stopping. Very catchy melody that kids easily pick up and like to sing.

For older students I use it to talk about other animals that sound like they’re laughing – hyenas, monkees, donkees, sea gulls…

Also, you can discuss Australia and some of the differences between there and here.

Make it fun!


The More We Get Together

I love to have preschool and Kindergarten students do this song because it promotes friendship and is easy to learn and sing. Even better when you incorporate hand motions with it. It is a very simple song to sing and if you play an instrument it is only two chords. I do it in the key of D, so the chords are D and A. If you start in C, the chords would be C and G. In the video I use ukulele to play it. This is such a great instrument for young children to see and even strum a little.

Have fun with this song.

Getting song lyrics from the internet

This may seem really basic to some people, but I’ve found that not everyone knows how to easily get information like song lyrics off the internet. I need to do this all the time so I can have the lyrics for my classes to sing. I use either my laptop or my Ipad to get a copy of the lyrics.

The process is pretty simple. First, go on Google or your search engine and put in the song title and the word “lyrics.” A lot of entries will show up. I go with one of the first ones. Once you get past the ads you will see the lyrics to whatever song you are looking for. If you want a printed copy there is usually a print option on the page so you can do that. What I do is copy the text and put it into a word document or a pages document on my Ipad. Once I have it as a document I put it into dropbox and it shows up on my Ipad. From this app it is easy to access the lyrics and project them, which is what I do. I connect to a digital projector with an adapter from my Ipad. I know that many of you have smart boards in your classrooms and you would be able to show any document on that.

One other handy accessory would be a laser pointer that you could use to follow the lyrics up on the screen.

Yankee Doodle

Hi there.  Back to posting music.  This time I am posting me playing Yankee Doodle.  This is a great one to do with the kids, almost any age.  I have used this in 5th grade classrooms to talk about the British soldiers view of the  Continental soldiers.  Fun music, good for rhythm.  You can also try making up your own words, although this one is not as simple as some other songs.  More of those later.


The lyrics are:


Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony

Stuck a feather in his hat and called it “macaroni”

Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy

Mind the music and the step, and with the girls be handy


Father and I went down to camp, along with Captain Goodin,

There we saw the men and boys as thick as hasty puddin’

Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy

Mind the music and the step, and with the girls be handy


Rhythm exercises

When I started going to preschools I thought that kids either had rhythm or they didn’t.  I asked the group to clap in time to the music and some could and some couldn’t.  As I went back I tried again and as time went on it was obvious that everyone was learning to tap in time to the music.  The fact that some could helped the others because besides watching me, they could see their peers doing the rhythms.  All of the research that I have seen says that rhythm is an important component for learning patterns motor skills and other things.

Ever since my first experiences I have included rhythm exercises in all the music classes I do.  Here are some simple rhythm exercises to get your students going.  Just adjust the complexity to match the grade level you are working with.


Tapping with music

     I start with simple chords on the guitar and have the students tap along.  I ask them to tap lightly on their legs.  Make sure to pace these exercises so they don’t go to long because some students will be overly energetic tapping on their legs.  They can tap to music from a CD or your computer or however you play music for them.

Tapping with me

     For this I use a large djembe, which is an African hand drum.  You can just tap on your own legs, use a tambourine, or make your own drum from a coffee can or something like that.

1.  Tap steadily at a moderate pace.  Hold up your hands to signal for the class to stop.  This is very important, you must have a stop signal to control them.  Also, you can make it fun, and praise them when they stop right away.

2.  Tap three times in a row, rest, three times in a row, etc.

3. Tap and clap.  Tap three times and then clap three times, keep alternating.

4.  Different combinations, clapping and tapping 3 and 2, or 1 and 3.  Mix it up.

5. Tap steadily and sing at the same time.  I sing simple chants like OH, Oh, Oh.  For older classes I have them do the We Will Rock You chant.  They love it.

6. For younger grades I finish with a session of freeze dancing.  I use the drum and start and stop.  You can do this with any music you have.  They dance while the music is going and freeze when it stops.  I like doing slow motion and telling them to act like zombies.  It cracks me up!  A little scary that they know about zombies, but oh well.

Have fun!

Songs for Kindergarten

Old MacDonald

G                      C         G

Old MacDonald had a farm

G     D       G

E I    E I     O

G                              C       G

And on that farm he had a cow

G     D      G

E I    E I    O


With a moo moo here, and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo, moo

G                      C        G

Old MacDonald had a farm

G     D        G

E I    E  I     O

This is a great song for kindergarten and preschool.  I like to let the kids pick animals to sound like and I make it a point to do whatever they suggest.  I believe music should nurture creativity and be fun for everyone.  So dinasaur, bunny, giraffe, zebra, shark, whatever they say,we figure out a sound or motion for it.

Welcome to my new blog!

imageHi.  My name is Craig Newton. I am a professional musician, music specialist, and singer-songwriter.  One of my main activities is going to schools and libraries to present music programs where I perform on a wide variety of instruments.

For the past 10 years or so I have been doing artist-in-residence sessions at local elementary schools.  I have a program that brings singing, rhythm activities, and knowledge of instruments to the students.  In this blog I want to share resources and information to teachers, parents, musicians, and anyone who is involved in bringing music into our schools.  We need to me more proactive these days since there seems to be no budget for traditional music teachers.

Please help me with your posts.  I will be sharing song lyrics and chords to songs by grade level in my next posts.