Wash, wash, the bo-dy.
(the) Brain comes out the nose.
Mum-mu-ma, mum-mu-ma, mum-mi-fi, -ca-tion.
This is how it goes.
Take out liv-er, lungs.
Put them all in to the can-op-ic jars.
(to) Keep them all pri-stine.
Leave the bo-dy in
Salt then wrap up tight.
Place it all in to a sar-coph-a-gus.
(In)side it’s dark as night.
Then they placed it all.
In a tomb be-low.
Mum-mu-ma, mum-mu-ma, mum-mi-fi, -ca-tion.
This is what we know.
I have recently written a new song for Miss McLean's Primary 5 class at St. Benedict's Primary School, Glasgow. It is about the process of mummification and uses the melody from 'Row, Row, Row, Your Boat', making it very simple and easy to learn.
(*Words in brackets are inserted before the main beats in the melody.)
I found some of the lyrics that the Primary 4 pupils wrote when they were studying the 'Killer Cat' by Anne Fine. They were using the book to explore creative writing so I lead some music sessions where we wrote our own lyrics to the tune of 'Twinkle, Twinkle'. We explored the different characters of the cats in the book and used alliteration (Killer Cat) and onomatopoeia when writing our lyrics to add musical effect.
Using a well-known tune like 'Twinkle, Twinkle' let the children focus on the creative writing but also meant that the song was easy to perform and easy for the other groups to learn when putting the whole song together. Once the song was written we choreographed different movements to match the lyrics.
I had a great time recently working for Children's Classic Concerts at their Percussion Station as part of the Big Music for Minis weekend here in Glasgow. We had a 'Percussion Free-for-all' where the children could try all the different percussion instruments - many for the first time - from djembes to gathering drums and much, much more!
We then had 'Playing Together' sessions where we did call & response, starts & stops, created massive rain storms, and generally made as much noise as possible!
Here we are doing 'Creepy, creepy spider' with actions and drums.
I am very pleased that after a successful interview in the summer I have been added to the Extra Musician list at the Big Noise project at Raploch in Stirling (bassoon & oboe!). Raploch is the home of the first Big Noise Orchestra - the first orchestra of its kind in the UK, modelled on, and working closely with, El Sistema from Venezuela.
Big Noise in Raploch operates from the Community Campus on Drip Road with children from the nursery, Our Lady’s Primary, Raploch Primary, Castleview Primary, Wallace High and St Modan’s High. The orchestra is also open to Raploch children who attend school elsewhere.
I have been in working with these children on numerous occasions now and I am finding it very rewarding. I also benefited from working closely with Simon Rennard, their excellent double reed tutor, during my training.
I look forward to working more with these children and this exciting project in the future.
This weekend I was part of Rastamouse's Rocksteady Reggae School in Bangor, Northern Ireland!
We had a great weekend teaching reggae to thousands of under 6s and their families. Throughout the day we ran three different 20 minute workshops using bongos, ukuleles, shakers, wooden spoons and more.
Rhythm was a big feature of each and we used the different characters names for this:
All of the children were really excited about Rastamouse and it was great to get them groovin' and singing to the music. We started each session with a choreographed dance to the theme tune (below) and this really got the children involved and engaged. Find out more at www.rastamouse.com
The great thing about the Hello Song is that it is so flexible; we used it in the first session of Knights & Castles to introduce the new topic with different verses while still using something the children already knew and felt comfortable with.
The actions we used for the new verses were:
This activity is based on the Rain Game but we decided instead to use it to create a thunderstorm! We used this game to explain the story of Benjamin Franklin and how he discovered electricity flying his kite with a key attached into a thunderstorm.
With the children in a semi-circle I demonstrated each action and got them to do it back to me. I then told them that during the game as I walked past them doing an action they should start doing it too and keep doing it until I came past them again with a different action.
The actions are:
As you progress through the actions the volume builds creating the thunderstorm. In our performance we included a variety of percussion instruments to add extra timbres and, of course, noise! We asked the children to divide the percussion instruments into the four actions groups based on the noises they made. As a finale to our performance we included thunder claps and then the leader (with a kite and a key on their back) gets electrocuted and this passes through the children (down the string of the kite) like a Mexican wave. The children enjoyed this bit the best!
Fun & Games.
In addition to playing the bassoon Russell also enjoys working with children in music sessions and education workshops.