|Music You Can Read ®|
|Concerning the Games||
Preface - Emilie Poulsson
In the games of Whirlabout, Fairy Dance and Butterfly Dance, the children are to sing the stanza first so that they may, by thinking of floating leaves, fairies or butterflies, get the idea of lightness of step and motion before engaging in the dance. The preliminary lines of Grand Ladies are similarly meant to induce the slow and formal movements which children also need, since these cultivate control.
1. The song is to be sung through without motions, or with illustrative hand motions as preferred.
2. Children stand in a circle and trip lightly, in time to the music. At “whirl about and twirlabout,” each child whirls in his place, either just once or first one way and then the other; then all the children sink to a sitting posture on the floor. The music is repeated ad libitum for the game, but the singing is omitted.
Children form in a “fairy Ring,” and after singing the song the whole circle dances around, first to the left, then to the right, while the music is repeated. The singing and dancing may be alternated and the children may, part of the time, dance as single fairies, keeping their steps as noiseless and fairylike as possible.
PLAY IN ALL SEASONS
Children stand in a circle and tell what they like to play in any specified season. After choosing some one thing from the toys, etc., mentioned, they all sing the stanza inserting the appropriate word (kites, snow, etc.,) as indicated; then while some sing the chorus, others pretend to play with whatever has been chosen. The play can be varied by sometimes keeping to the plays of one season and sometimes choosing one play for each of the four seasons. The last stanza may be accompanied by clapping.
THE BUTTERFLY DANCE
The first stanza is to be sung by all the children standing in a circle. Then the circle divides and the children stand in two rows, facing each other. One row sings the second stanza, and the other row replies with the third; then all join in singing the fourth after which the children dance in couples while the whole song is played again but not sung.
Children stand in two rows at opposite ends of the room, facing each other, and sing the first half of the stanza. At “We will greet you,”etc, one row of children moves forward with very slow and stately steps. As the song ends, they make low bows or curtseys to the other row of children and then walk backward to their places with the same slow step while the rest of the music is played. The song is repeated and the other row of children takes its turn, moving forward, bowing, and returning as the first row did.
If the room is large enough, both rows play at the same time, but instead of walking backward to their places, opposites may become partners when the rows meet, all dancing slowly until the music ends.
A LITTLE DANCING SONG
Children choose partners and stand near them, all forming a large circle; or, children stand in two lines facing each other, opposites becoming partners. While singing the first two lines, all dance singly, or rather, simply keep step to the music, and “point heel and tow” when the song so directs. Then partners “bow very low” to each other and dance away together, continuing the dance, without singing, while the music is repeated.
Since children are so accustomed to playing “train” and the words of the song indicate so clearly what is to be done, suggestions for this play seem unnecessary. The children forming the train do not sing except as they join in the “whoo, whoo!” and other sounds representing the noise the train makes.
1. This may be used simply as a singing play for a child just learning to sing. After the song has been sung (the child singing Echo’s part) different notes may be struck on the piano or sung by the mother or kindergartner, and the child in trying to echo them will get practice in distinguishing and reproducing tones.
2. When played in kindergarten or with several children, the child who is to be Echo goes behind a door or elsewhere, out of sight but within easy hearing, and sings Echo’s answers to the children’s queries. After this introduction the play is continued by giving Echo a variety of sounds to repeat, --bird-calls, (phoebe, cuckoo, etc.), high & low tones from voice or piano, rhythmic claps, short phrases, etc. The children take turns in being Echo.
Besides the games included under the heading Playtime, there are songs elsewhere in the book which offer play material for little children.
This may be played by one child alone, or by several children at once, flying about and then sitting still and singing the twittering chorus. When several children play, they may sing the chorus in turn or all together; or responsively, some singing the first and third lines, the others the second and fourth.
CHOOSING A FLOWER
This might be used as a memory play in kindergarten, several children naming themselves after different flowers and one child being allowed to take as many children out of the circle (“flowers for a bouquet”) as he can designate by their chosen flower names. When he makes a mistake, the child whom he misnamed becomes the chooser and he joins the flowers. Kindergartners will see that this song could also serve for various color games. For instance: singing the stanza with a slight change in the last line.
(“I would look at this,
I would look at that,
But a red flower I would take.”)
The chooser might select a child whose clothing showed something red, or select the red ball from among the colored balls, -- and so on with the other colors using the corresponding word in the song.
In all “singing games,” this one sound rule should be followed: Unless the activity is gentle and allows good position for singing, the children who are playing should not sing.
- EMILIE POULSSON, 1910