Using stories and music

Music can really help along a story – it can create atmosphere and characterisation (which is why practically all films have a music soundtrack). If you want to have a go at adding music to a story with the children, there are a few things to consider:

  • Choose a simple story to start with. A short story, with few words and no rhymes allows space for the music. Stories with a strong rhythm and rhyme scheme are already quite musical, and it can be difficult finding a way for the music to enhance what is already there.
  • Decide whether you want to play the music yourself, or whether you’d like the children to join in somehow.
  • If there is a repeated phrase in the story, it could be sung/chanted by you both.

Here are some recommended stories:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Try using different, appropriate, instruments for the episodes - grass, river, etc.

Train Ride by June Crebbin

Speak it in a strong rhythm with the children joining in on ‘What can I see?’ and ‘That’s what I see’. Get faster and faster as the train goes along and slow down at the end.

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Try creating sound effects for the different things keeping Mr Bear awake. Chant, or sing, ‘”Oh, no” said Mr Bear “I can’t stand this”’.

The Happy Hedgehog Band by Martin Wadell

Use different parts of the body to tap out the drumming. Everyone can join in using different noises when the whole forest becomes an orchestra.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Choose instruments for the magical forest growing, sing ‘Row, row, row your boat’ for the sailing, and create a sequence of actions and sounds for the wild rumpus.

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