Follow The Leader

by David & Anne Ellsworth

What a happy movement song! With a very bouncy tuba setting the pace of this little march, your littlest musicians will jump up to participate in no time.

On the recording, four measures after the tuba starts, the banjo joins in. (And when is a banjo ever not a happy sound??) Four measures later, the percussion comes in playing on and off-beat rhythms. The strings join in at measure 13 with a high, sustaining obbligato which complements the melody, which also begins at measure 13.

The only lyrics in the whole song are, "Follow the leader." They are sung to a very simple melody which repeats throughout the song with instrumental interludes interspersed. The interludes are provided as times for the movement to take place.

The movement we suggest is as the title implies. A leader (or teacher) from the group should be chosen. Whether standing in place or moving around a room, the participants should mimic the motion of the designated leader. Movements can be gross motor movements, i.e., "The Hokey Pokey," or smaller hand movements like the kind you might use in sign language. Smaller foot movements are also a possibility. They could be exercises, or just something the kids make up in rhythm. Alternate leaders every eight measures for a quick-paced game. Or just use one leader for the length of the the song.

Besides being fun and allowing your students a chance to move, this song also reinforces some important learning concepts, such as sharing and taking turns. Additionally, students who are allowed to lead gain confidence and experience improved self-esteem as other students look to them for direction and guidance.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.