Step Stop

by Teresa Jennings/John Riggio

This song is available as a single.

This is a movement game song where kids get to move when the music says "step," and stop when the music says "stop." It's a bit like the song "Freeze!" (Music K-8, Vol. 14, No. 2), except that the words are flexible - meaning that you, the teacher, can put stops and steps wherever you like, making the song different each time. But even if you do the song exactly as written, you may find that it's not as easy as you think!

There are several ways to do this song, and probably a few ways we haven't thought of. Students can stand individually, or in rows, lines, or a circle facing each other. We suggest that the action (whether stepping or stopping) occurs on approximately beat 3 of each bar with a word. For stepping, have students step down or stomp one or both feet. This can be done in place, or it can be a move forward, backward, to the side, etc. To stop, they just, well, stop. Before beginning the song, decide what the action will be this time.

One really neat way to do it is to form a conga line with your students. When they hear the word "step," the whole line moves forward. When they hear the word "stop," the whole line stops - you hope! This makes running into the person in front of you a real possibility, so it's kinda fun. It makes your students really pay attention!

You could also let the students run crazy when the song says "step"- an "amoeba drill" if you will - and freeze when the song says "stop." Or you could let them march or step constantly to the music, only listening for "stop." Of course, at that point, they stop. When they hear "step" again, they go back to constant marching or stepping.

As a bonus, we've made a couple of different versions of the instrumental background tracks of this song available as free MP3 downloads at MusicK8.com One is at 144 bpm, which is a bit slower. The other is at 176 bpm, which is definitely faster! It might be fun to learn at the slowest tempo, then speed it up.

Note: This song is a great cross curricular reinforcement for students who need to work on their reading skills! The ability to quickly recognize and pronounce the difference between "step" and "stop" is an excellent exercise, especially for young students and students learning English.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.