Friday, September 18, 2015


Ms. Brigid here, from Merit School of Music  in Chicago. Thank you for joining me.

Cover Art: Kim Arden,
 Graphic Alchemy
Drum roll, please for two announcements:
1. The Fall 2015 issue of PIO! (Pass It On!) is now live and available! As the new editor, I’m especially proud. Members have access to all the amazing content. The digital format makes navigation a breeze! 
Non-members – never fear.  
Much of the content is available for you to read for free, including A Conversation with Stuart Stotts by Pre-K and K Sharing’s own Carole Stephens! Find out more about CMN’s amazing resources through Lisa Heintz’s Sharing Our Strengths, The CMN Song Library. If you work with babies, Gari Stein’s In Tune with Babies will delight you. 

All Reports are open content, as is New Sounds, which features CDs released by Children’s Music Network (CMN) members. I’ve already had the pleasure of listening to Kristin Lems You, Me, and All of the Above, Barb Tilsen’s Take the Seed, and Patricia Shih’s Lovabies – and my vote is “fabulous!” Three CDs down and ten more to go! I hope you’ll be excited about all CMN has to offer – and become a member!

2. The annual Children’s Music Network Conference, is being held in Zion, Illinois, from October 16-18. This year’s theme is Open the Circle. Musicians, teachers, songwriters, librarians, families, and friends from all over the U.S. and Canada will come together to raise their voices in song, share resources, celebrate the life of Pete Seeger, and attend engaging and relevant workshops on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lots of special events are going to be offered, including nature walks, yoga, a barn dance, and more. If you’re new to CMN, we’ll even match you up with a “buddy” for instant connection! Come for the music – and stay for the laugher and fellowship.

Sing, Sing a Song…and Dance a Dance
Last month’s post, Starting the Year With a Song – and CMN, presented two engaging hello songs to start the year off with: Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Time to Say Hello. Here are two more of my favorites – which also incorporate movement.

Clap Your Hands
Jessica (and daughter) from Intellidance!
Clap Your Hands is an adaptation of Old Joe Clark, an American heritage song, and shares the same melody. The beauty of this song is its versatility. It can be sung while seated or standing, is easily adapted for instrument play, and works as a circle dance by holding hands and dancing in one direction during the interlude. Depending on the abilities of your class, if you want to get fancy, change directions midway! The repetition, labeling, and singing what you do is helpful for young children and English language learners. NOTE: It is perfectly fine to sing the song without the interlude, but I love the plaintive, Mixolydian melody, and the extended option for movement.  

Clap, clap, clap your hands,                        Clap your hands together.
Clap, clap, clap your hands,                        Clap your hands together.
                     Musical Interlude: Sing interlude on “la.” 
2. Stamp, stamp, stamp your feet…
3. Tap, tap, tap your toes…

Turn this into a welcome song by adding names of the kiddos of your class.
Sing, sing, sing hello,                         Sing hello to Briana…
Clap, clap, clap hello,                         Clap hello to Frannie…
Stomp, stomp, stomp hello,                 Stomp your feet to Will…
Reach, reach, reach hello,                  Reach up high to Gari…

Instrument Play ideas:
Rub, rub, rub your sticks, rub your sticks together…
Walk, walk, walk your sticks…
Fly, fly, fly your sticks…
Shake, shake, shake your bells…
Beat, beat, beat the drum…

If you want to learn more about Old Joe Clark, Aubrey Atwater, performer and teacher, presents a deeper look at the song. Her version starts with the dance “interlude.” 

And I can’t resist including this amazing YouTube flashback from 1964 which features the amazing “Stringbean” playing an uptempo version of the song. Enjoy!

Hello, Friends!
CMN friends Fran McKinney and Candy Heitner brought related versions of this partner song to a Midwest Regional Gathering many years ago. It has since become a favorite with my kiddos, who especially love the “boogie on down.” The words are “piggybacked” onto the melody, Good Night, Ladies. NOTE: In the spirit of “everything I know I learned from YouTube,” I was surprised that most of the videos' melodies went directly from Good Night Ladies to Merrily We Roll Along – which I’ve always thought of as a distinct and separate song. Something more to research!

Dance Directions:
Introduce the song, asking students to listen and rock side to side with the beat. I model rocking with “windshield wiper hands,” which makes the transition to the partner dance smoother.

  • On the second repetition, the class stands in a circle, and echoes while rocking. At this point, it is still an individual activity. Add actions.
  •  Invite a child to be your partner, and demonstrate the dance. Pointing out that all movements are performed gently is never wasted…though sometimes ignored!
  • Ask children to turn to their neighbor – the person standing next to them. It’s important to minimize chaos while teaching the dance. In 3-5 year old classroom, consider matching older students with younger, since shaking hands can be tricky. NOTE: Take time to talk about shaking hands. Demonstrate that arms cross the body. I ask the children to make an “X” with their hands, then tap the hands that need to be dropped.
  •  Dance!
  •  Find a new partner and dance again. Then again!
  • Add other language, e.g., Shalom, neighbor; Bonjour, neighbor; Hola, neighbor; Joon san, neighbor; Merhaba, neighbor, etc.
Hello, neighbor! / What do you say?                         (Both hands are placed flat on partner’s hands.
It's going to be / A happy day.                                    Rock side to side)
Greet your neighbor.                                                  (Shake hands with partner)  
Boogie on down. / Give a bump & turn around.        (Wiggle body  / Bump hips / Turn around once)

This is a great parent/child activity – for a dedicated music class, family gathering or Informance. BONUS: This song can also be used for a goodbye song!

Goodbye friends. (x3)
We’ll see you all next week. (Cha Cha Cha!)

Happy Singing!

Merit School of Music, Chicago
Call on Merit School of Music! Our onsite school is in the West Loop. We work in the schools throughout the area providing band, orchestra, percussion, choir, early childhood, and general music instruction with project based units including Recorder, Music and Storytelling and Songwriting. We do great work! YoYo Ma is a supporter!

Chicago Families
Please come to Merit’s Storytime sessions It’s free, fun, and facilitated by singers and storytellers Amy Lowe, Irica Baurer & Brigid Finucane. Stories and songs start at 11am, and we end with instrument exploration and family networking. The next session is August 24. Starting in September, Storytime is going to be offered once a month on the 2nd Monday.

I am continually inspired by the Children’s Music Network (CMN) community. an international group of socially conscious musicians, educators, librarians, families, songwriters and good people, who “celebrate the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas, and creating community.” Please visit CMN, and find a gathering in your region.

©2015 Brigid Finucane  * 847-213-0713 *

Blog History
June 2015. Summer Songs

Aug. 2014. Educators Who Care, Share. Singers, Sites & Songs – Part II: Midwest & Great Lakes (Listening Locally)          


  1. Wonderful song - it was one of the staples of my classes when I started teaching 27 years ago. Loved it SOOO much it's on my first recording, "Sticky Bubble Gum...and Other Tasty Tunes!" Thanks for reminding all our blogettes about it, Brigid!

    1. Carole - 27 years! You must have started singing when you were 3! Just got my copy out of Sticky Bubble Gum and listened. Such fun!

  2. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.....I actually use my own version of this song to start our KinderConcerts and introduce the musicians......and I think of you every time I sing it Brigid!

  3. Love it! I'd love to hear more about this - and wish I was closer so I could go to a KinderConcert. They look fab!


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