The P.R.I.Z.E. Method
Here are a few tips on ways to have fun and learn with music. It is surPRIZEingly easy! “The song is just the beginning.”
P PROPS, PUPPETS and DRAMA – make the words come alive visually
R RHYTHM and MOVEMENT – find the beat and move to it
I IMAGINATION – stimulate creativity, a sense of wonder and discovery
Z ZIPPER SONGS – write new songs by adding variations to those you know
E ECHO – CALL AND RESPONSE – the easiest way to teach a song
Props, Puppets and Drama
- Props enhance the visual impact, add a sense of fun and comedy, reduce the inhibitions of the teacher and the children and increase comprehension of the words.
- A felt board with felt figures or stick puppets with paper figures can animate a story or song. For example, a Slippery fish is eaten by an Octopus, who is eaten by a Tuna Fish, who is eaten by a Great White Shark…etc.
- Puppets allow the focus to pass to a puppet, teddy bear or cuddly toy who can present a different point of view. Puppets encourage conversation and problem solving.
- Drama encourages children to enter into the world of fantasy and imagination through simple costumes: hats, dark glasses, boots, umbrella, a laundry basket, cape and binoculars, dog ears, slug antennae, face paint, or by using different voices, like Dracula.
- Suggested songs: “I Wanna Be a Dog,” “Dicky Dinosaur,” “Slimy the Slug,” “The Hug Bug,” “Looking for Dracula,” “The Laundry Monster,” “My Bear Gruff,” “Puddles” and “Octopus.”
- Children love rhythm; it makes the lyrics of a song or chant easier to learn and to remember.
- Hand claps, finger snaps and sound effects help to develop a sense of rhythm.
- Body movement in rhythm encourages physical or kinesthetic involvement with the song. For example, sign language or gesture, simple dance, and clapping with a partner.
- Ribbons and scarves follow the flow of the music and allow a child to explore the space around them and create shapes within that area.
- Songs that come from other lands or cultures are easier to teach when we start with the rhythmic pulse of the music. Make simple percussion instruments based on authentic instruments, such as maracas, claves, guiro and tambourine.
- Suggested rhythmic songs: “La Bamba,” “Stop and Listen,” “Co-operation,” “Rubber Blubber Whale,” “Zulu Carol,” “All the Nations Like Banana,” “Bats ta pâte,” “The Carousel” and “Hush Little Baby.”
Movement, Gesture and Sign Language
- Rhythmic movement unifies the group. Holding hands in a circle is a wonderful way to start and end the day. Working with a parachute also builds a sense of unity.
- Movement increases attention span and participation. When a movement crosses the body midline, both sides of the brain become involved.
- Encourage the children to create their own movements, then share with the group.
- Suggested songs: “Four Hugs a Day,” “May There Always Be Sunshine,” “Spider’s Web” (in sign language), “Each of Us Is a Flower,” “Dicky Dinosaur,” “What Kind of Tree are You,” “Octopus (Slippery Fish),” “Sing in the Spring,” “5 Little Sparrows,” “Listen to the Water,” “De Colores,” “Roots and Wings,” “Find Your Spot,” “Morningtown Ride,” “Sh! Sh! Fingers” and “Lucky Streak.”
- The magic words, “Let’s pretend” always evoke a sense of mystery, suspense and discovery. Use music to stimulate a child’s creative development through word-play and role-play. A very rainy day, a special event, classroom news, such as a new puppy can lead into song or story. Be spontaneous when children have a keen interest in a topic.
- Draw while listening to music. A song can create a mood or expand on a theme.
- Suggested songs and stories: “Looking For Dracula,” “Two Books,” “Fly High Unicorn,” “Spider’s Web,” “The Carousel,” “My Favourite Things,” “Dragons and Dinosaurs,” “Goodnight Mistress Moon” and “I Wanna Be a Dog.”
- Encourage children to compose their own songs by adapting songs they already know. For example, “I am a Pizza” could become “I am a Sandwich” or “I am a Taco.”
- Take the pattern of “My Bear Gruff” and add on other animals whose names end in “uff” – Puff, Fluff, Tuff and Ruff. Change “I Wanna Be a Dog” to “I Wanna Be a Bear” or “I Wanna Be a Whale.”
- “May There Always Be Sunshine” – change to: “May There Always Be Eagles,” (or whales, rhinos or other endangered species).
- Suggested zipper songs: “Listen to the Water,” “It’s a Rainy Day,” “Sing in the Spring,” “Sh! Sh! Fingers” and “What Kind of Tree Are You?” (The Ontario Board of Education wrote a version for their schools called, “What Kind of Fish Are You?”)
Echo Songs (Call and Response)
- Echoing is one of the most effective ways of teaching lyrics and melody.
- The group can be divided in two, one group leads and the other echoes.
- Echoing is excellent for teaching English as a Second Language, or introducing another language. The teacher can hear more clearly the response of individual children. The children can see how the teacher forms the words, then imitate mouth shape as well as sound.
- Suggested Echo Songs: “I am a Pizza (Je suis une Pizza) (Soy una Pizza),” “Puddles,” “Sasquatch,” “Looking for Dracula,” “The Days of the Week,” “The Zulu Carol” and “The Keeper Would a-Hunting Go.”
Quiet, Slower Songs for Thoughtful Moments
- The use of waltz time – 3/4 or 6/8 and simple lyrics creates a quiet, relaxed mood.
- Sign language is easily integrated when the pace is slower.
- Suggested songs: “Fly High Unicorn,” “Donne-moi la main – Give Me Your Hand,” “My Bear Gruff,” “The Carousel,” “My Favourite Things,” “The Giving Tree,” “Spider’s Web,” “You Can Make a Miracle,” “You Never Praise Me Enough,” “Wounded Bird,” “One Dream” and “Everyday Angel.”
- Several of my songs were written to help build good self-esteem. With so many changes in family structure, children need to feel secure and proud of who they are. They also need to learn how to communicate their feelings and how to treat each other.
- Suggested songs: “Love Me For Who I Am,” “Why Did I Have to Have a Sister?,” “Lucky Streak,” “Four Hugs a Day,” “Each of Us Is a Flower,” “The Hug Bug,” “Everyday Angel” and “When I First Came to This Land.”
Please Read To Me
- Many songs exist as books: “The Foolish Frog,” “My Favourite Things,” “De Colores,” “The Huron Carol” and “Inch by Inch – The Garden Song.”
- Many songs can be read aloud as poetry or stories, such as “Two Books on the Library Shelf,” “Dragons and Dinosaurs,” “The Toy at the Bottom of the Stocking” and “The Wisest Old Woman and Man.”
- Encourage the children to illustrate the story.