I’m pretty patriotic and I love to have my students sing songs about America. That’s why I’ve come up with Five Patriotic Music Program Ideas you can easily put together for your school.
Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and President’s Day are great opportunities to pay respect, honor and celebrate our American heritage through music.
As the music teacher, you can set the tone for how students respond when they hear and perform patriotic music. I take this responsibility pretty seriously and spend a lot of time talking, showing and helping students learn the difference between singing “Happy” and “The National Anthem”.
Many times a principal or administrator will ask the music teacher to come up with a patriotic music program without a lot of notice. Here’s five ideas you can use right now at your school. Be sure to keep reading for the Free Resource to get you started.
There are many ways you can commemorate the service of our United Stated Veterans. Here are my ideas:
PATRIOTIC SCHOOL WIDE SING-A-LONG
1-Have a school wide sing a long of familiar patriotic songs. Prepare a slide presentation with the lyrics and music. This way everyone can participate. I’ve created a Free Resource that you can use for this type of performance. You will need to find music accompaniments to the songs, but they are very familiar and the music is easy to find. You’ll find the link at the end of this posts. First, choose the songs that you want everyone to learn. It might be The National Anthem which students will sing at the beginning, along with a flag ceremony. Next, choose the songs for each grade level. Finally, choose the closing song. You might have the principal or a few students share patriotic feelings in between the songs. Make sure to have the students stand when they sing.
EACH GRADE SINGS A PATRIOTIC SONG
2-Present a music program where each grade sings one song and one speaker. Have each grade choose a song and stand and sing it for the rest of the school. This program is very similar to #1, but it means a bit less work for the music teacher as you’ll only teach one song to each grade level. This program will be great to use if you are in a time crunch and need to prepare and present something with short notice. Again, grab the Free Patriotic Resource to help you organize the program.
ONE GRADE LEVEL PRESENTS THE WHOLE PROGRAM
3-Have one grade level present a music program for the whole school. Write a script or find one online and have students sing songs in between speaking parts. You could choose a theme like “What does it mean to be an American Hero” and have students share essays they have written in class as the speaking parts.
Every year I direct a special Veteran’s Day Program. My fourth graders sing about six songs and I find a guest speaker who is a Veteran to speak to the students. I also have the local scouts do a flag ceremony. We also invite any parents, friends and family members who are Veteran’s to be our guests’ of honor and sit up in front of the audience. We then recognize them and share where they served and in what branch of the military they served.
One technique I used this year to help my students sing the songs on pitch and focus on listening to each other was to have them sing a song acapella. I chose FIFTY NIFTY UNITED STATES to practice this technique. This is one of the four classes that will be performing in the program.
Although, not perfect…it was pretty good for a practice activity. The landed not quite on pitch but weren’t even a 1/2 step off! I was pretty proud of them.
Our principal conducts the program and the fourth graders have speaking parts. The whole student body is encouraged to wear red, white and blue that day. I also teach everyone “American’s We” from Teresa Jennings’ MK-8 magazine. I have the whole student body stand and sing this song at the beginning of the program. We also stand and sing “The Star Spangled Banner”.
Although I work with all students to learn this song–I focus on the ending section with my Kinders and First Graders. I have them practice, “Oh Say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
My favorite song is AMERICAN TEARS by Teresa Jennings over at Plank Road Publishing. If you haven’t heard this song…then I challenge you to listen to the preview. I love hearing my students sing this song and they make me cry every time.
INVITE AN SECONDARY CHOIR TO PERFORM
4- There are many schools that are close together. Maybe yours is one of those and you can ask your secondary music teachers if they’d like to come over to the Elementary school and perform some Patriotic music for the students. Try combining their performance with one or two songs that the students sing and you will have an amazingly heartfelt program.
SING AT A VETERAN’S CELEBRATION
5- There’s nothing better than to give students the opportunities to sing in their communities. The children perform better and they get to experience giving something back to their community. It brings joy to the Veteran’s and is a wonderful way to say thank you for their service. It also helps the students remember Veteran’s, what it means to be Patriotic and the importance of serving your country. Our school is close to the city center and so we’ve had the opportunity to walk down to the Veteran’s Day celebrations and sing a couple of songs for the Veteran’s as part of the concert that the high school band and choir perform. Our fourth graders also participate in letter writing and invite the Veteran’s to our school at the end of the year and the students sing to them.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a big program or just sing one song at the beginning of the school day and have a moment of silence-what matter’s is that we as music teachers help our school community pay respect and remember our Veteran’s.
Here are some links to some Patriotic Songs that you might find useful for your Patriotic programs.
Although Kinders can’t sing the whole song, I teach them to sing the ending from “…Oh say does that STar-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” I teach it to them every year and by the time they’ve worked on it a couple of years they know it well. I’m proud of the fact too, that everyone at my school knows the song and a little bit of the history.
There’s nothing more touching than to hear all of the students dressed in red-white and blue singing and signing from their hearts.
Here’s some FREE Resources you can find at TeachersPayTeachers and on YouTube!
These ideas are flexible and easy to put into any music classroom. You’ll find that the students want to sing and they will follow your lead as you work through preparing for the concert. Thanks for stopping by, here’s the link to the Free Patriotic Resource:
Planning a Patriotic music program doesn’t have to be too difficult. The most important thing is for the audience to see and hear the children singing from the heart. Here’s a blog post on helping your students. HOW TO TEACH PATRIOTIC MUSIC TO TOUCH HEARTS
Need more help? I’m there for you. Feel free to get in touch with me via Facebook if you have a question. I’d be happy to help you succeed!
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Wow! Did September go by quickly or what? I'm so glad we're having cooler temperatures, aren't you? Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors and all the fun things you can do outside--biking, hiking, and just walking without the summer sun beating down. Hopefully you're enjoying some cooler temperatures too. I'm sure the students are happy to be able to run around during recess without breaking into a sweat. So, that's why I begin integrating more creative movement activities in my music class lessons. Fall themed songs are perfect for students to "fall", "drift", "blow", "slide", sing and play instruments in fall music lessons.
There are many songs about fall and leaves falling, but I thought I'd put one together with a twist. Children love stories, action and instrument playing, so I combined these three elements into a music class lesson with an original song. "Leaves are Falling All Around". Not only can the children tap the beat, sing the solfa, the lyrics and play instruments, but they can do the activity and also improvise some rhythm patterns.
I love to watch the children pretend to be falling leaves as they sing the song and at the end of the song, improvise a rhythm pattern that's supposed to mimic the sound of "falling leaves".
How do we get there? I feel like it's important for students to feel, hear, and see visual representations of long and short.
With Kindergartner’s and First Graders we gather in a circle. I will stand in the middle of the circle and begin to move my branches. I ask the students to copy me. Then I ask for some students to be my leaves. I will ask a few to come inside the circle and I will ask them to make sounds and movements of leaves falling on the ground. (I ask everyone to make the sounds). What if the wind is whipping fast? How would the leaves sound and move? What if it’s a gentle breeze? A storm?
I encourage them to make long and short sounds with sounds and their bodies. (You may need more pre-practice with this activity) (And- no ghostly sounds).
Then I ask students to take my place as the "tree" and switch out the "leaves". After singing the song and experiencing long and short sounds we add instruments and connect to patterns.
Finally, I will have the play an Ostinato and a Steady Beat part while they sing. Then during the improvisation part of the song, they get to choose what and how to play.
EASY TO ADAPT K-2
I also think this is a nice lesson to teach across several grades. I think Pre-Kinders will love playing as leaves falling from the tree, patting the beat and experiencing LONG and SHORT sounds. Kinders will love to sing and do the activities too, First graders will sing and work on "la", second graders can work on the rhythms, and third graders will enjoy the improvisation. Of course, this depends all on your students and your classroom situation. What's nice about this resource is that it's so adaptable for K-3. That way you can use it the way you need to for your curriculum needs.
And, if you still need some steady beat practice. You may want to check out this blog post that has 5 ways to teach the steady beat. It's full of free lesson examples, graphics and links to teach a whole unit on the steady beat.
I love connecting literacy with music and this book would be a nice addition to singing fall songs. "Leaves" by David Ezra Stein Here is a nice reading of the book if you don't have it---
After singing the song and reading the book, I would have the students experiment with some creative movement. I'd ask them to show me how a leaf falls to the ground. If anyone falls with a thud (which I know they will do).... I'd ask the class "what kinds of sounds do leaves make when they fall to the ground?) This would be a gentle reminder that leaves do not "thud".
CONNECT WITH FALL SONGS
I love this gentle song and the video graphics. It shows falling leaves-which is important for the students to see, especially if they have not experienced the fall season.
Here's fun fall lesson over at Emily's Kodaly Music:
I use the "Leaves are Falling All Around" song for 2-4 classes. At first, I introduce the form of the song, then I have the students tap the rhythms and add in the words. Then we take a look at the solfege and practice so-mi -la and do.
After that I have the students sing the song and then challenge them to be silent during the "falling leaf" section. Then we get out sand blocks and shakers and play the sound of leaves falling during that section of the song. (We stand in a circle) I challenge them again, to sing the song and only play instruments during the falling leaf section. The students get very excited when they all follow the pattern. Then we trade instruments. This takes our whole class time. I take my time to teach each section and let the students get the full experience of learning, rhythms, solfege, patterns, form and relating it to "fall".
Included in this resource is a teaching video, the sheet music for all of the parts, an Mp3 of the Vocal and the Accompaniment tracks, teaching pages for Beat, Rhythm, Solfege and a printable for students to make their own "Leafy" rhythms. I think that "Leaves are Falling All Around" is a nice addition to some of my tried and true fall classics. It will work nicely with Rain, Rain Go Away, Doggie, Doggie Where's Your Bone, and I Had a Dog. If you're interested, you can find these resources in my store. The links are below.