Welcome to Episode 15 of the Doremi Teach podcast. Today I’m going to teach you a song that’s perfect for preparing pitch and introducing part work.


Cuckoo, where are you?

Here I am, I see you!

Hello there and welcome to the Doremi Teach podcast. If you’re interested in teaching musical skills and literacy through singing then this is the place for you. My name is Helen Russell from Doremi Connect and I’m going to help you achieve your goals using the Kodály approach.

Benefits of Cuckoo

  • This song is used to prepare pitch and introduce part work with Question and Answer
  • The toneset is mi-so with a range of a Minor 3rd so ideal for little voices and for nervous teachers
  • It uses the so-mi motif, which is the easiest for beginner singers to pitch accurately because it is used naturally in playgrounds all over the world, ner-ner ner-ner
  • It’s ideal for teaching the piano as we can play on any two black keys a skip apart
  • It’s easy to transfer to tuned percussion – just find a minor third like D with F, E with G, A with C or B with D
  • The game involves solo singing
  • The rhythm is very simple, just using ta and titi or crotchets and quavers so this will reappear throughout the curriculum as we prepare and present rhythm

The Game

There are two characters in this song. The cuckoo, who is hiding, and someone looking for the cuckoo.

Once the song is known well you can choose two students to sing the two parts.

One is the guesser, who sings the question and is looking for the cuckoo. They must keep their eyes closed.

The other is chosen secretly, and is the cuckoo. They will sing the solo.

The guesser sings the opening question, either as a solo or with the class, and then has to identify the cuckoo just from the sound, and direction, of their voice.

I like to use a bird finger puppet to select the cuckoo. They then hold it behind their backs. This way it’s really clear who the cuckoo is, and the other students must stay quiet.

Top tip: the answer phrase for this song has a tricky turn of phrase, so make sure the students get plenty of opportunities to listen to it before you ask them to sing. I do this by letting them sing the question while I sing the answer and hide the cuckoo puppet.

Make sure you let us know what you think of the episode and do share it with your colleagues if you’ve found it helpful

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I hope you have a lovely week, filled with music and singing.

You’ve been listening to the Doremi Teach podcast with Helen Russell from Doremi Connect. Helping you achieve your music teaching goals with the Kodály approach.


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