Engine Engine Number Nine

Welcome to Episode 2. Today we’re going to share a rhyme that covers so many bases, including taking turns and development of pulse.

Engine Engine Number Nine

This rhyme has so many uses

  • It’s great for the relaxation segment of your lesson after your students have focused for a few minutes and need to reset, or to help you transition to a new activity
  • The game includes movement so gets the children out of their seats and stretching their legs
  • The game involves turn taking as different children get to be the engine driver
  • It uses the speaking voice so perfect for that first term when you’re exploring voice types
  • It’s use of the speaking voice also makes it very attractive for teachers who aren’t yet confident using their own singing voices in the classroom
  • The actions help our students to feel the pulse or beat kinaesthetically and later we will use train icons when we visually represent the beat
  • We can also use it later on when we’re exploring rhythm

The Game

You’ll definitely want to change the town from Worcester to your own town. Try not to squeeze in too many syllables though – look around your area for something suitable, or use Playground or something neutral.

Once the students have learnt the rhyme ask them to improvise some train actions. It’s almost inevitable that someone will do a chugging train action where their bent arms represent the side rods that drive the wheels.

Let’s make a train and chug around the room. I’ll be the engine driver.

Lead the children round the room while continuing to chug with their arms, and ideally marching with their feet too. When they get to the toot phrase, they can pretend to pull on the whistle cord.

There’s only so long that this will be interesting though. So once you’ve modelled a good walking speed you can allow a student to be the engine driver. And after each repeat you can peel the front child off, they go to the back and we get a new driver.

So here’s an additional phrase to make the change

“Sarah goes to the rear, Matthew is my engineer”

Clearly with a class of 30 not every child will get a turn each week so you’ll need to manage that to maintain a sense of fairness.

Remember that children have much shorter legs than adults, so you need to ensure that your walking and rhyme speed is fast enough for them to be able to walk to the beat. Otherwise they will take extra steps and some of the kinaesthetic benefit will be lost.

You’ll also notice that the driver might go too fast for the class, or one of the carriages isn’t concentrating and you might get a split in the train. So watch out for that too.

Make sure you let us know what you think of the rhyme and if you use it in your lessons. You can get in touch with us through our website at doremiconnect.co.uk

Do share us with your colleagues if you’ve found it helpful

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

I’ll see you soon here, on Facebook, Twitter or at doremiconnect.co.uk to help you achieve your music teaching goals using the Kodály approach.

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