“This is a do as I do song!”
One of our favorite ways to encourage participation in a group setting is to introduce “do as I do” songs. These songs require no pre-planned choreography…because it’s already part of the song itself! The lyrics give specific directions on what to do and how to move. This method is less intimidating than requiring beginning actors to follow a set routine. It is also comforting for them to have directions to follow rather than to experience the pressure that may go along with asking them to improv a freestyle dance. Below are some of our favorites…just press play and have fun!!
Two Feet – Julie Austin
This song gives students different suggestions for how to move their feet. (Including marching, tiptoe, skating, etc). Simply have students walk or step-touch in place as they listen for directions on how to move next. You can lead this song by having them stay in their spot, move in a circle, or freely move about the room. Plus, it is Miss Katie’s personal favorite.
Mr. Knickerbocker – Greg & Steve
This one helps to isolate movements to specific parts of the body (hips, knees, head, etc). Great for working on coordination and listening to directions!
If You’re Happy and You Know It – The Kiboomers
This one is a classic! Because many students may already be familiar with it, it is easy to encourage participation. Our favorite version includes clapping hands, stomping feet, and shouting “Hurray!”
A Tooty Ta – Dr. Jean Feldman
This song adds a level of difficulty by being cumulative in its movements. Each verse adds a new instruction to follow (thumbs up, elbows in, etc), until students’ bodies are contorted in a variety of ways. Everyone in the room is usually rolling on the floor in laughter by the end of this one!
The Freeze – Greg & Steve
The rules are simple – when the music stops, freeze! Similar to our favorite end-of-class game, Freeze Dance, but with this song you don’t have to stay near the pause button. It’s great for younger students, because the freeze time is short and predictable. In the meantime, freestyle dancing lets the fun and creativity run wild!