A Bushel of Apple Songs and Chants

Happy September everyone!  This is Amy from Music a la Abbott.  If you're like me, this is the time of year when your kindergarten teachers come to you and ask you to teach their children some apple songs!  So, without further adieu:

There are actually quite a few quality apple songs and chants that can fit in nicely with the Kodály curriculum in kindergarten at this time of year.  For me, kindergarten is all about exploration, experience, developing a singing voice (getting into that lovely head register) and learning about comparatives.   

One favorite chant of mine and the students is this one:

I love chants because they are so versatile and you can change them easily to suit your needs.  My kinders have been practicing their "4 voices": singing, speaking, whisper and calling.  With "I Climbed Up the Apple Tree", you can easily add a simple tune or use "arioso" singing (a la J. Feierabend).  It's also a GREAT chant for steady beat, which can also lead into fast and slow.  Depending on how far you want to go into it you can have students say it in high voices and low voices.  It's great for vocal exploration: on the first phrase have them get higher as they say "I climbed up the apple tree".  You can even add some vocalize of going up or down on syllables. ..  and you could also add making "dropping" sounds of apples falling from the tree.

 I've always seen "Apples, Peaches, Pears and Plums" as a chant but in looking through my Kodály resources that my district colleagues and I collected I found this version (the downfall being that I don't have a source for the melodic notation.  I can trust though, that the melodic line is contrived.):

As a chant you can also use this for "4 voices" and vocal exploration.  Non-musically speaking, it reinforces students birth months (is anyone else always astonished at the number of kindergartners that don't know their birth month?)  Simply have the students stand up or sit down when they hear their birth month.  With this little melody you could  have the students play a pitched instrument, such as the xylophone on an open 5th, for a simple accompaniment.

Here's a fun finger play that I learned from the Amidon's:
I've got a basket of apples picked from the tree,
Rosy red for you, shiny green for me.
Some of them are big and some of them are small,
Some are like an oval and some are like a ball.
Some of them are sour and some of them are sweet,
Lots of lovely apples for you and me to eat.
As with all finger plays, you act out the motions described in the poem.

This little chant I learned from my mom:

Two Little Apples
Two little apples hanging from the tree, (extend arms to the side and cup each hand to make apples)
Two little apples smiling at me, (turn cupped hands forward)
I shook that tree as hard as I could, (shake body and arms)
Down came the apples, (squat down on the ground)
Mm! Were they good! (rub stomach)

Wind up the Apple Tree is always a favorite of my students and has a game that's similar to one of my Snail, Snail Games.

Game: line game with a leader (I always am the first leader to model the game).  Everyone follows the person in front of them, holding hands.  The leader leads the group around in a spiral shape so that eventually the leader is caught in the middle.  This is all the while singing the first verse.  During the second verse the leader leads in the opposite direction in order to unwind yourself.

Here are a couple other variations you could play:
*  One of the children could be the leader and go around in any direction with the children following
*  In a circle, walk in one direction.  At the end of the song, all jump and sing verse two walking in the opposite direction.
*  In a circle, ask the students to walk to the right as they sing but when they hear a signal, such as a drum played by the teacher, they should change directions and go the other way.
*  This little song, too, works well with an open 5th bordon on the xylophone.

Now, if you've been around the Kodály world long enough I'm sure you've run across this gem quite a few times:

There are MANY ways to play this but my favorite is playing it like "London Bridge".  A student and I join hands to make an arch.  The rest of the students are holding hands in a circle.  As the song is sung, the students walk around.  On the word "out" the student and I lower our arms and catch someone.  This person becomes the tree with us.  As the song progresses the tree gets larger and larger.  I have many extensions that I do with this song in second grade, including an apple picking PowerPoint, a disappearing song and a teaching PowerPoint. Just this year I found apples at Oriental Trading that are like Easter eggs in that they open up and you can put things in them.  I'm going to use my scrambled egg cards with them to use as a song sort.  But I'm also going to use some "4 voices" cards and comparative cards that I'll be making to use with the chants listed above.  I use to not teach this singing game in kindergarten but with a 4 day rotation I'm finding that I need to build song literature in kindergarten that I'll bring back in 1st and 2nd grade as a way to make the most of my time with the students.

"Applesauce Rock" is also a fun song that you can find in the Amidon's book, "I'm Growing Up."  It's sung to the tune of "Peanut Butter and Jelly" and was made up by Andy Davis.  For copyright reasons I'm not including it in this post, but do check out that book by the Amidons and Andy Davis. It's a fabulous early childhood resource!

I hope you all have a fruitful and fun fall!

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