Put Your Hands Together!


Hi all! This is Amy from Music a la Abbott.  I hope you all enjoyed the previous two posts from Karla and Kate: I love Karla's ideas for surviving the end of the school year (proud to say, I'm one week into summer vacation) and Kate's ideas for reflecting on the year and looking forward.  I debated many different things to blog about today.  Some of my ideas were on pacing, transitions, engagement rates, scaffolding but like I said, I'm on summer vacation!  So, I decided to focus on something fun: Hand clapping games.

Before I share a few of my favorite hand clapping games, let's talk about why hand clapping games are important.  We know that hand clapping games are important for their musical purposes but also for all their non-musical reasons as well.  Hand clapping games have been researched and proven to help with motor skills and motor planning, crossing the mid line, bilateral coordination, visual tracking and socialization.  {My O.T. (occupational therapists) love it when I teach the students hand clapping games because it's working their gross motor skills and that directly impacts their fine motor skills.  The classroom teachers love it because they see an impact in their phonemic awareness, rhyming, and tracking skills.}  Two other things that it's been confirmed to help with, and as music teachers is important to us is, sequencing & patterns and beat & rhythm.

Hand clapping games: Blog post includes great songs with hand jives for your music lessons!




Now, here are a three of my favorites:


RONALD McDONALD
This one I learned during my Level 4 Kodály from Sean Diebler at Portland State University in 2002:

Hand clapping games: Blog post includes great songs with hand jives for your music lessons!

Said with a steady beat at the end:
Two big kids, sitting on a fence.
Trying to make a dollar out of 85 cents.
They missed, they missed, they missed like this!

Here's the pattern, it's an 8 beat repeating pattern with beats 7 & 8 of the pattern changing.:
Beats 1 & 2:  Left hand facing up, right hand facing down (with a partner or in a large circle), the left hand "swishes" up to the partner's right hand (or the person next to you in the circle) and the right hand "swishes" down to the partner's left hand (or the person next to you in a circle)

Beats 3 & 4: pat both partners hands (or the hands of the people on each side of you in a circle)

Beat 5 & 6: clap your own hands

Beat 7 & 8: "hitch hike" hand (hands in a first with thumbs up) over your shoulder, pointing your thumbs backwards on beat 7 and rest there on beat 8

This pattern continues through the song and then changes for the next few phrases after "Ice cream soda"
**Ice cream soda, beats 1-6 the same as above
Beats 7 & 8, with fists, and thumbs out, point the thumb down in front of you with the back of your hands facing you on beat 7, rest there on beat 8

**Down, down baby, beats 1-6 the same as above:
On "Roller coaster," with one arm, "wave" your hand in front of you like it's going up and down a roller coaster

** Sweet Sweet baby, beats 1-6 the same as above:
On "let you go," give yourself a hug and twist

** Shimmy, Shimmy, beats 1-6 the same as above:
On "round" do the "cabbage patch" motion

** Two big kids, , beats 1-6 the same as above:
Same motions as the Ice Cream soda

On "they missed, they missed, they missed like this!:
Jump out, with feet apart on the first "missed"
Jump, crossing legs, on the second "missed"
Jump out, with feet apart on the third "missed"

**  Kodály cops please do not judge me: Sean taught it "Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa puff, shimmy, shimmy, pow!" with a punching motion.  That caused some classroom management issues.  So, "Down Down Baby" is in the Amidon's collection and I used their version of that for the ending.


Say, Say O' Playmate
This one I learned from my dad who learned it from his mom.  I remember her singing it, but I don't remember the clapping game from her since she passed away when I was 9. (it's the Ice Cream Truck song, lol!!!)
Hand clapping games: Blog post includes great songs with hand jives for your music lessons!

The directions for this one are written below the text.


Four White Horses
This one I learned from Ann Kay when I was in college in 1997.  That year the local Orff chapter did a whole theme on "Orff and Kodály".  Ann actually presented a wonderful Orff arrangement that she wrote for this song.  I wish she'd publish some of her "stuff," it's pretty amazing!

Hand clapping games: Blog post includes great songs with hand jives for your music lessons!

The pattern is a 6-beat pattern, with a group of 4.
Formation: two sets of partners, facing each other, as shown below:

Beat 1: clap own hands
Beat 2: pat partner's hands (one set of partners will go up, the other will go down)
Beat 3: clap own hands
Beat 4: pat partner's hands (switch, the set that went up will go down and vice verse)
Beat 5: clap own hands
Beat 6: pat corner's hands (people on each side of you that are not your partner, one hand for each corner)

You can also try having the students make up their own clapping pattern within their group of four!

I hope you all have a wonderful start to your summer.  For those of you in Australia, carry on!  When we're in the midst of winter don't forget to remind us that you're enjoying your summer vacations!

3 comments

  1. Great post, Amy! I know "Say, Say my playmate" and "Four white horses," but have never heard "Ronald McDonald." So much fun...thanks!

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  2. Love this! I can't wait to try this with some of my older kids next year!

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  3. Ooh! I love Four White Horses but I haven't taught it in years! I will have to add that back in this year. Thanks!!

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