Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner? 
Here is a Thanksgiving song I love to use in my classroom with 1st and 2nd graders.

Thanksgiving Day is a song I saw in the OAKE Western Division newsletter a number of years ago. It was submitted by Verla Boyd and Kathleen Bassett. (I've also seen a few variants of this song around the internet.)
We sing this with autoharp accompaniment. In the 1st grade classes students pair up and one student presses buttons for chord changes while the other strums the steady beat, (the autoharp sits on the floor and the strummer strums away from their body.) I bring this song back in 2nd grade for fun with one student per instrument, strumming and pressing buttons for chord changes.

This year I'm adding singing solos by having two students acting out the Turkey and Pumpkin roles.

You could easily add bordon accompaniment on Orff instruments if you want to avoid autoharps. 

I know that autoharps have fallen out of favor in most music classrooms and I understand why: many teachers inherit a few clunky, dusty autoharps that haven't been tuned since the 80s. However, autoharps can be a great addition to the music class allowing students to practice the steady beat and easily play full chord accompaniments. (It's exciting to hear the 3rd in the chord for a change!) 
It's worth remembering: for a song with 2 chord accompaniment you only have to tune the notes in those chords. That certainly saves time when you're faced with 6 out-of-tune autoharps!

If you are interested in a better autoharp, you must see Evo Bluestein's line of autoharps, especially the Sparrowharp. Evo came and presented a few sessions for the OAKE Western Division mini-conference in 2008 and he is a wonderful musician, teacher, and champion for traditional american folk music. His Evoharps have a beautiful sound and appearance and are so much easier to hold and play then the awkward Oscar Schmidt black and reddish autoharps in my room. I don't own a Evoharp yet, my school music budget is not that healthy and I'd rather buy it for myself and not have it belong to the school. Maybe I need to ask Santa!

No comments:

Post a Comment