Steps to Learning a Folk Song

back to folk songs

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Completed Rhythmic Dictation

Take Me Out to the Ball Game3

Writing the rhythms to Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Students really love this activity which takes 15 – 20 minutes.

  1. Sing the song
    • sing the song and talk about the meaning and/or historical context
  2. Map out the rhythm (rhythmic dictation)
    • measure by measure: decipher the rhythm to the song using the Music Mind Games® Blue Jello Puzzle™ or Real Rhythm Cards™
    • write the rhythm of the song over the song lyrics in Kodaly stick notation
  3. Map out the solfege syllables (melodic dictation)
    • listen to a few notes at a time of the melody played on the piano (no peeking)
    • write the notes in solfa syllables by the rhythms
    • play the song on the piano from beginning to end while singing the syllables
    • play the song on the piano while singing the words to the song

Benefits of Learning Folk Songs by Ear

  • develop in tune singing
  • recognize common musical patterns
  • understand and internalize complex rhythmic patterns
  • favorite songs can be elaborated upon as the student progresses (adding verses, harmony, etc)
  • students are motivated to play the songs because they are real songs!
Folk tunes are a great tool for teaching musical concepts. For instance, in the song, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” there is a slowing down, followed by a long pause, and then a return to the original speed. The musical concepts are called ritardando, fermata, and a tempo.
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow notated by a 7 year old student.

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow notated by a 9 year old student.