All grades are beginning a unit that combines Appalachian folk songs and singing games with music theory for some rather active music classes! Utilizing resources from the Smithsonian, Appalachian State, and research from the University of Kentucky, our students are playing various singing games from the mountain region of North Carolina dating back to the late 1700's. As these songs have been passed down through oral tradition, students have evaluated the possible alterations that may have been made, the purpose of the song/activity (work, play, lullaby, times of hardship), and regional variations. Students recognize the link between this "old time" play and the way they learn singing games-- like "Down by the River" or "Miss Mary Mac."
A favorite of grades 3-5 is "King William." The game was utilized to meet new folks when many farmhands of different mountain areas gathered. We discuss the value of human contact, the value of knowing a person's name, and appropriate interaction. The students enjoy hearing "Emma" sing. We use the linked audio below to discuss changes in recording technology over the years, and how important it is that we talk to people older than us, so that we can learn the traditions that shaped our lives today!
King William was King James' Son