Dancing and singing with a 3/4 beat gives young listeners a distinct sense of a rhythm that differs from the 4/4 pattern. Songs in 3/4 and 6/8 meter lend themselves to motions such as swaying, floating or gliding, and are fun to do with props such as scarves or streamers. In order to help children get the feel of the three quarter beat, one might put on a classic waltz such as the Blue Danube, Waltzing Matilda, or the nursery song “Lavender’s Blue.”
Just spend time feeling the beat and swaying or floating around the room. I have found that songs in three-quarter time lend themselves to singing about things that float in nature, such as snowflakes, flower petals or leaves falling in autumn. Here are two autumn songs to consider, using fall-colored scarves or streamers as props:
By Liz Buchanan
Ideal props for these songs are autumn-colored scarves or streamers. I also made a poster that says “October” at the top, with leaf cut-outs from left to right in orange, green, red, yellow and brown. I ask the children to “read” the leaf colors with me before we sing the song.
October, October (Motion: floating dance with scarf waving in your hand like a leaf)
Leaves orange green red yellow brown
October, the wind blows (Blow like the wind)
Leaves falling down, down to the ground (Slowly bring scarf and body down to the floor)
(Spoken: Now, a big gust! Woosh!) Leaves fall down to the ground. (This line can be sung much more quickly. At the sound of woosh, toss the scarf in the air and let it fall.)
We first practice this song seated, without scarves, so that children have a chance to learn the words and movements without the distraction of a scarf in their hands (or on their heads, which seems to be a popular spot).
You can hear my recording of this song here.
Autumn Leaves are A-Falling
Traditional folk tune
Autumn leaves are a-falling;
Red and yellow and brown;
Autumn leaves are a-falling,
See them fluttering down.
(Arms and hands above head, moving around as if they were fluttering leaves.)
Autumn leaves from the treetops
Flutter down to the ground,
When the wind blows its trumpet,
See them whirling around.
(Hands start out over head, then flutter slowly downward. When the wind whirls the leaves around, children spin their bodies around.)
Autumn leaves when they’re tired,
Settle down in a heap,
At the foot of the old tree,
Soon they’ll all fall asleep.
(Children sink softly to floor and pretend to fall asleep.)
You can hear the tune on this video.