People all over the world use music to make work easier and more fun. Lead a short activity showing the connections between work and music. Divide into groups of three or four. Give each group a cards with one of the Object/Job pairs from the following list:
Object: broom. Job: Sweep the floor.
Object: books. Job: Stack the books into neat piles.
Object: scraps of paper. Job: Recycle the paper.
Object: pencils. Job: Sharpen the pencils.
Within five minutes, each group will create/compose a "work song" using the object on their card as a sound maker, or instrument. The only stipulations are that they must accomplish their job during their song and every member of the group must participate. They can add lyrics to their song if they choose.
Allow each group to perform their "work song." You may choose to keep the good ones for regular class clean-up routines!
"Imo Gal" is based on a work song from Jamaica. Life on the Jamaica plantations was hard for the people who were taken from their West African homes as slaves. Singing work songs helped them to do their work and stay connected with each other. A crew of men originally sang the song as they swung their picks to dig a trench. Imagine the crew of workers striking the earth with their picks as you listen to the song.
Clap where you think the picks would strike best in the rhythm of the song. (First beat of a 4/4 measure.)
Locate Jamaica on a map of the world.
ASK What are some of the instruments you hear? (marimba, drums, guiro, guitar, flute, bass guitar, shakers)
ASK What language is the song sung in? (English. People in Jamaica speak a dialect of English because Jamaica was an English colony. This is different than most other countries in Latin America, which were colonized by the Spanish and speak Spanish.)
Harmony: There is a Call and Response section in this song where two groups are singing back and forth. Initially, the teacher may want to sing the call (Part I) while the group sings the response (Part II). When both parts are learned well, divide the group into two parts to sing the call and response.
Game: Divide into two groups. Line up in two parallel lines about 10 feet apart.
Imagine the workers who originally sang the song. Pretend you are digging a trench that is in the middle of the two lines. Sing and make the motion of striking the pick into the earth. One group is the Call and the other group is the Response.
The two people at the front of each line will proceed down the trench, each doing a separate movement that they make up. Everyone on their line must imitate their movement as they proceed down the trench, while all continue to sing.
When they reach the end of the trench, they join the line again and the next two people go down the trench, performing a new movement they have created. (Limit movements to work-related activities, such as sweeping, hammering, raking, washing the car, mowing the yard, etc.)
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