hot cross buns

Improvisation Lesson: Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns 

an excerpt from This Is What I Can Do: Improvisation Starters for Music Classes K-5

by Patrick Ware

I do

  • Teach the words and melody of the B section.
  • Many children will be familiar with this song.
  • After completing the ‘We do’ teach the words and melody of the A section.
  • Where the B section is very traditional, the A section is sung in a swing style.

We do

  • Have students explore the 4 levels of body percussion
  • Allow students time to Snap, Clap, Patchen (patting legs) and Stomp
  • With each body percussion exploration begin by asking, “How many different sounds can you make using a ____________?
  • Once students have explored the possibilities have each student create their own 8 beat body percussion rhythm.
  • Encourage students to create an idea that they can remember and can readily re-create. Simplicity is good.
  • Have students exchange 8 beat body percussion rhythms in shared space.

They do

  • Having learned the A section; while singing students will use the A section to jazz walk to a new partner. Students should have selected a new partner before the end of the A section
    • During A section new-found partners create their own walk.
    • During A section partners figure our who is improvising first
  • During the B sections students sing melody the melody while keeping the beat with a patchen clap pattern.
  • In C section students take turns trading body percussion improvisations
  • The final form is ABCAB

What’s left to do

  • Play the arrangement on barred instruments
  • Add recorder and/or barred instrument improvising in E blues (E G A Bb B D E)
  • Add vocal improvisation

This lesson has been reproduced with permission, and is an excerpt from Patrick’s book, This Is What I Can Do: Improvisation Starters for Music Classes K-5. Classic Orff process added to some cool jazz riffs in arrangements of children’s rhymes and original tunes makes this book a perfect addition to your classroom library. Beatin’ Path Publications, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9963591-6-0

Patrick Ware

Patrick Ware is an internationally known Orff - Schulwerk clinician and choral conductor. With a service to education spanning more than 20 years, he holds a B.A. in Music from Westfield State University, an MS.Ed from Radford University and a DMA from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University. Dr. Ware is a National Board Certified Teacher in Music/Elementary and Middle Childhood. He is an AOSA Teacher Educator for all levels of movement and recorder as well as Levels I and II Basic Pedagogy. Patrick is published through Beatin’ Path Publications including works for treble choir with Orff Ensemble. Patrick teaches k-5 General Music and Chorus in Prince William County Virginia. His special focuses include Jazz and the use of children’s literature.

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  1. Bonnie Lockrem on September 28, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Lucky students to have you and your creative approach to music education.

  2. Rhonda on March 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    This looks perfect for my 5th graders who are studying jazz and recorder. I have your other book, but it is too advanced for my kids. Thank you for this! Will be purchasing this book for sure.

  3. Amanda on September 13, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I’m looking forward to doing this with my 3rd graders this year. We are studying jazz, scat, and will use HCB on recorder next year. Not sure what “jazz walk” means. Can you fill me in?

    • Kathleen Beard on June 25, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      I attended a workshop with Dr. Ware last year. Jazz walking is simply walking the half note and snapping beats 2 and 4. But you have to do it “cool cat” style. You can also include some “shhh’s” on swung 8th notes like the high hat.

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