Improvisation Lesson: Hot Cross Buns

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

About Patrick Ware

Patrick Ware

Dr. Patrick Ware holds degrees from Westfield State University, Radford University and Shenandoah Conservatory. He is and has been an instructor for levels I –III Orff-Schulwerk movement and recorder as well as level I basic pedagogy. Patrick teaches K-5 music in Woodbridge, Virginia, and is published through Beatin’ Path Publications.



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.


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