meet me at the garden gate

Playing With Improvisation

Playing With Improvisation

2, 4, 6, 8 – Recorder Version

2, 4, 6, 8 music

B Section

meet me at 3 o'clock music

2, 4, 6, 8 – RECORDER Teaching Process:

  • Sing song and ask students to label form. (abca)
  • Sing the first 4-beat motive, the a motive. Students echo the a motive.
  • Students sing the a motives and you sing the b & c motives.
  • Students sing the song and pat the steady beat.
  • Change steady beat to ‘pat-clap-hands out–clap’ and students imitate pattern while singing song.
  • Use the steady beat pattern for the a motives and students create new steady beat movements for the b & c motives to emphasize the form.
  • Present PowerPoint Slide 2. Speak B Section text.
  • Students perform ABA Form (A=2, 4, 6, 8 with steady beat movements & B=‘Meet Me at 3 O’clock spoken)
  • Students make a circle. Assign partners in a SINGLE circle with partners facing each other.
  • Partner dance for A Section:
    1. “2, 4, 6, 8” = pat–clap–partner–clap
    2. “Meet me at the garden gate” = double high 5 with partner, keep hands connected andchange places
    3. “If I’m late, don’t wait” = 4 steps to turn to face the person behind you and this personbecomes your new partner
    4. “2, 4, 6, 8” = pat-clap–partner–clap
  • Partner dance for B Section:
    1. “Meet me at 3 o’clock” = shake RIGHT HAND with partner you are facing and pull pastthem
    2. “Meet me at 3 o’clock” = shake LEFT HAND with the next person you are facing and pullpast them
    3. “Meet me at 3 o’clock” = shake RIGHT HAND with the next person you are facing and pullpast them
    4. “And don’t be late!” = shake pointer finger at them and this person becomes your new partner to repeat the entire game
  • Present PowerPoint Slides 3 & 4. Students identify gates as letter names or solfege.
  • Students sing song following gates on 3 line staff. Highlight notes as students sing by clicking your mouse or space bar.
  • Students sing song again using text or solfege. (PowerPoint Slides 5 & 6)
  • Present PowerPoint Slide 7. Students name notes on staff and then show fingerings on recorder. As each note is clicked in, students play the B Section text rhythm on one pitch at a time.
  • Present PowerPoint Slide 8. Students sing letter names and finger notes on recorder. Click in note names as they are sung using mouse or space bar.
  • Students perform A Section melody on recorder. (PowerPoint Slide 9)
  • Perform rhythm of BX & SG parts using body percussion (pats & snaps).
  • Present PowerPoint Slide 10. At barred instruments, students set up in G pentatonic. (Take off C’s & F’s.)
  • Students play a G simple bordun (G & D’) on beats 1 & 3 of each measure (this is the pat from the body percussion pattern).
  • Students play octave G’s on the snaps from the body percussion pattern.
  • Assign parts and perform while singing the song.
  • Present PowerPoint Slide 11. Students use pitch stack of the notes from the song (B-A-G-E) for improvisation. Students choose a note to play for each line of the “Meet me at 3 o’clock” B Section and then play BBAG for “And don’t be late!” (Or you can have your students suggest a pattern of notes for the last line.)
  •  Give students as much choice as possible for their improvisation of the B Section depending on known notes on recorder.
  • 1⁄2 students play the game and 1⁄2 students play recorder. Trade parts.


  • This lesson keeps the improvisation simple, however, students could also improvise using all 4 pitches on each line.
  • Students could use all 5 pitches of the G pentatonic scale by adding D into the pitch stack.
  • The B Section can be used for assessment by having students play only 1 line at a time as a solo.This moves quickly and you can assess many students in a short amount of time.

PowerPoint Tips:

  • Slides 3-6: Each gate gets a background color when you click the mouse or space bar in Slide Show. The gates that are split represent 2 eighth notes and will get their background color at the same time. This process helps students track the melody.
  • Slide 7: The order of the notes is: G E A B and for each note the order is: note on staff, note name, and then fingering.
  • Slide 8: The letter names of the notes can be clicked in with the mouse or space bar. You can click them in as students name them or you can talk through the notes and then students can play the song with the letters still in place. Slide 9 is the melody in notation with NO letter names above the notes.
  • Slide 10: Click to show the text “Take off C & F.” Click again and the C’s will leave the slide. One more click will remove the F’s.

Making it work for you:

  • The song with the game can be done as an activity alone.
  • Practice the 3rd motive with your students. This motive is the challenging motive of this song and once they get that one it is usually very successful.


Excerpts from Teaching With Improvisation: Technology With Integrity in the Orff Classroom by Lisa Sullivan. Copyright © 2014 by MIE Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Lisa Sullivan

Lisa Sullivan has taught music at Mohawk Trails Elementary in Carmel, IN for 27 years and in 2008, was named Carmel Clay Teacher of the year. Lisa holds a BM from Butler University and a MAE from Ball State University. Lisa published her first teacher resource during the summer of 2014 titled "Playing with Improvisation: Technology with Integrity in the Orff Classroom." Lisa currently serves as the Region VI representative for AOSA and has presented at multiple NAfME, AOSA, and IMEA conferences. Lisa teaches Orff Schulwerk Levels at Anderson University in Anderson, IN and DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Lisa also teaches Orff Curriculum and Orff Technology classes at Anderson University.

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  1. Katherine Iooss on September 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the tips and process details. I look forward to using this lesson for a review with 4th graders first quarter.

  2. Diane Bock on September 7, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    What ages do you typically play with this approach with this piece? thanks!

    • Lisa Sullivan on September 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

      I’ve done this lesson in 2nd grade with the game & barred instruments and I’ve also done it in 3rd grade as a recorder lesson! It could go easily into 4th grade but I probably wouldn’t use it below 2nd grade since there is a lot going on 🙂

  3. Jennifer Joray on September 8, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Thanks, Lisa! A lot to do in that well-crafted and thoughtful lesson. I use a lot of movement in my classrooms, as well as improv and reading notation. I recently had a two-year technology project which included Apple TV, a ceiling mount projector and the use of an iPad, but the wireless sound won’t really work through my speakers as my tech guys tell me it’s just too much information even with a wifi port in my classroom. I’m still working on it! This lesson will get used, although I’m not sure I’ll use the slides; maybe I’ll write the notation on the board Dalcroze-style, as that’s been really successful.

  4. Susan Bucher on September 8, 2016 at 7:43 am

    This is an excellent song. Thank you for sharing this activity. I can hardly wait to do it!

  5. Audrey on November 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

    It’s the day before break, and my brain is foggy, so please humor me 🙂

    What’s the C part?

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