Roses are Red lesson

Roses Are Red: An Orff Inspired Valentine

Roses are Red:
An Orff Inspired Valentine

Lesson Process

Learning the Song

  • Speak the full poem for students. Then have them repeat it phrase by phrase until they learn it.
  • Using the same process, sing the full song for students and then have them echo by phrase to learn the song.
  • Introduce bordun pattern by having students pat the pattern on their legs while they sing.
  • Move some students to the instruments and have them play the bordun pattern while the rest of the class sings.

Question and Answer in a Circle

  • Have students sit in a circle and tell them to think of their favorite Valentine’s day candy.
  • Introduce a question and answer with students.
    • Sing your question on the pitches Sol and Mi: “What’s your favorite candy?” and students can reply with “I love chocolate,” “I love M&Ms,” and so on.
    • Give them several examples so that they are sure of the process before you proceed.

Roses are Red music

  • Sing a question and answer with students, going around the circle so that each student gets a chance to answer the question.
  • Several students can stay on the BX and BM to play the bordun and keep the beat.
  • Sing the question and answer with 3 or 4 students and then sing the “Roses are Red” song again as a refrain. Do this AB pattern (refrain – Q&A) until you get all the way around the circle.

Next Steps

Word Chain and AB Form

  • In a later lesson, come back to the refrain (Roses are Red) and sing it with students.
  • Students should sit in duets, trios, or small groups. Then have students brainstorm their favorite types of candy.
  • Give them a few minutes to write out the names of their favorite candy.
  • Show students how to create a short word chain out of the candy names. For example, you could have something like

Roses are Red music

  • Have them piece together their own word chain in their small group.
  • Play the bordun pattern for students while they practice saying their word chain.
  • As a final form, students sing the A – refrain of “Roses are Red” and then let each small group speak their word chain as a B section while you play the bordun.  Alternate A and B until each group gets the chance to speak their word chain.
  • As a further extension, each small group could clap or pat the rhythm of their candy word chain.

National Standards Addressed:


Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.

Evaluate and Refine Plan and Make Enduring Understanding: Musicians evaluate, and refine their work through openness to new ideas, persistence, and the application of appropriate criteria.

Essential Question: How do musicians improve the quality of their creative work?


Anchor Standard 5: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Enduring Understanding: To express their musical ideas, musicians analyze, evaluate, and refine their performance over time through openness to new ideas, persistence, and the application of appropriate criteria.

Essential Question: How do musicians improve the quality of their performance?

For more inspiration and encouragement, visit David’s website – Make Moments Matter

David Row

David Row loves teaching music to kids! A Nebraska native and Midwesterner at heart, David now lives and teaches in the Kansas City metro area for the DeSoto Unified School District. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, completed three levels and a master course in Orff Schulwerk training, and has extensive experience with critical thinking in the arts. David is an active clinician and has presented workshops at national, state, and local conventions across the United States and Canada. He is an AOSA-approved Orff Schulwerk teacher educator and is excited to be joining the OCPS & Central Florida Orff Chapter for Levels this summer in Orlando. On his blog,, David shares ideas about classroom content, management, lesson plans, critical thinking, and more. Search for “Make Moments Matter: A Music Education Podcast!” wherever you download podcasts or catch up with David every week on his “Musical Mondays” LIVE videos on Facebook.

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  1. Genia Edmonds on February 13, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sonya on February 14, 2017 at 5:53 am

    Simple but fun idea. Can’t wait to try it.

  3. Brian Michaud on February 14, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Excellent lesson and extension ideas!

  4. Vanessa on February 11, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Love this!! Thanks for sharing! I have hope one day that the OkMEA Elementary President will get you to come to Oklahoma to present at our Winter Conference!

    • David Row on February 14, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks for trying out this lesson, Vanessa! I’d love to come and share in Oklahoma some day!

      • Melicia on February 6, 2020 at 5:01 pm

        And then you did and we loved it here in OK. So many great ideas and enthusiasm!

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