Continuing my series of reviewing old, yet good singing books for the Primary Music classroom.
“Flying Around” is a book of rounds. There are 88 in all but I use only a small amount of them. There is a good selection, with songs that could be used from Key Stage 1 all the way to Key Stage 4. My favourites are “Make new friends”, “Canoe song”, “Sandy Mc Nab”, “Kookaburra”, “I like the flowers”, “Shalom”, “Land of the silver birch”, “Come and sing together”, “Calypso”, “Mrs. O’Leary’s lantern” and “Junkanoo”.
I use them in choir and in lessons. I have found it works best when you physically put children into three or four groups in the corners of the music room and have two leaders for each group. They seem to struggle with this for Year 1 but with time they get used to it, and in Year 2 there are not too many difficulties. I normally just have two-part rounds for Year 1 and then move to three and four-part rounds for Year 2. If you don’t have a pianist for your choir, this can be difficult to direct; this is why choir always works best with either a pianist accompaniest or a second helper. The suggested ostinatos in the book are quite useful although I sometimes make up my own on tuned percussion. They keep the children in time as long as you have some individuals who can play well to a steady beat.
I always have a round or two in every choir practice. It is one of the best ways to prepare children for part singing, and also is a very good way of encouraging children to sing together in time. When they are really confident, perform them unaccompanied. I don’t do any part singing until Year 3 when we start some simple two part pieces. I will blog in the future about “Banana Splits”, a good book to use with material to get children into part singing. That is probably the next step up from “Flying A Round”, although there is plenty of overlap.