Duckies Together (How to use bouncy balls to practice rhythm)
We’re doing a ball song for our classes At Home and Outdoors! Is this ambitious? Probably. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it educational? Always!
Ball songs in Music Class can be a bit chaotic because children are (understandably) used to throwing or kicking balls for sports things. (Can you tell how much I know about sports?) During Music Class, we ask kids to roll or tap or even bounce on their ball to the beat. Why? The goal is to use something fun (like a ball) to practice rhythm. There are so many amazing ways to practice rhythm, this is just one of them!
“Duckies Together” is written in triple meter with a ritardando at the end of each verse. What can you do to practice these rhythmic concepts? Turn on “Duckies Together” and sway side to side to the beat. Then try counting “1-2-3, 1-2-3” each time you sway to one side. Do you feel it? Are you counting “1-2-3” and swaying kind of fast? That’s the triple meter! It’s quick in this song, like a Viennese Waltz. When you’re rolling or tapping the ball, just try sticking to that same beat! Try rolling or tapping each time you count “1.”
The ritardando is super easy and fun to practice. Just stop rolling and put the ball on top of your head when the music slows down and you hear the animal sounds! BOOM RITARDANDO! Then start rolling again when the music starts back up.
The second educational goal for “Duckies Together” is to expose kids to this very specific musical style. “Duckies Together” is an ode to the French ballad made popular by Édith Piaf. Her most famous song is “La Vie En Rose,” which you have certainly heard sung by Louis Armstrong or Andrea Bocelli or Lady Gaga or a million other musicians because it’s a ridiculously famous Jazz Standard! Here is a rare video of the legend singing her own song live.
Listen to “Duckies Together” and see if you can hear the stylistic similarities!