Every morning, we listen to the songs that we are learning. Declan’s favorite song is always a folk song. I hear songs like “The Keeper Did A’Hunting Go,” “Billy Boy,” and “Barbara Allen“ over and over throughout the day. Folk songs are such entertaining stories and quite often humorous, like “On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at,” where a man is seen without a hat and is told “you will catch your death of cold, be buried, be eaten by worms which will be eaten by ducks which will be eaten by us which means will have eaten you!- all because you didn’t wear a hat on Ilka Moor.”
These are NOT bluegrass. They are hauntingly beautiful ballads or spirited anecdotes. One of my personal favorites so far has been Lord Randall:
To learn these songs, I make a YouTube playlist at the beginning of our year. Every month, I make a playlist for that month and add songs from my master year list to the month list. We periodically go back and listen to our old songs (hymns, classical, AND folk music) to refresh our memories. In choosing the songs that we listen to, I always try to find two versions of each song from the following list: a cappella, instrumental (the more variety the better!), big band, solos, and groups.
For example, when we were learning “The Three Ravens,” (my other favorite!) I chose three versions: one by Peter, Paul and Mary; a harp solo; and a guitar solo. We have discovered many “new” instruments and styles this way!
A song can turn into a history study: when was it written, what is it really about, how did affect the people who heard it? I often get requests for coloring pages related to the subject of a song. Songs have become complete unit studies!
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato