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We All Go Together - A Review

by Mary Shamrock

Creative Activities for Children to Use with Multicultural Folksongs

by Doug Lipman.
Oryx Press, Phoenix, Arizona, 1994.
Book with audio cassette tape, $24.50. [Available directly from Doug Lipman]

The core of this volume is a set of thirty folk songs from cultural sources including

  • African-American,
  • Anglo-American,
  • Hispanic-American
traditions as well as from
  • Bulgaria
  • England
  • Ghana
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Jamaica and
  • Korea.
Many of them will be familiar to experienced teachers, but there are also some refreshing variants of old favorites.

The songs are far from being ends in themselves; they are considered the foundation for development of activities that are suitable for the age level and needs of the children involved. (The targeted age group is preschool through ten or eleven).

The premise is that children take ownership of songs only when they have developed their own unique versions and uses. The recommended activity types include:

  • Games
  • Movement
  • New Verses
which are presented in chapters separate from the songs with the intent that teachers mix and match songs and activities.

Game activities are organized according to difficulty/complexity, including these categories:

  • choosing other players (from a large group, partners, partner stealing),
  • chasing and racing (including tag variants, cooperative racing),
  • guessing,
  • hiding (finding hidden people and objects),
  • line and circle games,
  • rhythm games (pounding, passing objects, rope jumping, clapping).
  • Most complex in the collection are play party games, organized according to the movement figures included.

Movements are also organized and developed by categories:

  • repeated pulse movements
  • sequential pulse movements (including imitative and abstract)
  • nonpulse rhythms (to accent particular words or replicate the song text),
  • movements for standing, lying and moving around,
  • movements with others.
The third activity category, new verses, includes replacing one word, a phrase, two or more separate words or phrases. The creation of opportunities for solo singing is linked with these activities.

An especially noteworthy feature of this volume is an excellent section of background for the songs, both as categories (work songs, religious songs, dance songs, game songs, ballad and other types) and as individual examples.

This type of material is crucial for creating a meaningful context for the songs, for connecting them to their source. There also is a short section devoted to curricular connections that can be made through the various songs. Finally, the author is thorough in documenting sources for the song material and generous in suggesting follow-up resources.

This volume transmits the wisdom of someone who for many years has taught children, creatively and with great sensitivity.

Maintaining that all teachers have the capacity to present his material effectively in the classroom, he discusses alternative routes to learning the songs and to presenting them.

Much care is given to explaining the process:

  • for development of the various activities with children,
  • for assessing their effectiveness, and
  • for making appropriate modifications.
This approach is invaluable for teachers inexperienced or insecure in using music in the classroom.

This would be an excellent resource to include as text material in a music methods course for future classroom teachers. I see it as equally valuable for beginning music teachers working with the early childhood age group. The author is to be commended for a fine piece for work.

This article appeared in the fall, 1995 issue of The Orff Echo., a publication of:

© 1995. Reprinted by permission.
The opinions stated are those of the reviewer and not of the editors or the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. The editors wish to thank those publishers and members of industry who graciously donate copies of books and material for review.



Doug Lipman

152 Wenonah Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 U.S.A.
Phone: (781) 837-1940
Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
Fax (toll-free): (888) 300-6665

This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2003 Doug Lipman