Second Grade - Music - Lesson 15 - Songs


Learn to sing the chorus of a Scottish ballad.

Sing two American folk songs.


Words and music to songs, see below

Classroom size world map

Suggested Books

Cohn, Amy L., compiler. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

This is a really attractive collection, illustrated by Caldecott Medal and Honor book artists. Small paragraphs of information are given about each selection, and songs have music with both piano and guitar accompaniments.

Glazer, Tom. Do Your Ears Hang Low? Fifty More Musical Fingerplays. New York: Doubleday, 1980.

A sequel to an earlier book by this well-known folk guitar artist, this is a good collection with very simple chord changes and piano accompaniments. Some of the songs are traditional folk songs; others are written by Glazer for children. Black and white line drawings by Mila Lazarevich are charming and suggested finger and body movements are good for children as young as kindergarten.


For each of the following songs, have the children follow the music provided on an overhead as they sing the choruses and you sing the verses, so that they continue to gain familiarity with musical notation. You might want to point out quarter notes, quarter rests, and the treble clef sign that encircles the line for G on the staff.

Old Dan Tucker

The words and music to this song were written by Daniel (Decatur) Emmett, a nineteenth-century composer (1815-1904) of popular songs from Mt. Vernon, Ohio. This is one of those humorous nonsense songs that went along with the nineteenth-century migration westward. Emmett was for some time composer for a minstrel company in New York City where his main claim to fame was as composer of the song "Dixie."

If any of the children have had Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House On the Prairie read to them, they will remember that Pa played his fiddle to accompany Mr. Edwards singing Ol Dan Tucker in that story.


Ol' Dan Tucker, he came to town,

Riding a billy goat, leadin' a hound.

The hound gave a yelp, the goat gave a jump

And threw ol' Dan a-straddle of a stump, so--


Second Grade - Music - Lesson 15 - Songs


Get out' the way for ol' Dan Tucker!

He's too late to get his supper.

Supper's over and breakfast's cooking,

Ol' Dan Tucker just standin' there lookin'.


Ol' Dan Tucker was a fine old man, He washed his face in a frying pan,

He combed his hair with a wagon wheel

And died with a toothache in his heel, so--



When at night he went to bed,

He pulled a nightcap over his head.

He tried to sleep but it wasn't any use

'Cause his legs hung out for the chickens to roost, so--




Dan wore his shirttails outside his coat,

Buttoned his breeches up round his throat.

His nose stuck out, his eyes stuck in,

And his beard grew out all over his chin, so--


Loch Lomond

The text for this song is attributed to Alicia Ann (Lady John) Scott. She lived between 1810 and 1900 and was was one of the first collectors of Scottish folk songs. She also composed original drawing room ballads, usually with harp accompaniment, and wrote both words and music to the well-known song "Annie Laurie."

Tell the children that the words of this song are from Scotland, which is in the northern part of the British Isles, and have someone try to find it on the map. Ask: Does anyone know what language people in Scotland speak? If you can give some examples of different regional pronunciations of English (New England, British, Irish, Southern U.S., for example) this would help them understand. Ask whether the children know people who speak English in a way that sounds different to their ears and have them share the sounds and words with the class.

Tell them that there are some special words in the song that the Scots people use when they speak English. Say: Loch Lomond is the way Scots people say Lake Lomond, and Lake Lomond is a very large lake in Scotland. Other vocabulary you may want to explain to them before singing the song are: bonnie (pretty), braes (hillsides) ken (know), wee (tiny).


Second Grade - Music - Lesson 15 - Songs

When you have taught them the chorus, ask someone to tell you what kind of song it is and what the person singing the song might say in American English if he or she were describing the same feelings and a similar scene.


By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,

Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,

Where me and my true love were ever wont to be,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.


O, you'll take the high road

And I'll take the low road,

And I'll be in Scotland before you;

But me and my true love will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.


I mind where we parted in yon shady glen,

On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond,

Where in deep purple hue the Highland hills we view,

And the moon coming out in the gloaming



The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring,

And in sunshine the waters are sleeping,

But the broken heart will ken no second spring again,

And the world does not know how we are greeting.


Sweet Betsy From Pike

This song is a bit bawdy for first graders, but it's nice to find a traditional folk song with a feisty, independent woman as the main character. It's a good one for the children to follow on the overhead, since its melody keeps outlining a simple C-major chord and the note values are unusually regular. The song apparently comes from California and was first published in 1858. It celebrates a kind of legendary heroine typical of the days of the gold rush. According to the legend, Betsy started out in Pike County, Missouri and traveled by covered wagon in Placerville, California, which was a mining town. There are at least a couple of versions, and, where they're different, I've given the alternate words as well. You'll notice the differences in male-female roles in the two versions.


Oh, don't you remember sweet Betsy from Pike,

Who crossed the big mountains her lover Ike,

With two yoke of oxen, a big yellow dog,

And a tall Shanghai rooster and one spotted hog?

Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay.



Hoodle dang, fol-de-dye-do, hoodle dang, fol-de-day.


One evening quite early they camped on the Platte.

'Twas near by the road on a green shady flat,

Where Betsy, quite tired, she laid down to repose.

While with wonder Ike gazed on his Pike County rose.


Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay. Hoodle dang, fol-de-dye-do, hoodle dang, fol-de-day.


The rooster ran off and the oxen all died;

The last piece of bacon that morning was fried.

Poor Ike got discouraged & Betsy got mad;

The dog wagged his tail and looked wonderfully sad.

Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay. Hoodle dang, fol-de-dye-do, hoodle dang, fol-de-day.


They soon reached the desert, where Betsy gave out.

And down in the sand she lay rolling about,

While Ike, in great tears, he looked on in surprise,

Saying, "Betsy, get up, you'll get sand in your eyes."


The alkali desert was burning and hot.

And Ike, he decided to leave on the spot:

"My dear old Pike County, I'll go back to you."

Said Betsy, "You'll go by yourself if you do."


Sweet Betsy got up in a great deal of pain

And declared she'd go back to Pike County again.

Then Ike heaved a sigh and they fondly embraced,

And she traveled along with his arm 'round her waist.

Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay.


They swam the wide rivers, they crossed the tall peaks,

They camped out on prairies for weeks and for weeks,

Fought off starvation & big storms of dust,

Determined to reach California or bust.

Hoodle dang, fol-de-dye-do, hoodle dang, fol-de-day.

The Shanghai ran off and the cattle all died.

The last piece of bacon that morning was fried.

Poor Ike got discouraged, and Betsy got mad.

The dog wagged his tail and looked wonderfully sad.

Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay.

They passed the Sierras through mountains of snow,

'Til old California was sighted below.

Sweet Betsy, she hollered, and Ike gave a cheer,

Said, "Betsy, my darlin', I'm a made millioneer."

Hoodle dang, fol-de-dye-do, hoodle dang, fol-de-day.


One morning they climbed up a very high hill

And with wonder looked down into old Placerville.

Ike shouted and said, as he cast his eyes down,

"Sweet Betsy, my darling, we've got to Hangtown."


Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay.


Long Ike and sweet Betsy attended a dance,

Where Ike wore a pair of his Pike County pants.

Sweet Betsy was covered with ribbons and rings.

Quoth Ike, "You're an angel, but where are your wings."


Long Ike and sweet Betsy got married, of course,

But Ike, getting jealous, obtained a divorce.

And Betsy, well satisfied, said with a smile,

"There are six good men waiting within half a mile."

Singing toora-li-oo, ra-li-oo, ra-li-ay.


Second Grade - Music - Lesson 16 - Petrouchka


Hear the story of a famous Russian ballet.

Understand that ballet combines music, dance, and story.

Listen carefully to the music written for the ballet.


Recording of Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Tableau I, "The Shrove-Tide Fair" (ca. 8-10 min.)

Story of the ballet Petrouchka, see Suggested Book, or see synopsis below

Picture of nineteenth-century Russian city to illustrate typical architecture and dress or

illustration in Suggested Book below

Large piece of chart paper

Suggested Recordings

Stravinsky's Petrouchka, RCA Victor CD 32044 $10.98

Suggested Books

Hollyer, Belinda. Stories from the Classical Ballet. New York: Viking, 1995.

Sophy Williams' charming watercolor paintings illustrate the stories behind eight ballets including Petrouchka and The Nutcracker. The text is too difficult for reading aloud to this age group, but it makes a good resource for the teacher, with some delightful notes on performances of the ballets written by ballerina Irina Baronova.

Untermeyer, Louis, ed. Tales From the Ballet. New York: Golden Press, 1968.

This lovely book, illustrated by the Provensens, is still the best telling of the stories children need to know in order to understand the ballets they might attend or to better appreciate the music written for them. All of the classical ballets that appeal to children are among the twenty chosen, plus some more modern American ballets such as Rodeo and Fancy Free. The retelling of Petrouchka, only a few pages long, is appropriate for reading aloud, but the children will be listening to only the opening tableau of the ballet, so you may not want to read the whole story. The large color illustration for the opening scene gives a wonderful picture of the atmosphere at this nineteenth-century Russian carnival.

Background for Teacher

Igor Stravinsky was born in Russia in 1882. He studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and was greatly influenced by Russian culture and folklore, which can be heard in all of his early music. When he was twenty-seven, he was approached by Diaghilev, the great impresario of the Ballet Russe, to write some music for the ballet. Out of this collaboration came Stravinsky's three great ballet works Fire-Bird, Petrouchka (1911), and Rite of Spring. He left Russia, settling first in Switzerland, then France, and finally the United States, where he remained until his death in 1971. He was part of a great revolution in Western classical music, and his work reflects the many stylistic changes he undertook during his lifetime, always experimenting with rhythm, harmony, and melody.


Second Grade - Music - Lesson 16 - Petrouchka


It might be interesting to try a different approach with the music of Petrouchka. This time, simply tell the students you would like them to listen very carefully to the opening of a piece of classical music written for ballet and called Petrouchka (peh TROOSH kah); that when it is over they will each tell what they think happens on stage as the music is playing. Have them repeat the name with you several times, so they enjoy its unusual sounds. Make sure they are comfortable. They may want to stretch out if the room allows it, since the piece takes almost ten minutes.

Play the selection for the children--the opening tableau, sometimes called the Shrove-tide Fair--without any further introduction. When they have heard it, encourage them to talk about what they think might have been happening on stage as the music was playing. If they need some prompting, ask questions such as:

What kinds of instruments did you hear?

Can you imagine people dancing to the music? What kinds of dances?

Where do you think this place was?

Does the music sound happy or sad?

Do you think there was one main thing going on or many things?

If, by this time, the children have collectively come up with the beginning of a convincing story, no matter what it is, write it on chart paper in simple sentences and read it over with them. Give it the title "Our Petrouchka."

Next, read the beginning of the story of Petrouchka to the children or tell them the following: What you heard is the beginning of a strange tale about three puppets who are brought to life. The three puppets are a North African Arab from long ago, with a big turban wrapped around his head, a beautiful ballerina, and a clown named Petrouchka. They are brought to life by a showman--a kind of magician--at a carnival in Russia. (Show them Russia on the map.)

Say: The piece was written by a composer named Stravinsky who was born and grew up in Russia, so he knew exactly what it looked like and especially what a Russian carnival of long ago sounded like. This Russian carnival takes place in the year 1830 (have them subtract with you to figure out how long ago that was) in a huge open square in a city named St. Petersburg.

Show the children the Provensen illustration if you have it; otherwise, show them some pictures of a nineteenth-century Russian city, with its onion towers and busy streets with people bundled up against extreme cold.

Tell them that this carnival took place every year in Russia, just a few days before the time of Lent, which in the Christian church begins in the dead of winter and is a long forty-day period when people used to eat a meatless diet and not have much fun or merriment until Easter. The carnival was the last chance for people to eat a lot, dance, and play before Lent began.

Say: We will listen to the piece again. Remember, this is just the very beginning of the ballet, with many, many people gathering at a big carnival. This time when you listen, I want you to listen for the sounds of a barrel organ, which is just what its name says--a small organ in the shape of a barrel that can be played by someone walking along and turning the barrel with a crank so that air is blown into the pipes. You will also hear another funny-sounding instrument, which is a calliope. (Have the children pronounce calliope ka LIE uh pee.) That's the instrument that you hear if you've ever had a ride on an old-fashioned merry-go-round or carousel, and it is played with a small keyboard, but it sounds like whistles.



Second Grade - Music - Lesson 16 - Petrouchka

You will hear that many different things are going on all at the same time, just the way they do at a real carnival. So listen again, and this time imagine that you are back in old Russia and attending Stravinsky's carnival and hearing all the different noises and calls of people selling things and running booths and dancing.

As the students listen this time, indicate with your hand when various instruments enter and play. When the music finishes, you may want to brainstorm with the children to come up with a few sentences about what they heard and imagined this time. Write the sentences on another piece of chart paper and title it "Stravinsky's Petrouchka."