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The weather is just beginning to reflect the upcoming fall season, and the Halloween candy is already lining the shelves at the grocery store. So, whether you’re dreading the fall season with all your might or you’ve already bought up all the pumpkin-scented candles at Bath and Body Works, it’s safe to say that the season is coming with or without your permission. Personally, it’s against my DNA to dislike the season that signals the start of marching band competitions, but I will miss the warmth of summer.

You’ve probably already started thinking about fall-themed lessons, so I thought that Pumpkin, Pumpkin would be a great addition to the blog today.
BEAT/RHYTHM
Since this piece offers a variety of simple rhythms, it would be great to reinforce the difference between beat and rhythm. As students listen to the song for the first time, have them move to the steady beat. They could simply step to the beat upon the first few hearings, then switch to the circle game described below.

Students sit in a circle. They hold out their hands with palms up. They keep their left hands stationary, while they use their right hand to move to the steady beat (see video below). They pass around paper/stuffed pumpkins to the steady beat (one of the pumpkins is a jack-o-lantern). On the final word of the song, the student holding the jack-o-lantern is out (he/she turned into a jack-o-lantern). Continue until all students have turned into jack-o-lanterns. You don’t need a pumpkin for every student, they simply need to keep moving their hands to the beat whether they’re moving an object or not.The video below is set to a different song, but the idea of the game is similar. Also, I plan on bookmarking this video for the winter season too!

Now that students have the beat firmly in their minds and bodies, you can ask them to clap or tap the rhythm of the song. I’ve heard rhythm described in many ways, including: “the long and short sounds”, “the way the words go”, and “the length of musical sounds”. Use whatever definition works for your students. The video below is great for practicing the difference between beat and rhythm.