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Today’s feature song comes from my grandmother’s music textbook, which you may remember from past blog posts.
The song, as it originally appears in the textbook, is as follows:



However, several variations of this song exist. For today’s purposes, I would suggest you use the version performed by Jill Trinka.


Have students listen to Jill Trinka’s performance of Father Grumble. Then, ask them the following questions: “What part of the music stayed the same?” and “What part of the music changed?”
During this discussion, you can introduce the concept of songs that tell stories. You can discuss how the melody stayed the same, but the lyrics were different in each verse. Depending on the grade level of your students, you might also introduce new vocabulary, such as strophic form, verse, chorus, lyrics, etc.


One of the top complaints I hear from music teachers, is that they don’t have access to subs with music experience. This is a definite setback, but music can still be the focus of your class, even with a non-music substitute.
Click on the image below to download a free story panel for Father Grumble.
Break students up into groups of three. Then, have each group gather around a set of supplies, with each student working on one page. I find organizing supplies is much easier when a group of students is responsible for them, as opposed to each individual student. If you’re short on paper, you can cut each paper in half, and have students work in groups of six.
To complete their own story panel, students can:
  • Use pencils to sketch images that help tell the story
  • Use crayons to color in pictures of characters in the song/story
  • Clip out magazine pictures that fit the verse, then tape/glue them into their story panel
After you’ve returned to school, you can hand the completed panels over to your music tech class to create a video like the one below. Your younger students would be thrilled to see their creations come to life! Plus, it would be a fantastic video to show during open house night.

If you’re on the lookout for more substitute plans, download my Free No Prep Sampler.