Bell Horses for the Elementary Music Classroom

The origin of Bell Horses is uncertain, but there’s plenty of concepts to cover using this song, such as quarter rest, mi-so-la, and improvisation. Be sure to check out Mama Lisa’s page HERE (scroll to the bottom) if you’d like to read personal reminiscences about this song.

Improvisation with Found Sounds

I’m an advocate of found sounds, not just for distance learning, but also for the in-person classroom. I want children (and adults) to know that music can be created anywhere, with anything. We don’t need expensive instruments or tools to make beautiful music.

My ideas for using this song for improvisation are as follows:

Initial Hearing

  • Play/sing through the first eight measures
  • Improvise a rhythm for the next four measures
  • Have students echo that rhythm for the final four measures
  • Continue doing this, cycling through the different rhythms your students are currently practicing

Practice Options

  • Continue in the same format, but have students take turns soloing the echo section
  • Have one student improvise the first four measures and have the rest of the class echo their rhythm
  • Have students take turns improvising the final eight measures
  • Instead of rhythms, improvise simple pitch patterns using the same format