Father Grumble is a fantastic song, which tells the story of a husband who, after bragging to his wife about the amount of work he could do, was forced to admit that she could do more work in a day than he could do in seven. This song is a great addition for a sub tub, and I’ve even included some free printables that you can use! Below are the lyrics and Jill Trinka’s wonderful recording of the song.


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.

Sub Plans

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 PDF of the story panel template.

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

2 Responses

  1. What a cute song! Great idea to have the kids make a storyboard with a sub- sounds like a great way to incorporate music with a non-music sub! Thanks for the idea!