Go Round the Mountain for the Elementary Music Classroom

Go Round the Mountain is a folk song and game that’s simple, quick to learn, and offers enough variety to keep your students engaged. You can use this song to practice do, re, and mi, play a movement game, or work on articulation with recorders.


For this game, students are in a circle. They start by marching clockwise in the circle for the first run-through. Then, students call out different actions, such as skip, jump, hop, etc. They, they replace the word “Go” with this word and mimic the action as they continue to sing and move.


This song would be a great exercise in articulation due to the rhythms and repeated notes. If your students don’t already know this song and game, begin by teaching it to them before pulling out the recorders. This way, they’ll know how the song sounds, and will be better able to recognize their own mistakes as they play through it for the first time.

It may also help to color-coordinate the notes for easier distinction.

Here are a few tips for teaching this song on a recorder

  • Have students practice the articulation without the recorder first, using too, du, or other preferred syllable. Then, have them practice it with the recorder on their chin. Next, they can practice on their chin while fingering through. And finally, have them practice articulating the rhythm on a single note of their choice. Do this before playing each measure.This type of methodical sequencing will give your students their best chance at success. While it may feel like second-nature to us, playing an instrument is entirely foreign to most of your students.
  • Project the sheet music onto your interactive whiteboard and cover up all measures except the one you’ll be working on. Point to each note as the students play it, using a conducting baton or laser pointer. Then, ask advanced players to take over the “conducting” for you. Not only does this keep them from getting bored, it gives them a leadership opportunity. You might even show them how to conduct with their hands, adding yet another skill to their abilities.
  • As students successfully play each measure, uncover another. When you get to the end of the first line, uncover the entire second line and ask them to compare. They’ll be happy to see that they repeat most of what they’ve already learned. It’s also a good time to point out how understanding musical form can help us in learning to play new music.
  • Lastly, consider intervals of individual practice. Because students already know the song and game, they will be better able to “finger silently” because the song will be in their head. It won’t just be a mysterious jumble of notes on a page and awkward fingerings.