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Take a Little Walk (Tune for Teaching)

By Andy Mullen 

MLT, Practical Applications, Tunes for Teaching

Here's a new tune that has emerged in recent years. It's called "Take a Little Walk." I included it in my book, MLT Any Music Teacher Can Du...De

Screen Shot 2021 12 06 at 7.42.19 PM - Take a Little Walk (Tune for Teaching)

You can hear the song in a recent Ukulele Play-along video for the tune I made here: 

I use this tune to reinforce tonic and dominant functions in minor tonality. You can do this a number of different ways, but here are some ideas. 

1. Learn the tune

Sing or play the song for students a number of times. If you have time, you might consider isolating a verse and a chorus and teach the song using Rote Song Procedure without words. Since there are a lot of words, you may have students sing only the "Zing-a-long-a ding dong day" responses. You might consider asking students if the "Zing-a-long-a ding dong day" responses are all the same or different. 

2. Sing the bass line

After you have performed the song for students a few times (or played the video), show students the "function fingers" for the harmonic progression of the tune. Students can BUM along on the bass line. Remind students the syllables for tonic and dominant functions in minor tonality. I use this slide from my teacher slideshow pack. See? I eat my own dog food! 

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For examples of how I might sing bass lines with students, see my Bass line video for Joshua

3. Informal patterns

In-between repetitions of the song, I will often thrown in some informal patterning. If I had to choose which patterns to have students echo, I would get more bang for my buck and look ahead to patterns I might pull down the road. (For an example of what I mean by "pull a pattern," see my Tune Teaching Tutorial for the tune "Shoo Fly Shoo.") Several tonal patterns that appear in the song frequently that I might pull later are:

  • Minor tonic: LA DO MI, MI DO LA, LA MI LA
  • Minor dominant: SI TI MI, MI RE TI SI

These all happen to be patterns from my familiar pattern set. You'd almost think I did that on purpose!

4. Instrumental Reinforcement

I use this song primarily to teach minor tonality to students on the ukulele. This will be students' first experience with the Dm and A7 chords. (By the way, if your students need access to quick chord tutorials on the ukulele, I made this free video series for my students to use as chord refreshers.

If your students are new-ish to ukulele, you might consider dividing the class in half, with one half playing Dm and the other half playing A7. Use this playalong video to give students a visual representation of the chord changes.  

5. Movement

For younger students, you could use this tune as a movement exploration activity. Some ideas:

  • Take the title literally, and have students walk about the room to various levels of the beat as demonstrated in the Watermelon Tune Teaching Tutorial. Move to the macrobeat, microbeat and super-macrobeat would be appropriate for this song. 
  • Giving students movement imagery can be a helpful way to explore the Laban movement efforts. For example, "What would it be like to walk toward the wind?" "What would it be like to move with the wind blowing at your back?" "How would it feel to walk through the snow?" "How would it feel to tip-toe through rain puddles?"

I hope you enjoy this tune! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these ideas. 

About the author Andy Mullen

Andy Mullen is a teacher, folk musician, multi-instrumentalist, recovering singer-songwriter, and lifelong learner. He has taught all levels of students in a number of subjects, and is currently a middle school general music and choir teacher in Burlington, Massachusetts. Mr Mullen holds Masters degrees in Music Education and School Administration, and serves on the faculty for the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML) in Elementary General Music. He is the author of "MLT Any Music Teacher Can Du...De," "The Literate Musician" and "Fifty Tunes for Teaching," and the composer of the children's album, "Chucka Chucka Wawa."

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