Instruments, Orff, Rhythm, Uncategorized

Davy Dumpling

I love doing this song this time of year because winter is always a great time for baking and talking about baking.  This is another one of those songs that you can take in a million different directions.  I have some favorites that I’m going to share with you.

Ingredient Sounds

With my littles we learn the poem and then discuss different ingredients you might use to bake.  We make a list on the board of different things they might need when making dumplings.  These could be ingredients or even tools that you might use in the kitchen.  I have them help me organize the ingredients by syllables.  I do 3 different categories: 1 sound, 2 sounds, 3 or more.  I do it this way so that when it comes time for composition or improvising I can tell them to only pick things from the 1 or 2 sound box.  But, I don’t want to dismiss any of their ideas so thats why there is still a 3+ box for all those extras to go into.

Once we have a good list of things to use for baking dumplings we then pick a couple to make a word chain with.  I start with having them tell me two different ones from each box (2- 1 sound words and 2-2 sound words).  I quickly write them down on some strips of paper and stick them on the white board.  Then the students help me to decide what order they should go in.  We play around with the order trying it out different ways.  Once we settle on a word chain we like, we clap it out and then even try it on some un-pitched percussion.

Then we repeat the process all over again.  This is setting them up to do it on their own.  I try and make sure we do at least 2, maybe even 3 if needed, of these as a whole group.  For my older kids, they now get to do it on their own.  They get a sentence strip folded into 4 sections so that they can write their words in each section.  They won’t be able to change it around like we did on the board, so I remind them to try out some different combinations and orders first before writing it down.


The 2nd time we do it, or even the next year, then we start to look at specific ingredients and find their rhythmic equivalents.  Again, we could make a list or use some of the ingredients I would pick and the students would determine if they are a Ta or Ti-ti rhythm.  From there we would do the same basic process as before with composing but this time I would challenge them to go back and forth saying the ingredient name or the rhythm notation.  When they would do it on their own they would need to write the word and the rhythm on the sentence strip.  Then they could choose to perform it with the words or saying the rhythm notation.  And normally we would even play these on un-pitched percussion instruments.

Pitched Instrument Warm Up

For my older students I bring the poem back as a warm up for their barred instrument playing.  I learned this during my Orff Level 2, from my instructor Deanna Stark.  Basically, you take each phrase of the poem and play it all on 1 note.

 For example:  

  • starting on Low C – “Davy Davy Dumpling”  
  • Low D – “Boil him in a pot”  
  • Low E – “Butter him and sugar him”
  • Low F – “Eat him while he’s hot”
  • Repeat the poem and keep going 

Then we added a Tag at the end:

  • “Davy Davy Dumpling” x3 = C’BAGFG
  • “That’s his name!” = EDC

My students love this warm up and it’s great for mallet technique and staying together.  You could even try it as a canon!

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