Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

What songs were you taught in Kindergarten/grade school?

Saw a few posts on this subject and I thought it'd be a good discussion thread.

What songs were you taught when you were very little- in nursery school, kindergarten, or your first few years in school...?

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I thought I sent a long response but don't know what happened to it.  I'll try to remember what I said.....

I think this would be an interesting thread and think it would be more interesting in the context of the school years we're talking about.  I think mostly what I remember in grade school (1957-63) were folk songs but I'm trying to remember specific songs.  In K, I think we sand "This Old Man"/"Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack".  I recall singing "Drill Ye Terriers, Drill".  In 4th grade, we sand "Piping Tim of Galway" to the tune of "Rakes of Mallow", which I didn't know at the time.  That one stands out in my mind because I loved that tune/tempo, etc.,   Perhaps my DNA (though not much is Irish/Scotch) took over.  In the 6th grade (1962-63), our teacher brought us "Puff the Magic Dragon" and we thought that was cool because it was on the pop charts at the time.

I should say that I was ALWAYS self-conscious about singing and rarely sang in class, hoping it would go unnoticed by the teacher and classmates.  Seems like I should be able to remember more specific songs than I am.  Maybe they'll come to me later.

Kindergarden & Elem. School in Baltimore (1958-63): 'Polly Wolly Doodle', 'Hickory Dickory Dock', 'Hey Diddle Diddle', 'The Dreidel Song' ('I Made You out of Clay')
Elem. School in Ft. Lauderdale(1964-1967) : 'Old Folks at Home' (FL State Song), 'Ring-Ring the Banjo!' (Seriously- Mrs. Fereby was bigly into SC Foster, '18 Miles on the Erie Canal', 'Whoopie-Tie-Yie-Yo', 'John Henry', 'So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu" (adieu-adieu to you and you and you , dum-ditty-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum, dum-ditty-dum-dum-dum.) OMG

Yes, Scott reminded me of a few.  "Polly Wolly Doodle", "15 Miles on the Erie Canal", "Er-i-e", John Henry, and I also remembered "Grandfather's Clock", "Froggy Went A Courtin'", "Old Dan Tucker", "I've Been Workin' On the Railroad", "Sidewalks Of New York", "Hole in the Bucket", probably "Pat Works on the Railway".  Really, when it comes down to it, I don't know how I would be familiar with most of those songs unless via grade school music class, which was really grade school singing class.  I don't think there would've been a way that I would've been familiar with them through my family.

I was lucky. We had music lessons several times a week and sang every day in class in a small public elementary school in South Georgia. Every week we would learn a Stephen Foster song. We also learned to sing in 3 part harmony from 3rd grade on. Of course we sang Dixie every morning. But we also learned tons of other songs... Chisholm Trail, Sweet Betsy from Pike, Good Bye Ole Paint. Weavily Wheat (Over the River to Charlie), Uncle Joe, Supper on the Ground, You Are My Sunshine, Cindy, Froggy Went a Courtin, Jimmie Crack Corn, The Fox Went Out, (as you can see, I don't remember the exact titles but I remember the songs.) We also learned a lot of Black and White Spirituals -- Wade in the Water, Go Down Moses, Farther Along, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. At nap time if we started to talk or raise our heads, our teacher would sing, "His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me."  I feel really fortunate to have been given such an early exposure to music and the American folk tradition. Thanks for starting this discussion.

I forgot about Drill ye tarriers drill. I was fascinated by that song.

Al Smitley said:

I thought I sent a long response but don't know what happened to it.  I'll try to remember what I said.....

I think this would be an interesting thread and think it would be more interesting in the context of the school years we're talking about.  I think mostly what I remember in grade school (1957-63) were folk songs but I'm trying to remember specific songs.  In K, I think we sand "This Old Man"/"Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack".  I recall singing "Drill Ye Terriers, Drill".  In 4th grade, we sand "Piping Tim of Galway" to the tune of "Rakes of Mallow", which I didn't know at the time.  That one stands out in my mind because I loved that tune/tempo, etc.,   Perhaps my DNA (though not much is Irish/Scotch) took over.  In the 6th grade (1962-63), our teacher brought us "Puff the Magic Dragon" and we thought that was cool because it was on the pop charts at the time.

I should say that I was ALWAYS self-conscious about singing and rarely sang in class, hoping it would go unnoticed by the teacher and classmates.  Seems like I should be able to remember more specific songs than I am.  Maybe they'll come to me later.


As I said in my post... we learned a SC Foster song every week. We were right on the Florida line (I lived in FL but went to school in GA) so of course Old Folks at Home was required.... Except for the longest time I thought the words were "Tis summer, the darkeys are gray"  Of course I also thought the words in What Child is This were "Haste, Haste, to bring him LARD." I wasn't quite sure if they were going to rub it on baby Jesus or make biscuits.
Scott Danneker said:

Kindergarden & Elem. School in Baltimore (1958-63): 'Polly Wolly Doodle', 'Hickory Dickory Dock', 'Hey Diddle Diddle', 'The Dreidel Song' ('I Made You out of Clay')
Elem. School in Ft. Lauderdale(1964-1967) : 'Old Folks at Home' (FL State Song), 'Ring-Ring the Banjo!' (Seriously- Mrs. Fereby was bigly into SC Foster, '18 Miles on the Erie Canal', 'Whoopie-Tie-Yie-Yo', 'John Henry', 'So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu" (adieu-adieu to you and you and you , dum-ditty-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum, dum-ditty-dum-dum-dum.) OMG

Captain Jenks of the Horse Marines

Erie Canal

Here we Go Loobie Loo

Polly Wally Doodle

Did you Ever See a Lassie

Drill Ye Tarriers Drill

Grade school western okla 1950 - 1953

A slight change of direction....My mothers parents lived in the city (Hoboken). Back in the day when milk cartons where made of cardboard and coated in wax, my grandfather would take us out on the stoop and light a carton for our camp fire and had us singing around it. Mostly songs from the early part of the century. Yankee Doodle Dandy, Margie (my nana's name), Take Me Out to the ballgame, and a lot of barbershop songs. It was great!

I am stunned!  None of you listed Oh! Susanna!  We sang it all the time.  I only remember singing the first verse and the chorus.  I never knew the other verses until I began playing early banjo and then I learned the other verses (and re-wrote the second verse: http://minstrelbanjo.ning.com/video/oh-susanna-7)  "I've been working on the railroad " was another hit with us.  "I am a happy wanderer"  was sung a lot.  We also knew all of U.S. Military-Force songs for each branch: Army, Air Force, Navy, & Marines.  The 1950s were very different times from now, and better in many ways . . . worse in other ways of course.  But we all learned American Folk Songs!

I have no doubt that we sung "Oh! Susanna!"  I also remember "Mule Skinner Blues" being in our music book but I don't recall singing it.  I was a little disappointed because the Fendermen had recently had it on the pop charts.

Oh yeah Al! I ran to the radio every time Mule Skinner Blues by The Fendermen came on. I loved that song - still do!!!

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