Songs about clocks are a familiar way to teach beat, division and multiple. Here are three clock songs for various age groups.

The three durations invite all kinds of possibilities. For example, create three groups of children to enact them, each taking a different role; provide a different instrument for each (such as cymbal, triangle, jingle bell) or a different tone bar on an Orff instrument; create a different movement for each, or let the children come up with their own; and/or have students hold up notation cards, or step around posters, representing note values for the three durations.

What about a story? Perhaps a family is trying to sleep, and is awoken in turn by the grandfather clock, the mantle clock, and the watch; they walk slowly to turn off the grandfather clock’s chimes, march to stop the mantle clock, and run or tiptoe quickly to stop the watch’s ticking!

(Click on each song’s image for the full-sized PDF.)

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I get a real kick out of uncovering antique treasures! This one’s from the 1896 book, “Small Songs for Small Singers” by W. H. Neidlinger, with charming illustrations by Bruce Bobbett. The pitch range encourages children’s head voices, and the articulation in the piano accompaniment is just right.

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This is a popular round that you may already know in one form or another. It’s a simple, straightforward tune going from the multiple to the beat to the division. Rounds are always wonderful to sing with choreography, enabling students to visualize the correlation of the sounds.

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J-D The Ancient Clock

More complex than the others here, Jaques-Dalcroze’s “The Ancient Clock” is from a volume of his “Action Songs” (1919). While the translated text is a bit awkward, the music is lovely, with shifts between major and minor and metric changes that are actually quite subtle in effect. The song ends with chimes in 3/4. Jaques-Dalcroze also includes choreographic notes.[/toggle]