Ah, Poor Bird, a Singing Round
Ah Poor Bird is one of the easiest and loveliest of rounds for singers.
It has a melancholy minor sound that matches the words well, and is fairly easy to learn, with its climbing scale up to the leap in the third line, then back down again.
A good warm-up for the voice & ear
This singing round works well as a "listening" kind of vocal warm-up, in which your beginning voice student sings their part slowly against the contrasting line YOU are singing. This takes great concentration!
Please scroll down the page for the link to the free printable PDF.
Play their part & sing your part
If you are new to singing rounds with your students, I highly recommend playing their part on the piano with them, while you softly sing the part that follows theirs.
This takes great concentration until you are accustomed to it!
Eventually, some of your most capable students will be able to sight-sing the notes without help from the piano, but this takes time and understanding of music theory also, which is where, of all musicians, vocalists tend to be the weakest.
Rounds are much easier with a partner
The fastest way I've found to get kids singing rounds accurately is to have a partner or two sharing their part, while I sing the other part.
After a couple times through the notes, we might clap the rhythm, or better yet, count aloud as we sing the notes. If the tune is "Ah, Poor Bird," we might count it like this:
"1-2, 3-4, 1-(2-3-4), 1-2, 3-4, 1-(2-3-4), 1, 2, 3, 4, 1-2, 3, 4, 1-2, 3-4, 1-(2-3-4)."
I hope that makes sense!
Making counting easier for non-note readers
For a non-note-reader, as singers often are, I would probably count NOTE UNITS rather than measures of 4 beats. Then it would sound like this:
"1-2, 1-2, 1-(2-3-4)," etc. Even if they don't read well, they need to be able to count!
Entering smoothly on vowels
Because every verse starts with a vowel sound ("Ah"), students have an opportunity -- perhaps a glaring opportunity -- to work on smooth entrances in this singing round!
They need to be able to enter without an audible pop or roughness. Just learning to listen to the sound of their own inhalations and exhalations is a big step for beginners!
Vocal rounds can be hard at first, but they are very worthwhile for teaching kids to hear other musical parts while staying on their own.
Below is a simply but nicely sung rendition of Ah Poor Bird that mixes it up with "Hey, Ho, Nobody Home".
Do you need a beautiful but easy solo for a young beginning singer? Check out a simple song used in Cinderella, "Lavender's Blue"!
The link to the round PDF:
Free printable vocal music Ah Poor Bird
Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church? Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!
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Kate Emht is a piano teacher in the United States. See what she composes and arranges for her students!
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All the first-year material I give my beginner students.
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Queen Esther in the Bible
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the time when Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a brave young queen risked her life to save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.