Ah, Poor Bird, a Singing Round

Ah Poor Bird is one of the easiest and loveliest of rounds for singers.  Now with a piano arrangement as well!

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! 

Ah Poor Bird singing round

Please scroll down the page for the link to the free printable PDF.

Piano students may also be captivated

A new and easy piano arrangement has won the hearts of a few students lately:

Singing round for piano

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Easy enough, but your student needs to be familiar with "Spider Scales" (2,1,2,1,2,1,2,1   or 3,1,3,1,3,1,3,1).  You see the crossing over and tucking under bits of the song.

Back to singing...
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!

Rounds are worth the effort

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. And kids enjoy them!

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 piano arrangement:



Download the piano version of Ah Poor Bird



The link to the round PDF:



Free printable vocal music Ah Poor Bird 



More Rounds at Music-for-Music-Teachers.com


Ah, Poor Bird

 A pretty round with a reach of an octave, slow-moving notes, and easy intervals.  The scale-wise movement makes this song easy for a beginner.


Beauty's But an Idle Boast

With lyrics from an older time, this is more difficult than many rounds, but compensatingly more beautiful, with more complex harmonies as well!


Christ is Born

New lyrics for an old round by Haydn - well-suited to a mix of voices, a satisfying round


Christmas is Coming, the Goose is Getting Fat

Lots of big interval jumps, even octaves, make this round fun and tricky.


Coffee Canon

Originally from Germany (Kaffee), this is great fun to sing!  With new English lyrics that mention mochas, lattes, and "coffee black!"


Dona Nobis Pacem

Difficult!  Quite difficult for beginners, this beautiful round works best with a bigger group of singers, or even instrumentalists, unless your singers are experienced with harmony


For Health & Strength & Daily Bread

Pretty, and fairly easy, as it moves primarily in descending steps, this is a wonderful Thanksgiving song!


Haida, a Hebrew round

Haida is vigorous and fun - there are two spots that invite a clap, adding to the rhythmic feeling of this song.  Along with "Coffee," this is a favorite, frequently requested!


The Hart, He Loves the High Hill

This brisk but pretty round from England compares a deer to a rabbit, and a man to a woman!


Have You Seen the Ghost of John

An unbelievably pretty round, with lyrics that DO NOT do it justice!   One of my students' perennial favorites.


Heigh Ho, Nobody Home

The first round I use with beginning singers. Very singable!


Hinneh Mah Tov

Another brisk Hebrew round, lovely and minor.


Kookaburra

A fun 2-part round from Australia, good for classroom singing


Music Alone Shall Live

A very pretty little tune with nice major harmonies. A quick study! 


Oh How Lovely is the Evening

Short, and very easy.  This is a sweet melody with simple harmonies.


Rise Up, O Flame

A pretty song with lovely lyrics


Shalom Chaverim

A song about peace, from Israel. Very lovely.


Viva la musica

A little different - there is a bit of dissonance to learn to sing through.  A joyful melody!


White Coral Bells

A pretty little round with two parts and two verses, about white coral bells flowers along a garden path.


White Sand and Grey Sand

A street-seller's cry from England.  



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All the first-year material I give my beginner students. 

Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

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.