Friday, September 18, 2015

A Review of Brian Hiller and Don Dupont's "Sing a Song of Aesop," Grades 2-4 (by Patricia Sieckman)

This has been our second year of performing Sing a Song of Aesop with the second grade. Performances both years were very successful, and I’m excited to share some of my experiences with you!

The program CD contains graphics/templates that assist in bringing the story to life. A parent who had a large printer at home made all the various masks on poster board (in color) and a few other moms did the cutting and assembling of the elastic. If you have any parents who do scrap booking, I would suggest getting them involved. One mom used “brads” and thin elastic which worked out much better than those that were stapled (they tend to rip). I must say that the kids looked very cute portraying the various animals!

I used the felt “bibs” described in the directions for the children to wear over their solid color t-shirts (they were very simple and inexpensive). Volunteers also painted large fridge boxes for the sets of the stories. In addition, I added in other props for the stories: table cloths, plastic food, a net to put over the lion, baskets, packages of seeds, etc. A grandmother of one student created a costume for the wolf and the four little sheep that surrounded the boy who cried wolf. Parents of the ant and grasshopper bought hats online and donated them to the music program. I was very thankful to have the help and support that I did!

Each class was assigned one of the stories. I was able to spread out the narrator parts over the five second grade classes. There were also the “main” characters of the story. I communicate with the parents of these children early on to discuss their child’s role and costume. I try not to tax the parents too much, and they always rise to the occasion with flying colors!

During music class I would read various versions of the stories with the children to compare and contrast using thinking maps. YouTube is also a great resource, but I would suggest watching the story yourself first to ensure good quality. We engaged in thought-provoking discussions about the moral of the story in class. Second grade does a unit study on fables and the second grade teachers remarked on many occasions that they felt as though the process in music class (songs, discussion and acting out the stories themselves) facilitated deeper comprehension and understanding of difficult concepts.

The songs were fantastic! There are a wide variety of styles, the arrangements are well done, and they were kid friendly in terms of melody. I also appreciated all of the letter templates for parents that can be personalized, the checklist with a timeline, and the ability to put the recordings and the lyrics on my teacher page for students to practice with at home. These types of resources can’t be taken for granted!

This was my first stab at doing one of Dupont and Hiller's musicals. I would highly recommend this program. Teachers can make it as simple or complex as they want, and it's a wonderful way to engage family members in your program. I'm adding each year to our sets, props, and costumes to help ensure that the fun is increased each year! 


Trish graduated from Arizona State University in the early 1980s with a bachelor of music. She practiced as a board certified music therapist for 12 years in Arizona, California, and Texas. After starting her family,  she stayed home with her two children for 15 years. During that time she performed with various groups, volunteered at church and schools, taught private lessons, and taught Kindermusik part time at UALR in Arkansas. She has been teaching general music in Arizona for the last nine years, and is a member of the Arizona Orff Association. Trish lives with her husband of 30 years. She enjoys spending time with her two grown children, preparing healthy foods, and biking with her husband in the great state of Arizona.