Lesson 1: Learning “Waiting for a Train”
Find Chest Voice and Head Voice
- Using the “Hoot Owl” warm-up, help students find their head voice and chest voice.
- We use our head voice when we sing high. It feels light and airy, like an owl hooting.
- Have students place their hands on the middle of their chest (between their sternum and collarbone) and say “huh” in a deep voice.
- When we feel the vibrations in our chest, that is our chest voice.
- Listen to Anders sing “Waiting for a Train,” Track 6. Listen for when Anders uses his chest voice and head voice.
Explore Yodeling in “Waiting for a Train”
- Explain to the students that a yodel is when a singer quickly switches between his or her chest and head voice. Listen to “Waiting for a Train” again and ask students to raise their hands when they hear Anders yodel. Please note that students should not attempt to sing the yodel with Anders as this low range can potentially damage young voices.
- Listen to another yodel, Track 7, and then have students echo the singer. This yodel is in the students’ natural voice range.
- Listen to “Waiting for a Train” again. Ask students to sing with Anders using their natural head voices.
Explore Rhyming Lyrics in “Waiting for a Train”
- Discuss the lyrics of “Waiting for a Train” with your students. Lyrics are the words to a song.
- This song is about a traveling worker who is trying to get back home to the south (Dixie Land) from California (Frisco). He doesn’t have the money to pay for a train ride back, so he gets stuck in Texas and sings this sad song.
- This song contains many rhyming words. Each verse contains three couplets. Read the lyrics to your students and encourage them to listen for the rhyming pairs.
- Ask the students to identify the rhyming pairs.
- Using SG16, have students create their own rhyming pairs.
- Sing the new lyrics with Anders and his band, Track 8. This can be done as a class or individually.
Jimmie Rodgers: The Father of Country Music
“Waiting for a Train” is a song originally written by early country singer Jimmie Rodgers (1897–1933), who is sometimes known as “The Father of Country Music.” Before he started recording and performing his own music, he was a brakeman (a railroad worker who assists with braking the trains) on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. When he contracted tuberculosis and became too sick to work, he started his career as an entertainer, singing songs about traveling and life on the railroad. As a singer, he was known for his lonesome lyrics and his high yodel.
Creative Extension: Mime Rhyme!
Tell your students that you are thinking of a word that rhymes with another word (e.g. “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with ‘at’”). Students will guess the word by silently acting it out.
Musical Word Wall
Add the words chest voice, head voice, lyrics, and yodel to the Musical Word Wall.
SG16 ↓ Download File
Musical Explorers Audio Tracks