Our #candomusic Ideas For Harvest

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PLEASE NOTE: Guidance may have changed since this page was written and it's important to make sure you follow your school's and the Government's most recent updates. We believe that there are lots of useful ideas here that can be applied to different types of learning situations, so please do read on!
Harvest Festival is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon, which this year is Sunday 4th October 2020. But harvest isn’t just one day, it’s a season, and the message of thankfulness that harvest brings is relevant year-round. Whether you're working with a small group or bubbles, singing or not singing, we believe that a harvest celebration is not only possible, but is a wonderful opportunity to explore themes of thankfulness, food and the seasons. 

Here are a few of our bubble-friendly ideas for harvest celebrations this year: 

Singing Options

The great news is that the most recent Government Guidelines published on 28th August 2020 state that singing in schools is able to take place, but suggest that focusing on quality of sound rather than volume can help minimise risk. 

There are over 40 Harvest songs included in Universal Access, but here are some of our most popular to get you started! 
  1. Harvest Song from Songs for EVERY Season (ages 5-11). This laid-back but positive song gives thanks for the harvest. The farmer’s year is recounted, through the process of preparation, sowing, growing and finally harvesting.  

  1. Harvest Samba from Songs for EVERY Occasion (ages 5-11) has a Latin style! It’s a musical feast with great descriptions and really fun rhymes, guaranteed to be very popular with the whole school. It has some two-part singing towards the end of the song. 

  1. Big Red Combine Harvester from The Niki Davies Book of Autumn and Winter Songs (ages 3-7). Simple lyrics and repetitive melodies ensure this is the perfect song that younger voices will love to sing. 

  1. Harvest Handclap from Songs For EVERY Autumn Assembly (ages 5-11). This song is a celebratory call-and-response style song for the whole school. Complete with optional harmony and, of course, handclaps!

  1. Harvest Festival from S!ng Harvest (ages 5-11) is a great song to show all the wonderful gifts that will have been given at the harvest table. 

Not Singing Yet?

We understand not all schools will be singing at this time, but there are plenty of non-singing options to help you keep music at the centre of school life! 

Listen to the backing track of Harvest Time Is Here Again from S!ng™ Harvest with the children and see if they can pick out the different clapping rhythms that can be heard in the second and final choruses. Can they copy these rhythms? Or can your group create their own body-percussion patterns to perform alongside the chorus? Choose the body-percussion sounds and patterns you like most and practise them until everyone can do them really well together. 

Why not have a go at some choreography in your next PE lesson? Bean Harvest and The Singing Vegetables from S!ng™ Harvest and Harvest Hoedown and The Potato Song from My World: Harvest all come with suggested choreography videos and are included in Universal Access. 

TIP: to find choreography and signing videos, check out the resources in the relevant eSongbooks in the left-hand menu of our Words on Screen™ player. 

Take It Further

Ask the children to research how many miles the food in their packed lunch has travelled before it reached them. There are many online food-mile calculators that can help with this task, but most produce will tell you exactly where it has travelled from on the label. Or, why not discover facts about the harvest moon, how harvest is celebrated in other countries, and how food nourishes our bodies and helps us to grow? The list is endless...


Here are some of our favourite autumnal pieces (these would make great lesson starters to inspire writing or art activities, or create an opportunity to think and talk about the different aspects of the season):
  1. Vivaldi – Autumn from The Four Seasons: based on Vivaldi’s own sonnet, the music depicts a village dance, a peaceful sleep and a hunt in the forest. 

  1. Vaughan-Williams  Autumn from Folk Songs of the Four Seasons: this tells the well-known folk tale of Sir John Barleycorn. 

  1. Gustav Holst – St Paul’s Suite: not specifically about Autumn, but Holst wrote this piece for his pupils when he was a teacher at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London. Not a bad welcome-back-to-school surprise! 

  1. The Kinks – Autumn Almanac: this song by one of the most successful British 1960s' pop-groups uses some lovely descriptive language to describe the sights, sounds and smells of Autumn. 

  1. Various Artists – Autumn Leaves: this jazz song was originally written by a Hungarian composer with French lyrics in 1945. Since then it’s been translated into English and recorded by more than 1000 commercial artists! Listen to a few different versions and think about how they differ from each other. Can you use musical vocabulary (there’s a glossary of these terms in all of our Songs for EVERY Series eSongbooks) to describe the differences?

Written by: The Out of the Ark Education Team: Ant Copus, Pete Taylor and Nikki Hewson.

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Out of the Ark Music has been providing schools across the country – and world – with wonderful primary-school songs and musicals for nearly 30 years. Our Christmas musicals and nativity plays make children sparkle and shine, year after year, as they proudly perform their school Christmas play. Our extensive collection of fun and joyous school assembly songs, harvest songs, Easter songs, leavers' songs and even space songs, fills schools with laughter and gives students and teachers alike a reason to sing every day of the week. We’re glad you’re supporting us in our dreams of creating the best music for schools around the globe. Read more about us here.

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