General Music Today

Born to Hand Jive: Connecting Music, Dance, Culture, and Algebra
Brenda M. Wheat and Tracy Y. Hargrove
General Music Today 2009; 22; 4 originally published online Oct 17, 2008;
DOI: 10.1177/1048371308326029

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and this sense. and integrated curriculum. 2010 . 1.. and Change. In addition to their use for teach- ing music skills and concepts. Hargrove This article discusses the use of hand-clapping games and dances in the music classroom. these games can be quite useful for making cross-disciplinary connections to reinforce the eighth and ninth National Standards for Music Education (Standard 8: understanding relationships between music. Wheat Tracy Y. stream or widely known. Her research interests include arts education. Keywords: clapping games.sagepub. and disciplines outside the arts. 336 for the Electric Slide. Her research interests include integrating mathematics and technology across the curriculum. mathematics. Hand Jive. Continuity. 1997).com by Dorina Iusca on March 31.g. and Algebra Brenda M. An Hop? Do you remember children’s hand-clapping games astounding number of people have videotaped them- like Long-Legged Sailor? Down by the Roller Coaster? selves performing these clapping games and dances in Miss Mary Mack? both formal and informal settings and shared them with Folk dances and singing games have long been used in the world via the popular Web site YouTube (e. Brenda M. Culture. (National Standards for the Social Studies 2: Time. taught. General Music Today Volume 22 Number 3 April 2009 4-7 © 2009 MENC: The National Born to Hand Jive Association for Music Education 10. the other arts. Tracy Y. dances. weddings. including tional dances are not just for elementary music students— understanding connections to history and culture they are very much a part of contemporary culture. this was done on the playground and at dances. and 2. Specifically. nary search revealed 92 hits for the Hand Jive. She is a former elementary mathematics teacher and school system technology coordinator. 1.” These tradi- National Arts Education Associations. 4 Downloaded from http://gmt. Haas & McLaughin. This tradition still flourishes in the age of technology. Hargrove is an associate professor in the Watson School of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. popular culture refers to that which is main- games. see the general music curriculum to develop motor skills as www. She has 11 years of K–8 teaching experience. 1994). In describing music (Standard 6) through songs. A prelimi- well as teach rhythm and a variety of other represent history equally with popular culture.354 for the generic “hand game. Wheat is an assistant professor in the Watson School of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. This article focuses on addressing the Hustle. and listening to and place. or other social gatherings.537 for the Macarena. authentic assessment. serving both as a music specialist and a gifted specialist. Standard 9: understanding music in relation to history and culture). (Standard 9). Understanding this change over time is important for historical thinking Folk and popular dances have always been created. and passed on by people in informal settings.1177/1048371308326029 Connecting Music. culture D o you know the Hand Jive? The Chicken Dance? The Macarena? The Hustle? The Electric Slide? Cotton-Eyed Joe? The Mexican Hat Dance? The Bunny Traditionally. E-mail: wheatb@uncw. Dance. the article focuses on the Hand Jive and the ways that it may be used to help students see connections to music in history and culture as well as the underlying mathematical concept of repeated patterns on which the movements are based. Popular culture often develops from history as songs and dances are passed on infor- Connections to History and Culture mally through the oral tradition. arts integration. and high-stakes 643 for Cotton-Eyed National Standards for Music Education (Consortium of Joe. understanding relationships between music All of these dances.561 for They add fun and enjoyment to the repetition required for the Chicken Dance. created in a particular time and and other disciplines (Standard 8). 397 for the skill development. nightclubs.

With some thought. are common in many folk dances and children’s clapping For instance. have been passed on for several generations. moved and traveled. by the Laughlin.” which was written especially for the movie. We are increasingly able to find music from all around You may remember the children’s game called Gossip. Further The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics extensions can be made by trying to locate the origin of (NCTM) 3–5 Algebra Standard states that students are particular dances. as many of them are from other expected to “describe. “The Hand Jive” was used in the popular among academic circles. CDs. mation in terms of knowledge students already possess” Teachers should encourage students to listen carefully to (2004.” and “teachers should explain new infor- that the steady beat is much faster in the second version. Often. The connection between the study of music and was later recorded by Eric Clapton (Rock and Roll Hall math achievement has generated increasing interest of Fame. building Jive. p. they can easily tell mathematics. and others are quite histories from people of all ages and backgrounds. 21). 1997. reasoning and proof. and make generalizations countries and have spread to the United States as people about geometric and numeric patterns” (Reys. DVDs. p. 2000). music and dance and representation (NCTM. 2010 . the Hokey Pokey. Although the primary find out if they know particular songs and dances. MP3s. Lindquist. 2008). You may find that some of these elements. it is helpful to keep in mind that recognizing activities that have become elementary school traditions repeated patterns remains fundamental to math and music.” recorded by Johnny Otis in 1958. for the Social Studies 8: Science. Songs and dances are spread through popular Repeated patterns appear naturally within the context culture in a similar fashion. It make connections is important for student understand- was passed on in popular culture by teenagers. Haas & privately to all other members in the class. It is on patterns and relationships. Hargrove / Born to Hand Jive 5 “Studying about what things were like in the past. The version featured in Grease is much faster because the Although we do not fully understand the connection. Wheat. Connections to Mathematics nection between the original version and the latest ver- sion. siblings. With offer opportunities to enrich the curriculum through the advances in science and technology (National Standards application of mathematical processes. cepts and deepen understanding of relationships between music and mathematics (National Standards for Music Extensions to History and Culture Education 8. 1994). and problem solving. 465). in the world in our own home towns (National Standards which a “secret” is told to one person and whispered for the Social Studies 9: Global Connections. and what remains the same are the basis of through television. historical knowledge” (Haas & Laughlin. However. and an assortment of ments. Haas & Laughlin. Lambdin. and so forth to of movements—a repeated pattern. such as the Chicken Dance. 2002). Virginia Reel. and in pop- the same manner as historians—by collecting oral ular culture. Smith. the Hand Jive. By trying to the children’s experiences helps them make sense of “do” the Hand Jive to both versions. The song ing. in the media. important to help students make this connection by lis. Technology. 37).sagepub. Sometimes we end up using of the traditional general music curriculum because they original ideas in a completely different way or context. ask students to interview parents. friends. a popular dance from the games and songs. & Smith. and the Internet. Children who study music are musical Grease in the 1970s and has become a classic. Reys. teachers. Lindquist. including connections. the 1950s that incorporated an elaborate series of hand move. 1997). Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. Downloaded from http://gmt. what spread through popular culture more rapidly than ever has changed. You can further extend connections to history and cul. was originally associated with the song “Willie square dances. There are many dances and variations like the Hand ture by asking students to investigate music in culture in Jive circulating on the by Dorina Iusca on March 31. Society. music teachers can use the recordings and describe the differences in the sound popular songs and dance to build on mathematics con- of the music (National Standard 6). Some have been published in books Lambdin. and goal of music education is to instruct students in music how they learned them. one thing they all typically have in classroom activity. communication. As a simple. Popular dances also and recordings and distributed to a wider audience. 1997). extend. common is that they are structured around a repeated set grandparents. and Suydam state that “making connections with tening to both versions of the Hand Jive. p. the original song was replaced with one titled “Born to Hand structure of music is inherently mathematical. Learning to recognize these patterns and and the Hand Jive. end of the class it is very different from the original form—and sometimes it is difficult even to see the con. Some are complex. also believed to perform better in math (Deasy. 2007.

movements are “exactly the same” and others are “almost 9. The process of dis. bolic way. Touch right fist over left fist in front of body. Note that the entire Recorded music is filled with repeated patterns as well. Cross left hand over right in front of body. p. Extend this further by creating two or learning to other areas of the curriculum. Pat both hands on lap. “Children need many experiences with concrete mod- els before they can work meaningfully with abstract symbols” (Rey et al. math. Notate the Pattern dently. 6. nation of letters and numbers (see Figure 1). physical movements in symbolic notation. or creating Without this support. This process is parallel to the one used for music nota- 4. This can be notated with shapes by changing the direc- 11. or play opportunities to meaningfully connect what they are on an instrument. tional step helps students move through a continuum The phrases of the music as well as the dance are from concrete thinking to the symbolic representation arranged in a predictable mathematical structure. that each Listen not only for repeated rhythmic patterns but also movement is repeated two times in a row. Point right thumb over right shoulder. or the length of a musical phrase. Touch left fist over right fist in front of body. ing ostinati based on repeating word patterns. and read- Students should be taught to listen carefully and identify ing. Point right thumb over right shoulder. this experience can then be extended to mathe- matical thinking through activities and discussion. tion of the shape. Jive. prob- 2. right. This or in writing—the reasons for their choices and the con- 16-beat pattern is repeated throughout the length of the nections between the symbols and the physical pattern. students may miss authentic short rhythmic ostinati to stamp. the same” because they start with the left rather than with the 10. Pat both hands on lap. Teachers can extend understanding by remembering to discuss and notate these patterns as they are learned. They should be able to articulate—orally important concepts of early number development. cussing the pattern helps children construct knowledge Helping students see connections between the activities Downloaded from http://gmt. Touch left fist over right fist in front of body. tions before moving to more symbolic notation. Notating the pattern Learn the Pattern can be problematic because it is difficult to represent The Hand Jive is a 16-count repeated pattern extend. Touch right fist over left fist in front of body. Students should describe the pattern and Music is an authentic part of culture and is represented name the parts in their own words. Here is one version of the Hand Jive: is important for students to explain how each shape or symbol represents a specific movement or idea (NCTM 1. 13. communication). Discuss the Pattern You can further extend this concept by creating original The teacher plays a critical role in using language and dances or hand games based on repeating patterns. one of the their notation. and representation). then on the left. yet this addi- ing over four measures.. In mathemati. Extensions to Mathematics 16. Clap hands by Dorina Iusca on March 31. Cross left hand over right in front of body. pat. creat- asking questions to help students make connections. students should learn the dance by rote. snap. clap. or using a combi- 12. dance repeats itself throughout the song.sagepub. Cross right hand over left in front of body. In our example of the Hand nections. It is important to note that the most problematic part about 7. 14. and that sev. Identify and more overlapping ostinati that occur at the same time. using contrasting colors. tion. reasoning and proof. Point left thumb over left shoulder. Process Standards: connections. notating a pattern such as the Hand Jive is that some of the 8. 32). It song. Clap hands together. which includes starting from realistic representa- 5. lem solving. necessary for notation of ideas in music. 3. Cross right hand over left in front of body. discuss repetition in the dance.6 General Music Today The Hand Jive—relatively complex—is best suited from their experiences (NCTM Process Standards: con- for students in grades 3 to 5. 2007. it is important for them to discuss the situation ment of the dance with each steady beat. 15. 2010 . As students attempt to notate their patterns in a sym- the start of the musical phrase and to match each move. Point left thumb over left shoulder. with their peers and to provide reasoning and proof for cal terms. in the lives of people. both in and outside of school. communication. After students know the dance and can perform it indepen. this is one-to-one correspondence. repeated melodic patterns and repeated sections or eral times we repeat a movement first on the right and phrases in the form.

. & Suydam. M. Principles and system that often includes Education Partnership. 2008. (2004). M. standards for school mathematics. watch?v=9APcspP4BPE Downloaded from by Dorina Iusca on March 31. Helping children learn mathematics (7th ed. (2000).. Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. and in their communities is Social studies readings for K–6 educators. (2008).. Washington. from http://www. M. N. NJ: John Wiley. R. V.. Wheat. Smith. M. 2010 . VA: MENC. D. DC: National Council for the Social Studies. & Laughlin.. D. Critical links: Learning in the arts and student YouTube. and mathematical think. Deasy. DC: Arts Retrieved January 30. from http://www. Retrieved January National standards for arts education. J. Washington. & Smith. looking for these natural connections. It is structured around a mathematical National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. E. L. N. Johnny Otis. References M.). 30. Reys. (2002).rockhall. M. 2007. Retrieved June 12. (1997). (2007). Helping children learn mathematics (8th ed.. Lindquist. NJ: John Wiley.. (2007).org ing each time they teach a dance or a hand game by Lambdin. aRi trying to do the hand jive a long time ago! academic and social development. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. authentic learning. N. Hoboken. cultural. historical. Meeting the standards: general classroom. 2008. from force musical.nctm. R.. Hargrove / Born to Hand Jive 7 Figure 1 Symbolic Notations of the Hand Jive Example A Pat Pat Clap Clap Right Cross Right Cross Left Cross Left Cross Right Fist Right Fist Left Fist Left Fist Right Thumb Right Thumb Left Thumb Left Thumb Example B A A B B C1 C1 C2 C2 D1 D1 D2 D2 E1 E1 E2 E2 they do in the music classroom to the ones they do in the Haas. at home. V. L.). Lindquist. R. Reston. (1994). M. Teachers can rein. Lambdin. http://standards. A.