Bow Belinda | Free Music Lesson Plan (Contradance)

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This lesson will leave them smiling! It's perfect for elementary age kids in grades 2-6.


Students will learn to sing "Bow Belinda" and participate in a traditional folk dance. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #1 of the National Standards for Music Education: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.


Bow Belinda | Piano, Voice & Guitar Lead Sheet or Recording

'Bow Belinda' Free Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Tell students, "Singing and dancing has been a part of American culture since the beginning of our country. Many of our favorite folk songs were created by people like you and me. These folk songs have been enjoyed at barn dances and play parties, which began in the 1830s. Today I'm going to teach you a song called 'Bow Belinda' and a contradance. You don't need a partner for this one. It's just two lines of dancers facing each other."

Step 2
Teach the lyrics to "Bow Belinda." Begin by chanting the lyrics phrase by phrase. When the students have successfully repeated the first verse, move on to the next.

1) Bow, bow, bow Belinda,
Bow, bow, bow Belinda,
Bow, bow, bow Belinda,
Won't you be my partner?

2) Right hand round, oh Belinda,
Right hand round, oh Belinda,
Right hand round, oh Belinda,
Won't you be my partner?

3) Left hand round...
4) Both hands round...
5) Back to back...
6) Promenade round...
7) Through the tunnel...

Step 3
Learn the melody to "Bow Belinda." Ask the students to perform the song verse by verse as you play the melody on the piano. When the students seem confident, ask them to sing the song all the way through as you play the piano.

Step 4
Tell students, "Let's learn the contradance. I'm walking on an imaginary line to show you where I'd like 12 students to stand." Choose students. "Now I'm walking on the opposite line for the 12 students that will face them." Choose students.

Dance Formation

The head and foot partners are the black dots.


Step 5
Tell students, "At the opposite corners of this formation are the head and foot partners. The head partners meet the foot partners in the middle to perform the actions. Pair A will go first. Pair B will follow. They'll complete each action and pass through the tunnel to end their turn. The song will start again with new head and foot partners."

Step 6
Tell students, "Let's start with Pair A. I'd like you to meet in the middle, bow to each other, and return to your places as we sing." Follow with Pair B.

Step 7
Tell students, "Let's sing the next four verses as the head and foot partners perform them too."

Right hand round - Grab right hand of your partner, spin around and head back to your spot.
Left hand round - Grab left hand of your partner, spin around and head back to your spot.
Both Hands round - Grab both hands of your partner, spin around and head back to your spot.
Back to back - Face your back to your partner's back, spin around and head back to your spot.

Step 8
Tell students, "Promenade means to walk, ride, or drive for the purpose of meeting or being seen by others. For 'Promenade round' you'll link arms with the person across from you and follow the leader as the students in the front of the line lead us in a big circle. Let's try it as we sing."

Step 9
Tell students, "For 'Through the tunnel' all of us will make an arch with our arms so the foot partners can pass through as we sing. Let's try it."

Step 10
Tell students, "That's everything. With our new head and foot partners in place, let's do it again."

Step 11
When the homeroom teacher arrives ask him/her to join in as a head or foot partner.

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