Today I am sharing Kate Kuper's album, AlphaBeat. This is my all-time favorite album for teaching the little ones. I play some of these songs every week in my early childhood classes. Let’s dive in!
The More We Are Together- This familiar tune is perfect as a welcome or warm-up song. For my Discover With Me (Parent/Tot) classes we perform this song seated. For my DiscoverTots (Age 2/3) we perform this song standing.
Imaginary Journey- Although there are many dance concepts explored throughout this song, this is the perfect track to have on hand when you need to change up the class or have extra time at the end. Your dancers will LOVE travelling through this creative journey. The blue jello is my personal favorite!
Body Shape Jam- explore BODY SHAPES or BODY PARTS with this fun song that can be done seated or standing.
Show Your Feelings- explore SPEED to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. This song takes you through many feelings from mad to sad to sleepy to excited. I recommend this song for ages 4-6 as the “scared” feeling music is a bit…well..scary! :)
Action Dance- explore PLACE or ENERGY with this fantastic song. This is my FAVORITE song to do with my classes.
Locomotor Movement- explore PLACE with this catchy tune. Kate guides you through many locomotor movements. There is a time for reflection at the end of the song so the dancers can think about all the moves they just performed.
Near and Far- explore SIZE or RELATIONSHIPS with this fun track. It teaches the dancers how to move in and out of the circle as well as around the circle. Don’t forget your campfire!
Little Seed- explore SIZE or LEVELS with this imaginative song that guides little seeds to grow to big, high trees. Dancers start curled up small on a low level. The teacher “sprinkles” their backs with water so they can grow high.
Drumtalk- This is a great song to work on listening skills. There are some tricky parts so they REALLY have to pay attention. This one always gets them giggling.
Travelers in a Magic Forest, Swirl and Twirl, and Swirl, Twirl, Melt, Pop Up - These songs teach dancers how to take turns in groups. Dancers have to remember what group they are in as they take turns dancing away from their spot then returning back “home”.
Don’t miss these fun songs!
The Snowflake Dance- This poem was written by Walter de la Mare and is set to beautiful music. I use this song in my 1st-4th grade Creative Dance classes in the winter time. We choreograph the dance together.
Swirl and Twirl Instrumental- This song is great for a winter pre-ballet dance.
The album includes four guided warm-up songs. Sometimes I like to do these songs to change class up a bit. They also come in handy if I’m not feeling well and want to save my voice.
You could do an entire class using just this one album. So, if you are subbing or don’t have time to plan anything out, whip this cd out and you are good to go!
Buy AlphaBeat HERE!
Whether you incorporate the BrainDance in your classes already or you’re interested in starting (which I highly recommend), this is the album for you! Brain Bop is a fantastic tool, as Kate offers several BrainDance tracks with guided cues. When I first started using the BrainDance, I had a difficult time remembering the sequence of patterns. These cues help teachers stay on track. Once you are comfortable, you can use one of seven instrumental tracks as background music for your warm-up. I also love using the instrumentals in my 1st-4th grade Creative Dance and Modern classes.
Early Childhood Warm-Up- guided seated BrainDance recommended* for ages 3 and 4.
Children’s Warm-Up- guided standing BrainDance recommended* for ages 4-6. Also comes as an instrumental track.
Guided Warm-up- guided standing BrainDance recommended* for ages 6-10. Also comes as an instrumental track titled “Aquamarina”. This BrainDance uses descriptive instructions along with anatomical terms.
Don’t miss these fun tracks!
Haunted House- guided BrainDance through a haunted house. I use this in my Kinder-2nd grade classes, although my 3rd and 4th graders often ask for it as well! The background music is a little spooky for the 4 and under dancers.
Brain Bop- A quick (under 3:30 minutes), upbeat guided BrainDance recommended* for ages 4-9.
Now that I am comfortable with leading the BrainDance, the instrumental tracks are really what I use on this album. “Rio Loco” is my go-to for a standing brainDance, “Montego” is perfect for obstacle courses or across the floor work, and “Floating Island” is great for the Rest and Redirect portion of my classes. They are long tracks too!
*All age recommendations are based on my personal teaching experience.
Today I’m sharing Kate Kuper’s Songs for Dancing. This CD/DVD set is full of many perfect songs for your early childhood classes!
The Welcome Song-
Resting- If you include resting in your classes, this is a wonderful song to add to your playlist. It’s beautiful piano music with Kate’s voice cueing the dancers through a relaxation and breathing exercise. It is 4 minutes in length, but there are plenty of instrumental sections where you could fade the song out early if needed. BONUS: This song can be used in older classes too!
Walking Song- explore the concept of PLACE with this tune that offers various movement options.
Shape Song- explore BODY SHAPES with Kate’s cues.
Here We Go ‘Round and Round- explore BODY PARTS to this familiar tune. I recommend doing this song in a circle with the campfire in the middle. During “Here We Go ‘Round and Round” side slide around the circle.
Trip to the Zoo- explore SPEED with different animals at the zoo.
Popcorn and Melted Butter- explore ENERGY with this lively song.
The Stick Together Game- explore BODY PARTS in this fun game. This song is also fantastic for introducing partner work and problem solving.
Everybody Do This- This is a fun song to help dancers work on their memory skills.
There are clear music changes for different movements to help the dancers match the action with the music. Includes cues from Kate.
Right and Left Hands- Help little ones learn their right and left sides with Kate’s cues.
Galloping Song- Gallop freely around the room. Walk back to tape mark slowly and lay down. Wake up and gallop once again.
Skipping Song- Kate cues dancers through the mechanics of a skip. I recommend this for dancers ages 4 and 5.
Don’t miss these fun songs!
Do Your Own Dance- A fantastic song that includes structured and free improvisation cues!
Little Birdies- This song is great for encouraging dramatic play. Dancers pretend they are the little birdies and the teacher is the grown-up bird. Don’t forget to use scarves as wings!
You receive a booklet with tips and suggestions from Kate as well as a DVD with videos of these activities!
Many songs also come as instrumentals.
Buy it here!
This week I will be honoring the life and legacy of dance educator, Kate Kuper. I met Kate 13 years ago as a dance major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Knowing that teaching was a passion of mine, a professor highly recommended that I take Kate’s new course “Creative Dance for Children”. Soon after the course started, Kate asked if I would be her assistant for the remainder of my time at UIUC.
Not only did Kate teach me the most effective and developmentally appropriate way to teach children, we also did many things together outside of the classroom. We took trips to the fabric store to find the perfect material for scarves and stretchy bands. We travelled to the area public schools where I watched Kate’s classroom management skills work like magic in a gym filled with energetic students. And, every Saturday morning, we invited the community children to come take class with us where Kate taught us, hands on, how to be the best teacher we can be. Because of her knowledge and the passion she shared, it was an easy decision to follow her path and make teaching my life’s work.
In November of 2016 I decided to make DiscoverDance official. I nervously sent Kate a sample of my curriculum. I knew if Kate approved of my work I could move forward with confidence. She responded “It’s so great to know that your work has evolved so spectacularly. I’m proud to have been a part of that.” With those words, I plunged into this journey!
Two weeks later, on November 18th, 2016, I received the devastating news that Kate had passed away. I wish I could tell her that since first reaching out, I have had the opportunity to share the curriculum she so heavily inspired at a teaching training conference, and that DiscoverDance is now being taught in studios across the United States. I wish she could see the nearly 3,000 online followers receiving early childhood tips I’ve developed from the fundamental guidance she gave me. There is no doubt that if I had not walked into her class 13 years ago, DiscoverDance would not exist and for that I am forever grateful for Kate Kuper.
Join me this week as I post my favorite Kate Kuper music and activities. She has brought so much joy and fun to my early childhood classes. I know you will be inspired!