Hey There!

This is one of the most accessible songs for students of all abilities to enjoy, both because everyone plays on any instrument at the prescribed time (‘let’s make lots of noise’) and because it is full of predictable and catchy rhythmic motives which students will instinctively perform. The group will enjoy letting loose on the extended improvised sections and will feel the sensation of loud music played by lots of people at once. This may be a moment when some autistic students will require their ear-defenders.

During the intro and outro, the students clap a predictive and instinctive rhythm which simply needs to be repeated a few times for them to catch on.

Encourage students to sing back the ‘hey there’ exclamation whenever the lead teacher sings it first and they will also instinctively join in on the middle ‘la, la, la’ section.

Student instruments required:  Anything available

High, Low, Middle

This song is fun and simple to learn. It is enjoyed by children and adults alike and is a great way to get everyone energised by music.


Teach the chorus first, showing the actions as follows:


High: Right arm above the head

Low: Right arm below the waist

Middle: Right arm at the centre of the chest


Enjoy watching carers and support staff get the fourth repeat wrong as the music changes to ‘high, low, low’ to conclude the chorus (a great way of introducing home or ‘tonic’ key). The students will also do the actions for ‘strum our guitars’, ‘blow our trumpets’ and ‘shake our maracas’.

Given the correct encouragement, they will enter the spirit of the song and, in the process, learn about pitch, instrumentation and style. The second half covers a complete range of musical genres, including Reggae, Ragtime, Tango and even the Can-Can at the end! They will sing, do the actions and dance their way to the very end!

Student instruments required:  None

It’s Animals I Adore

With lyrics by Music Man Project student, Rebecca Ling (pictured alongside her beloved Dog Barney), this song was premiered in a concert with real animals from a local farm. It explores herbivores and carnivores, and has plenty of opportunities for staging (with or without the live animals!). This version has been written for guest instrumentalists to play along dressed as an animal. Each has a unique motif and at the climax the students will feel like they are part of a musical jungle! They will hear a violinist dressed as a cat, trumpeter dressed as a flamingo, double-bass player dressed a hippo, clarinettist dressed as a monkey, saxophonist dressed as a penguin and a trombonist dressed as an elephant! It is recommended that the teaching begins with just the main chorus and clapping interlude as this will be the most accessible part of the song for most students – along with the final ‘woof’!

Student Instruments Required: Glockenspiels

The Liberty Bell

In the following arrangements for drums and hand percussion, students must play different instruments at different times. Maintaining their individual parts and resisting the temptation to just play along with everyone else is a real challenge for many learners with special needs. Careful explanations that stimulate and prompt memory will be fundamental to the teaching of these arrangements. They are to be spoken in the rhythm they are played. For example: ‘drum, drum, drum, drum, shake the tambourine’, ‘shake……. HIT!’, ‘ting, ting, ting, stop’ and ‘wood, wood, wood, woodblock’.  After much rehearsal, a student will be able take on the role of conductor of the ensemble.

The Liberty Bell

Instruments: Snare drum, Cymbal, African Drums, Tambourines, Woodblocks, Triangles


Kitten on the Keys

Instruments: Glockenspiels, Woodblocks, Triangles, Cymbal, Hand bells (White, Light Blue and Green)


Sabre Dance

Instruments: Glockenspiels (F#/B and A/D), Hand bells (Green, Orange, Dark Blue with black stem, Green), Triangles, Tambourines, Woodblocks, Cymbal


The Washington Post

Instruments: Snare Drum, Cymbal, African Drums, Triangles, Woodblock, Tambourines, Glockenspiels, assortment of marching band instruments if available

Music is Magic

One of the most expressive songs in the volume, ‘Music is Magic’ was originally written to commemorate the sudden passing of a child from one of the Music Man Project’s special schools. The song soon became our theme tune and was released as a charity single in 2015 to mark our West End debut at the London Palladium, and it is still available on iTunes and Amazon. The song has meaningful words about the power of music and is a favourite amongst students wherever it is performed. For a few days, it topped Amazon’s Broadway song chart, beating the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack! At the London Palladium, the last line was performed by a student who was previously mute, such is the power and magic of music.

Initially, the song will be a moment of reflection for new students as they will take a while to learn and understand the words. This itself is positive but soon they will recognise the recurring ‘Music is Magic’ motif. The signs for music (conducting with both hands) and magic (opening fist to spread fingers) can soon be incorporated.

It is important to stress that whilst some students will learn to sing the song accurately though copying or even reading the words, many will not be able to reach anything like this level of achievement. However, any attempt to sing or even say in time just some of the words still holds tremendous value. Over time, students will begin to shape the words with their mouths and will begin to produce a sound which is recognisable and in time with the music. Nothing is more satisfying than to see this process unfold and to see tears of pride well up in the eyes of the loved ones and carers around them.

Student Instruments Required:  None

Note by Note

‘Note by Note’ is a catchy and upbeat pop song in which students sing, dance and rap. The dance break in the middle has the following easy-to-learn actions:

To the right! CLAP, CLAP

To the left! CLAP, CLAP

To the right! CLAP, CLAP

To the left! CLAP, CLAP

Forward! CLAP, CLAP

And back! CLAP, CLAP

To the right! CLAP, CLAP

To the left! CLAP, CLAP

Turn around, CLAP, CLAP

Turn around, CLAP, CLAP

To the right! CLAP, CLAP

To the left! CLAP, CLAP

The song teaches syncopation and the distinct repeating sections will help students understand form and structure. Most of all they will enjoy shouting ‘MAN!’ at the end of each chorus, which should be accompanied by a vibrant fist- pump in the air.

Peace and Hope

Peace and Hope is an expressive song with a very simple repeating chorus which is sung, signed and played on the hand bells. The more complex verses require two groups of singers repeating phrases in turn and always with a slight overlap. The students will take longer to master these sections and so teaching should begin with the simpler chorus sections.

The bell part is particularly accessible and follows the notes of the slow-moving chorus exactly. Standard coloured hand bells are used and are labelled on the music by their colour. The order is provided below and a signing demonstration can be found at www.themusicmanproject.com. Some students will be able to play this chorus on a glockenspiel or keyboard and these opportunities can be added before the end as marked on the score.

Student Instruments Required: Hand bells

Peace                          and                              Hope

G                                  A                                  G

Light Blue                    Dark Blue                    Light Blue


Fire                              and                              Love

E                                  F                                  E

Yellow                          Green                          Yellow


Belief                           and                              Trust

G                                  A                                  G & B

Light Blue                    Dark Blue                    Light Blue and Purple


Faith                            and                              Peace

E                                  D                                  C

Yellow                          Orange                         Red