KS2 Music / Dance / Drama / History: World War 1 Performance Pack - 'Archie Dobson's War'. Music - Part 2: Stuck, stuck in the middle

The second programme of music resources linking to World War 1. The medley of contemporary songs to learn includes 'Hush, here comes a whizz-bang!' and 'We're here because we're here'. The original song is the grimly humorous 'Stuck, stuck in the middle' - about daily life stuck in the trenches. Backing tracks of all the songs are available in the Sound Resources programme, along with sound effects which can be used to enhance your staging of the play 'Archie Dobson's War'.

Music - Part 2: Stuck, stuck in the middle

Summary

Discuss how the scene shifts to France during 1914-16, where Britain and its allies are now at war with Germany.

What we will be doing

Introduction – in the trenches

The children imagine being stuck in mud-filled trenches, under fire and in fear. At this time during World War 1, soldiers made jokes and sang songs to keep up their spirits.

‘Trenches medley’ A

Listen to and copy two lines at a time of the song ‘Hush, here comes a whizz-bang’, singing very quietly. A ‘whizz-bang’ was a small bomb or shell that ‘whizzed’ through the air, and ‘No-man’s-land’ was an area between two sets of trenches.

‘Trenches medley’ B

Soldiers often made up their own words to fit well-known songs and hymn-tunes. Copy a line at a time of the song ‘When this lousy war is over’ (to the tune of ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’).

‘Trenches medley’ C

Sing the words of ‘We’re here because we’re here’ – the three words ‘we're here because’ repeated over and over, to the familiar tune of ‘Auld lang syne’ (as sung nowadays at New Year).

Stuck, stuck in the middle, verse 1

Learn to sing a few bars at a time, swaying your body gently to the ‘lilting’ waltz-feel. Pitch the closetogether notes carefully, slowing down at ‘think of you’ (where there are two harmony parts you can try after the programme). Watch out for the high notes at ‘Whizz, bang, thud!’

Stuck, stuck in the middle, verses 2, 3 and 4

Verse 2 is singing ‘doo’, whistling and clicking-fingers. In verse 3, slow down at ‘Whizz, bang, whoosh!’ – then in verse 4, sing ‘la’, then ‘doo’ again.

Stuck, stuck in the middle, verse 5 and Coda

The ‘coda’ (extra endsection) has a pause after ‘Kingdom come’ and the singing can emphasise the irony of the ‘cheerful’ tune, contrasting with the seriousness of the actual situation.

Clips

Medley: 'In the trenches' (vocal)

'Stuck, stuck in the middle' - Vocal version

'Stuck, stuck in the middle' - Backing track

Resources

Teachers' notes
document
Archie Dobson's War - The Playscript
document
Music cues and SFX
audio

More from this series

Music - Part 1: Listen to the fields
audio
Music - Part 3: Can you, can you remember?
audio
Dance - Part 1: Countdown to war
audio