KS2 Music: Shakespeare on Trial! - Song 1: 'Shakie! Shakie!'
Notes for ‘Shakie! Shakie!'
This rock’n’roll number has elements of blues, boogie-woogie and doo-wop, so needs to be sung with plenty of energy. The phrases of the chorus build up-and-down (bars 5-8) and then up-down-UP (bars 9-12). The children’s singing can emphasise the blues flavour by ‘bending ‘ some of the ‘blue notes’ (especially the G naturals). The main challenge of the choruses is for everyone to sing crisply in rhythm, together.
You can split the verses between individual singers or small groups, to help get good contrast between the different moods and genres of Shakespeare’s plays - Verse 2 is about ‘histories’ and Verse 3 about ‘sad plays, funny plays, romances as well...’ (ie tragedies, comedies and romances), each verse concluding with a modern viewpoint that perhaps they’re all just boring! The verses can end with the whole ensemble miming head-shaking for ‘no’ (after Verse 1), ‘crying’ (after Verse 2) and ‘praying for the bell’ (after Verse 3).
The coda (end section) is a chance to build a chord in doo-wop style. Everyone can sing the tune of bars 20-21 as written (to ‘Ba-ba-ba-ba...’ etc), or you could split the four notes between four groups (E, G sharp, B and D) and slowly practise building the chord from the bottom up in ‘harmony’ (Es start and carry on, G sharps join in and carry on, and so on). Then the words ‘Shakie! Shakie!’ can be spoken loud by everyone, before the final ‘And it’s true!’ which should be crisp and short.
The structure of the song is slightly unpredictable, with an ‘extra’ lead-in bar into each verse - listen out for the hand drum ‘fill’ with four clicks-on-the-beat from claves - and a two-bar link for the mim-ing actions just before each chorus.
Watch out for the double chorus after Verse 3. You could build up the energy by splitting the lines of the first of these between individ-uals or groups of singers, then getting everyone to join in with the final chorus.
There are lots of opportunities for instruments to build up rock’n’roll energy, with fairly simple guitar chords (especially A, C, D and E), short phrases for melody instruments to turn into improvised ‘riffs’ (listen to the track a few times), shaker rhythms in the choruses (eg maracas, cabacas and tambourines) and building rock rhythms with a ‘group drumkit’ (several people playing different sizes of drum and cymbal).
As well as the miming actions, why not get a dance group to add some 50 / 60s type dance actions - eg hand-rolling, hitch-hiking and jive actions.