Echo, echo, echo, echo.....

Repeat after me:

The other day……

I met a bear……

A great big bear…..

Away up there….

Echo songs, ( also called “call and response” songs, since one person “calls” each line and others respond ) are the perfect accompaniment to a whole range of occasions. Indeed they are the soundtrack of my childhood, growing up as I did under the well-meaning and occasionally stiflingwing of the Girl Guide movement. There are echo songs about all sorts of subjects, from bears in the woods to pies, owls, trees, fish, kye kye kules (whatever THEY are) - you name it. The beauty of an echo song is that it can be sung with a group, from two to any number, but only one person has to actually know the song. For someone like me who struggles to remember the words to any song, that means I can join in because my memory will be helpfully jolted by the lead singer, or “caller” of each line.



Oh my…..

No more pie…..

Pie’s too sweet…..

I wanna piece of meat…..

The other great thing about echo songs is that they can be started with very young children. A simple repeated tune and words that tell an uncomplicated story will engage the wriggliest of toddlers on the bus or the train, or in the car, or even waiting in the queue at Centrelink. I’ve often thought of starting an echo song in Centrelink myself, just to cheer up myself and the other poor people who have been waiting for hours to help sort out the government’s welfare problems. My mother (I must confess she was a Girl Guide leader who lorded it over several generations of hapless Brownies) tried one day to start community singing on the hour long bus ride home from work in the city. Unfortunately, peak hour buses in Sydney are not conducive to that sort of thing, and Mum’s Saturday morning status as Chief Brown Owl just didn’t cut it with the grumpy office workers. And this was long before the days of mobile phones, iPads and headphones. What the hell were they doing on that long ride home anyway?! Reading a book??


Everybody sing after me:

One of these days….

Look up and see….

A wise old owl….

Sitting in a tree….

Echo songs are also an excellent social bonding tool. They kind of force people to come together who wouldn’t normally have a bar of each other. And in this increasingly segregated and lonely world of ours, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. It’s just a song, for goodness’ sake!

Try some of these echo songs with your children. I’m not going to force you, but I bet you have fun…






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Funny Faces

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