It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about the TPR song par excellence, the Genki English Disco Warm-up, written and sung by Richard Graham. One of my all time favorite EFL songs, it’s a universal hit among students and parents alike; the kind of tune that stays with you long after the class has ended, like the aftertaste of a particularly good chili. And once you’ve taught it, you can pull it out of your teacher’s toolbox every once in a while to get the kids revved up for class.
So now it’s time to talk about Eat! Drink! Dance!, which might just be a little bit better. This song recycles bits of the Disco-Warm Up while introducing the vocabulary words eat, drink, read, dance, sleep, sing, cook, and stop.
Now this is no Mary Had a Little Lamb-type children’s song. It opens with a strong guitar intro that gets your students bobbing their heads up and down like they were at their first rock concert. Meanwhile, reminiscent of Disco Warm-up, the kids repeat after and follow such classroom commands as “stand up” and “sit down”. But then, just as their excitement level is starting to bubble, Richard belts out “And DANCE!”
Make no mistake, even some of the most self-conscious of students will begin to groove in ways that not even the most upbeat Wiggles concert could ever get them to. And so it will be with you.
While this mini-rave is going on, Richard starts yelling out the aforementioned vocabulary words “eat,” “drink,” and “read,” which the students should repeat after and act out (while continuing to dance, of course). Then, Richard unexpectedly says “STOP!” A moment of dead silence is followed by what sounds like the unstoppable voice of doom counting down from five. And just as the voice is about to say zero, Richard screams “Dance!”
This time around, it’s pandemonium.
The energy in the room will suddenly feel like it’s been turned up to eleven. Just check out these kids from Turkey get their groove on:
Now before actually doing any singing or dancing, I usually do spend a good ten minutes pre-teaching the vocabulary with my young learners, although the lyrics really are easy peasy.
Eat, Drink, Dance
by Richard Graham
Are you ready?
5 4 3 2 1
5 4 3 2 1
You don’t need dance club type stereo equipment to play this song, but a decent sound system really helps get things in gear. It shouldn’t be so loud that it ruins their little ears, but perhaps something more than one of those dinky, what-was-that?-type classroom CD players.
Don’t forget that you can watch a demo of the music video on the song page at Genki English, get some great game ideas from Richard, as well as download flashcards and other goodies. And perhaps best of all, once you have this song under your belt, you are all set to teach your kids Richard’s wonderful What are you doing? song, so all the more bang for your buck.