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Singing and Signing

We’ve been delivering Singing and Signing activities for over 20 years now. In that time we’ve done a lot of learning and developed real expertise in this area. You can find out more about our Singing and Signing work here.

We’ve built up a huge bank of resources that we want to share with other groups, organisations and practitioners. On this page you can find a selection of our favourites.

For each song you’ll find the following resources:

  • Singing and Signing Guidance Notes
  • Sign Sheet and Learning Guide
  • Transcription of Melody
  • Backing Track MP3
  • Vocal Track MP3

Thanks to generous funding from Youth Music and our other funding partners these songs can be downloaded for FREE.

We hope you enjoy using these Singing and Signing Resources as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them. Keep checking back as we’ll keep adding new songs.

If you’d like to keep up to date with AAM and our work and be one of the first to know when we’ve uploaded new resources, please sign up to our mailing list.

If you’ve downloaded one or more of our resource packs, we’d really like to know what you think of them. You can give us some feedback here.

If you have any questions, require any additional training or support or you would like our fabulous apprentices to run a singing and signing taster workshop with your group to get you started contact us.

All songs have been categorised, with different levels for both singing and signing. This is so that groups can progress through the different levels as they become more confident. This is the key that you will find used in the learning guide that accompanies each signed song.

Singing

  • Level 1: melody falls within a limited range, lies easily in the voice and mostly step-wise movement of pitches.
  • Level 2: melody over a wider range, with more leaps of intervals, but still reasonably comfortable to sing.
  • Level 3: more challenging intervals and pitching, some chromaticism, faster words and pitch changes.

Signing

  • Level 1: a few signs, lots of repetition and a definite entry level for signing.
  • Level 2: a greater range of signs, not too difficult to sign and at a reasonable speed of signing.
  • Level 3: a wider range of signs, can contain more difficult signs and faster speed of signing.

Level One

Places available

Africa

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1 or 2

Africa cover page

Africa is a very simple song with a strong beat that can be sung in different ways. It can be used as a call and response song, as a round or simply sung in unison, or a combination of all three. As there are only two signs in this song, it is a great one to introduce part singing to those who are new to signing or those with limited movement or communication.

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Canoe Song

Singing level 1-2, Signing level 1, Parts 2 or 3

Canoe Song Singing cover page

This is a traditional North American round. As with other slower numbers in the pack, this song provides an opportunity to practise a sense of stillness and poise on stage, though some simple canoeing movements help develop pulse, etc. The backing track sets the speed for the ‘dip, dip and swing’ of the oars.

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Get Cycling

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 2

Get Cycling cover page

Get Cycling is simple and repetitive song written by our Hands and Voices Choir inspired by the Tour de France. The choir wrote about the joy and fun of cycling, and the challenges that you may face when out on a bike ride. Because the song is simple and repetitive, a simple harmony line was added. The choir had great fun thinking of an action to go with the line ‘Get on your bike’- can you think of a fun action to go with it?

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Good Day

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Singing and signing cover page

This is a fun and lively Spanish song called Buenos Dias, which means Good Day translated into English. It one of our favourite welcome songs that always goes down well with all groups because it has a catchy tune and only a few signs that are really easy to learn.

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Free

Jump Jim Joe

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Jump Jim Joe cover page

Jump Jim Joe is an upbeat and energetic social dance from New England, USA and we have added our own simple actions and gestures to the song e.g. jumping, nodding, tapping toes and bending knees/ bouncing in time to the music.

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Lots of Voices Singing

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1, 2 or 4

Lots of Voices Singing cover page

This simple round has been written by our Hands and Voices choir by us asking them the question, “What do you like about Hands & Voices?” Out of a long list, a small group wrote this round that has become a popular song that can be adapted to be person-specific for any group.

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Mama Don't Allow

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Mama Don't Allow cover page

This is a great fun and easy to learn song for all groups, but we find it especially useful when there are wide ranging needs and ability levels within the one group. It also works well when we are working with groups with moderate to complex learning difficulties who respond well to a range of musical activities within one song.

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Ranky Tanky

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 2

Ranky Tanky cover page

‘Ranky Tanky’, also known as ‘There Was an Old Lady From Booster’ originates from a social dance from the African American (Gullah) traditions of South Carolina. There are many different versions of this song. In our version we use a simple call and response structure that makes it easy to learn. Also the signs and melody are easily learnt and there is lots of repetition making it a good one to introduce signing with your group.

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Strong in Your Body

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Strong in your Body cover page

Strong in Your Body is an upbeat song written by our Hands and Voices choir inspired by the Tour de France and the strength and determination of those taking part. Choir members were asked to think about what they would need to do in order to win. They came up with a list of things to do in preparation, which turned into a fun and energetic song.

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Thank You Sun

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Thankyou Sun cover page

Thank You Sun was written by young people taking part in our Musical Monuments project Bolton Priory in 2009 as a means of thanking the sun for all it gives us. The song has been written in the gospel style to be upbeat and lively with a really catchy tune, and reasonably simple signs that is great fun to sing.

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Free

We Look to the Future

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1

We Look to the Future cover page

This song contains some of the dreams of the Hands and Voices choir for our future together. This is a song that you can use in any setting, recording some of the dreams and aspirations for the future of any group of people. We deliberately kept the verse content loose, so that it’s possible to write a verse in song or just a commentary and act it out as we did. The chorus is very easy and a nice one to teach and involve the audience in too.

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Zum Gali Gali

Singing level 1, Signing level 1, Parts 1, 2 or 3

Zum Gali Gali cover page

This is a traditional Hebrew working song in three parts. There is an ostinato (a repeated phrase) which sings the chorus throughout the entire song. The verse can also be sung as a 2 part round. Zum Gali Gali provides a good opportunity to develop pulse and rhythm through the repetitive digging action that accompanies the chorus.

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Level Two

Free

Autumn Song

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

Autumn Song cover page

This is a song written by the York IMPs group to celebrate the season of autumn. The first verse is about getting warm by the fire, the second about fireworks, and the third concerns favourite autumn foods. This slower song is good for developing melody singing and phrasing, and a sense of stillness in live performance, including holding the sign position on until the harp finishes at the end of the song.

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Free

Christmas

Singing level 2-3, Signing level 2, Parts 2

Christmas cover page

This song was written by our Hands and Voices choir. In small groups we listed the feelings, thoughts, sights and smells that reminded us of Christmas. A small group then took those words and wrote the melody. It has a two-part chorus that is a bit more challenging due to the interval jumps, but it makes a nice sound when you persevere! We like to swap the two parts round when the chorus repeats after verse 2 so that everyone gets a chance to sing each part.

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Free

Come, Come to Me

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1, 2 and 4

Come, Come to Me cover page

This beautiful and moving round was written by Hands & Voices in the style of a ‘siren’ song for their Elizabethan pantomime in 2006, Ruff Doublet and the Queen. In Greek mythology a siren was a half bird, half woman who lured sailors to their destruction by the sweetness of her song. In the production we started with one solo voice before adding more parts that when woven together created a really moving and impressive performance. The signs are easy to learn, but the challenge comes with the tune because it is quite exposed when sung slowly and the song has a wide range overall.

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Free

Dance

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Dance cover page

An upbeat, exciting dance floor number written by young people from the York IMPs group. The words, signs and melody are repetitive and straightforward so that people can concentrate on dancing and moving, which should happen throughout the song! After the first two verses there is a dance section.

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Free

Favourite Things

Singing level 2, Signing level 1-2, Parts 1

Favourite Things cover page

An upbeat and yet reflective song, written by young people from the York IMPs group to sing about the things they like to do in their lives. The simple repeated chorus is quickly learned, consisting of 3 signs, each sign with a double action which fits well to the chorus music. The verses are also straightforward to sign, as they usually have one sign per ‘favourite thing’. The tune of the verse is simple, with a repeating rhythm and similar phrases.

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Free

I'm In (Version 1)

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

I'm In cover page

This song was written by the East Riding IMPs group for the I'm Inclusive conference, held in York in February 2014 and is the first of a suite of songs written especially about the event by our two IMPs groups and Hands & Voices choir, who all took part on the event. Each group was asked to think about what made them feel inclusive, or included, and why they thought being part of our singing and signing choir was important to them.

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Free

I's the B'y

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

I's the B'y cover page

This is a traditional fishing song/ folksong from Newfoundland - a small island off the east coast of Canada. ‘I’se the b’y’ literally means ‘I am the boy’ or ‘I am the guy’. This is a great fun song to do that has a really simple catchy tune. Like a great many songs from Newfoundland, it was written as a dance, so we include lots of movement alongside the signing and signing making it a firm favourite with our groups. And we are sure you will like it too!

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Free

Into The Ark

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Into the Ark cover page

This lovely song was written by Hands & Voices back in 2000 not long after the choir was formed about the animals going into the ark in the story of Noah for a production of Noah’s Opera that had been devised by the choir. The chorus has a really catchy tune and the verse is quite simple. The signs will need some careful practice because the song features lots of different animals, and some, like ‘butterfly’, where the hand shape is more difficult to form..

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Free

Irish Toast

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Irish Toast

These words are a traditional Irish blessing, put to music by folk band Kerfuffle, who have kindly provided the backing track too. This is one of the most moving songs that we do and always a firm favourite with audiences and performers alike. The melody is quite complex, but it is a memorable tune, if not always an obvious one, which will need careful practice. The signs however, are quite simple and easy to learn. It is a slow song which will benefit from including breathing exercises in your warmup to make the long notes nice and smooth.

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Free

Junkanoo

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 2

Junkanoo cover page

Junkanoo is a festival which takes place in the Bahamas in winter. As the festival takes place around Christmas time, this is a good song to include in Christmas concerts to make a change from normal Christmas songs. Both the melody and the signs are quite easy to learn and the calypso is beat makes it an uplifting song to perform that always goes down well with audiences. The song mentions the ‘Goombay beat’, which is music and dance associated with a particular drum in the Caribbean called Goombay – a goatskin drum held between the legs and played with the hands.

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Free

Oh Happy Day

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 2

Oh Happy Day cover page

This is a classic gospel song and a nice song to introduce singing and signing in two parts. It is a firm favourite and has a real ‘feel good’ factor - very uplifting that always goes down well with both singers and audiences alike. The chorus is call and response - the second part echo’s the first exactly making it very easy to learn. The verse then splits into 2 parts; however this is optional - it is also possible to get a small group of more confident singers to carry the second part for the whole choir.

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Free

Ragnarock

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

Ragnarock cover page

Ragnarock was written by our Hands & Voices choir as the final number for their Viking Pantomime in 2006. Because the end of the world in Viking times was called ‘Ragnarok' it seemed only fitting that this was a Rock and Roll number! It is an upbeat and lively song with a really catchy tune. Although the track goes at some pace, the melody line and signs are reasonably simple; however make sure that you practice the signs till your group is secure with them first!

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Free

Selby Town

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

The Virgin Mary had a baby boy cover page

This is an upbeat easy to learn song written by people from Selby as part of the Wish You Were Here Project. It is a reflection of the ideas, memories and knowledge of local history of all those who took part. Selby Town does not have a backing track as it was performed live. A video was made that can be found on our website: www.aamedia.org.uk/samples-of-work

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Free

Signalong Anthem

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Signalong Anthem cover page

The East Riding IMPs group wrote this song for the Sign Supported Communication Charity ‘Signalong’. Signalong commissioned the song to explain why signing is an important method of communication in a fun and memorable way. The melody is catchy and easy to pick up- but take care when learning it; there are some tricky bits.

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Singing Superstars

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 1

Singing Superstars cover page

Singing Superstars began life as a fun game of musical consequences between our two IMPs groups. The East Riding IMPs group wrote the first verse, and the second verse was written in response by the York IMPs group. One day we might write some more verses, or maybe you’d like to write your own.

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Free

Sleeping Beauty

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1 (optional 2nd)

Sleeping Beauty cover page

A music-hall style number written by Hands & Voices for their first ever pantomime in 1999, Sleeping Beauty. It is an upbeat and great fun song to do with a really catchy tune making it a firm favourite with performers and audiences alike – we often hear members singing it long after the session is finished! The melody and signs are reasonably easy to learn; however the backing track moves along at a fair speed, so it’s important to be secure in the signs first!

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Free

Summer is Icumen In

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1, 2 or 3

Summer is Icumen In cover page

Summer is Icumen In is one of the oldest surviving songs that is thought to have been written around 1260 using an early form of the English language called Middle English. The title translates as ‘Summer Has Come In’ or ‘Summer Has Arrived’ and describes things associated with summer. The original version was written as a six part song; however we have simplified it to two or three parts to suit our groups. We also sing the song a lot slower than the original. This song works well when there are a wide range of ability levels in the one group because it has a simple ostinato part that simply repeats ‘sing cuckoo’ throughout.

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Free

The Holly and the Ivy

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

The Holly and the Ivy cover page

A setting of the famous Christmas carol; however, this is not the melody that’s most familiar, but a lively traditional West Country folk tune that is great fun to sing. The signs are also fun, particularly the antlers of the ‘deer’, making this a quick favourite with both performers and audience. The repeating verse-chorus structure, and the verses following a set format (of berry colours, etc), all aid in the learning and remembering of the signs and the song.

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Free

The Virgin Mary had a baby boy

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

The Virgin Mary had a baby boy cover page

The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy is an energetic traditional calypso carol that is thought to originate from Trinidad in the West Indies that makes a fun and unusual addition to your Christmas repertoire. It tells the Christmas story through the different people who visited baby Jesus. The song has a repetitive melody which makes it easy to learn. Even though there are 4 verses, the 1st line is the only line that changes.

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Free

Wade in the Water

Singing level 2, Signing level 1, Parts 2

Wade in the Water cover page

This song is actually two spirituals in one – ‘Wade in the Water’ and ‘Motherless child’ and provides an unusual, yet effective way of creating simple harmonies that are easy to learn. Each song is quite different in style and tempo. ‘Wade in the Water’ is lively and upbeat, whereas ‘Motherless Child’ is quieter and more reflective – we find this a really good way to practice a range of dynamics within the one song, as well as working on phrasing.

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Free

White Yorkshire Rose

Singing level 2, Signing level 2, Parts 1

White Yorkshire Rose cover page

White Yorkshire Rose is a simple and moving song written by our Hands and Voices choir inspired by the Tour de France. Whilst the melody is simple, the signs are more challenging in the verses. Care should be taken when learning the signs. Start slowly at first and build up. The song is also quite slow with long phrases, so practicing breathing in a warm up before hand will help your choir manage to sing the phrases in one breath.

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Level Three

Free

Everybody in the Town

Singing level 3, Signing level 2, Parts 1

Everybody in the Town cover page

Members of our Hands & Voices Choir wrote these words to add to the collection of songs we have devised for practicing our signing hand shapes. Everyone was asked to think of flat hand signs and the challenge was then to put them together in a song! This was a popular song with the choir because it incorporated the Usain Bolt stance (in the Olympic year!) with flat hands rather than the point, and the ‘Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh’ line was accompanied with a cool ‘scratch the decks’ move. Fun actions along with the signs can make the songs easier to remember.

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Free

I'm In (Version 2)

Singing level 3, Signing level 2, Parts 1

I'm In V2 cover page

An upbeat, cheerful number and the third in a suite of songs written especially for AAM’s I’m Inclusive Conference, held in March 2014. The verses were written by the York IMPs in response to questions asking what they liked about being in the singing and signing group. The chorus is simply the words "I'm in". The melody of the verse and chorus is reasonably straightforward. For the Instrumental section in the middle, the group can dance freestyle, or make up some appropriate moves to do together.

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