Turn it Around

by Donna Rhodenizer

Turn it Around - Donna Rhodenizer

Movement Song for Pre-school and Young Singers (ages 3-8)

Movement Songs with actions are a great way to get children moving, warmed up and engaged. "Turn it Around" is written as a March with a verse/chorus form. Directional vocabulary (Lean to the left, lean to the right, lean to the front and lean to the back) creates the framework for the verse. The chorus is more "free-style" in nature with students turning around in their spots.

Children love the physical challenge of following instructions and moving to the strong two-beat pulse of this 6/8 March.


Audio Tracks - "Turn it Around"

    - Melody guide + accompaniment 

    - Accompaniment only

Print Scores 

    - Vocal score 

    - Full score

    - Printed lyrics
For The Teacher

    - Teaching Strategies

     - Blog post - pdf

Focus areas:

- A fun movement song, good for following instructions (verses) and then less structured turning around (choruses). 

- On the spot movement while following instructions is a good preliminary step before attempting partner dances.

- The 6/8 march, with its strong 2-beat pulse, is excellent for natural-feeling movement.

- Repetitious words with some variation. 

- Add lyric changes to create different movement options. Give students the option to choose the movement

      (lean, march, hop, slide, etc.) they wish to use.

Concert Setting

Turn it Around is written as a warm-up or movement-based activity suitable for elementary music classrooms or vocal studios, but it could also be pressed into service as a fun performance piece for a young group of singers.

It is always a bonus if something that is enjoyed in regular classes can do double duty as a concert performance piece. With enough regular repetition in class, young singers should be able to sing and do the actions. If young singers are not able to maintain singing and moving at the same time, another concert option would be to divide the group into two, so half the children sing and the other half moves, and then switch.

Add Instruments

Play classroom instruments

  • on selected words.  
  • on groups of words that rhyme
  • on all action words 

For an additional challenge, don’t sing the words that are being played by instruments but still do all the actions!

Be a Composer

Create your own lyrics and replace the actions to do as you lean to the left/lean to the right. Have fun trying to add actions that rhyme! Suggestions for additional lyrics are provided (see page 3 of the download).

Marching Option - Extension Activity

Marches are a fantastic musical style to encourage movement for young students. Whether a march is written in 6/8 (with its compound meter of 2 pulses) or a 2/4 march, the strong 2-beat feel of a march works well with children as they engage in left-right stepping.

Replace the word “lean” with the word “march” and sing the song with marching flair!

More Movement Options

Adapt “Turn it Around” to create additional movement-related activities. Replace the word “lean” with another movement word (e.g. hop, jump, slide, etc.) and have fun creating different ways to move to this song. The chorus can retain the lyrics, “turn it around” or, if it makes sense to do so, use your new movement word in the chorus as well (e.g. hop it around).

Three friends

Have the students choose the movement words they wish to add to the song. The invitation to provide their ideas gives students ownership with the song and creates a personal connection to the activity.

Enjoy "Turn it Around"!

More Marching Options - visit the Marching Music & Activities for Kids page

Insert Video
Donna Rhodenizer - composing

Composer, Elementary Music Specialist

Donna Rhodenizer

Donna Rhodenizer is a Canadian composer. She writes songs when she is driving in her van, when she is washing dishes, when she is playing with her grandkids and whenever and wherever inspiration strikes! She is always watchful for song ideas, and she tries to keep all her ideas organized in notebooks, but song lyrics often end up on the back of grocery receipts, empty pages in her address book, or anything that is close at hand, so she doesn’t lose an idea. “Turn it Around” was written while on the one-hour drive to visit her mom. There wasn’t any paper available, but fortunately her cell phone recorder was nearby to capture the idea so she could write it down later.

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