I couldn’t help myself, when I saw this graphic. Now, just picture these piggies singing!
What is a piggyback song?
A piggyback song is one where you create words to go with a familiar tune. You might even take the lyrics to a song with a less known melody and “piggyback” it onto one everyone knows. I’ve heard that Amazing Grace can be sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme. Interesting (though, I’m not sure why you’d do that.)
Why would I use a piggyback song?
There are a number of reasons to use them:
- to change things up (in the instance of Amazing Grace, above)
- to keep things the same (Teaching new words to familiar tunes is less threatening. You don’t have to learn a new melody as well as new words.)
- to teach concepts in a novel way (Think about how much more fun it might be to sing about hygiene or grammar!)
Is it a lot of work?
I guess this depends on the person. You can certainly do an internet search or look to Pinterest for piggyback songs, if you like. If you want to use them for a specific lesson, however, you might be better off just making up your own. Or, if you work with students who like the challenge, ask them to make up lyrics for you. I, personally, think it’s fun to make up piggyback songs when I’m not in a rush (summer break, long car rides, etc.)
Which comes first, the melody or the words?
Totally up to you. I like to choose a concept, then choose a melody. I play around with it in my head and see what happens. If it seems to work (at all!) then I start writing things down and really work at it. If it doesn’t “stick,” then I keep the concept and change up the melody. Start over. Just remember to keep it as simple as possible.
Can you give me some ideas?
Of course! I’m going to list a few places to get you started. Then, if you want to add more in the comment section below, go ahead!
How to Write Piggyback Songs Better
75 Sing-Along E-Songs That Teach Essential Early Reading Skills (affiliate link)
Piggyback Songs (affiliate link)
Do you have a suggestion about how to write or use piggyback songs? Can you give us a link to a resource you use?