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Pick A Bale of Cotton

Pick A Bale of Cotton

Author: Michael Murphy

Students will learn about Tempo through movement.   

Using the traditional song "Pick a Bale of Cotton" students will learn about tempo.  "Pick a Bale" has been classed as a work song but it also was used frequently during slave times as a dance tune or reel. As a work song it has a "John Henry" twist in that the lyric speaks of picking a bale of cotton a day, an impossible task for one person.  Today it is quite often used as a line dance song that increases in tempo with each successive repeat.

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Tempo Terms Lesson (Pick a Bale of Cotton)

Students will learn about tempo(Adagio, andante, Allegro) through movement. This lesson plan is designed to fulfill Standard #5 of the National Standards for Music: Reading and Notating Music.

Source: The Lesson Zone (

Pick A Bale of Cotton

Piano Sheet music with melody and chords