While Shepherds Watched (Bisley version)
The original manuscript and notes – http://glostrad.com/while-shepherds-watched/. Go to this link to download the “See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)”
Audio of song:
While Shepherds Watched (Bisley) Prep
Key stage 2 years 5/6
audio equipment to play music,
whiteboard to project text and write text.
Paper and pencils/pens.
In advance need to find the audio file (first three verses) and words on the
Length of lesson 35-45mins
• To Learn a traditional folk song
• Learn history of a well known carol
• Write a tune to some well known words
What is a folk song?
• Not sung by professional musicians
• Passed down through families/communities/friends
• some songs are very old (often dating back to seventeenth century or earlier.
• Were often sung without any instruments.
While Shepherds Watched
• Published 1696
• Written by Nahum Tate Poet Laureate
• It was the only Hymn which could be sung in church because it is a direct quote from the bible.
• It was published without music so each community wrote their own tune.
• There are over 400 tunes for the carol
While Shepherds Watched (Bisley) Lesson
- Ask children what they think a folk song is.
- Tell them what a folk song is
- Show them the words for While Shepherds watched
- Ask if they know a tune for them and share any tune you know
- Play them the recording from the website
- Explain why there are so many tunes to this one set of words
- Get children to write their own tune to some well known words. They could use
- While Shepherds, other Christmas Carols or any other well know tunes. It is
- advisable to avoid Pop songs.
- Children share with group
Optional extra: maybe record the new tunes.
Optional extra: If they have used the words to while shepherds have a listen to The
recording of Charley Williams available at http://glostrad.com/while-shepherdswatched-3/