A Fox and Branch family show is all about audience participation. In fact, we try to make the entire idea of there being “an audience” disappear: we are just a big group of people having fun. The kids get to sing, clap, dance and play rhythm instruments. Adults get to enjoy the music, clap and sing along.
Some of the music we present will be familiar to many families, but we also try to introduce new material that will surprise and amuse children and adults alike. We draw our material from American roots sources and from world traditions.
We offer assemblies. We also do residencies, where we make repeated visits to work in individual classrooms. Our school programs are designed to engage the students, while drawing from social studies, history, language arts, music and physical education elements of the curriculum. Movement is an important part of what students do. They also learn the history, social value and cultural meaning of the music.
Dave Fox is a retired elementary school teacher. Will Branch teaches music at a Montessori school and gives private guitar lessons to children. Together, we bring this experience and empathy for young people to our work.
Programs can be tailored to specific subjects. We are always happy to work with teachers to present programs that fit the needs of their students.
Stories Of Our Region – 45 minutes
This program links to literacy by connecting the stories we sing to stories in books. We cover the Erie Canal, Underground Railroad, the role of trains, the Great Depression and hobos. These are all part of the development of the upper Midwest. A book display is included, and a booklist is provided for teachers.
American Folk Instruments – 45 minutes
We sing and demonstrate instruments, explain their history and use them in songs. Participation is key. Students are encouraged to sing, clap and to try rhythm instruments. Instruments used for this program include the fiddle, guitar, resonator guitar, banjo, washboard, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica and limberjack (dancing wooden man). Body slaps, known as juba patting, are also demonstrated.
A Trip Around The World
This program can present music, dance and stories from North and South America, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Australia. Students learn about cultural context, history and geography. They actively participate by singing and dancing. There is an emphasis on rhythms and playing rhythm instruments. Topics can include things like the role of samba in Brazil, or of hula in Hawaii. Teachers may suggest particular countries or cultures to be covered.
The Birth Of A Song
Students use their imaginations and work together to create new songs. Under our guidance, they begin by suggesting new ideas and words for familiar songs. They learn about common song forms, rhythms and rhyme patterns. The group will produce at least one completely original song based on a subject or theme. This program links to language arts and basic music concepts.
We present traditional songs, games and dances from different regions of our country, including New England, Georgia Sea Islands, the Midwest, and the South. The program builds on practice and introduces new elements in each session. Students are led through ring games, line dances, songs with movement and rhythmic accompaniment. Activities are adjusted to fit different age levels and abilities. This program develops cultural awareness and social skills. Cooperation is a vital part of what students learn.