Shaking Up She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain: Two Tips Guaranteed to Breathe New Life into an Old Song

Do you ever get a little bored singing the same old songs? Come on, you can admit it. But we do it anyway don’t we? We do it because we know that for people living with dementia, there is comfort and competency to be found in a familiar, old song. Especially one they have been singing since they were children. That’s why I’m such a big fan of folk songs. (And why my new CD that I am about to record will be just that – a collection of favorite folk songs to sing along with. More on that in the coming weeks.) 

Two Road Tested and Fun Ways to Shake Up 
She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain 

More fun for you. More fun for everyone. 

Make Up Your Own Words 

Simply ask: “What else do you think will happen when she gets there?” And then put the answers in the song. 
Remember there are no wrong answers. If the people you are singing with are not able to come up with any ideas, you could make it simpler by guiding them to choose a food or a farm activity. Or you could give them two choices such as “Will we all have chocolate cake or will we all have mashed potatoes?” Or, just throw in a couple of funny ones that you like. Remember, this is about making the song more fun for you too. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Foods you will eat: 
And we’ll all have chocolate cake when she comes. 

Farm activities: 
And we’ll have to milk the cow when she comes 

What she’s wearing: 
She’ll be wearing red high heels when she comes. 

Other ideas: 
And we’ll have to do the dishes when she comes. 
And we’ll have a great big party when she comes. 
She’ll be playing her guitar when she comes. 
And we’ll all sing together when she comes 

Act It Out with Simple Movements 

She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes (Say: When she comes) 
She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes (Say: Whoa Back as you pull back on the “reins” with your arms) 
And we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes (Say: Hi Babe! With a big wave) 
And we’ll kill the old red rooster when she comes (Say: Chop, Chop as you make a chopping motion with one hand into the palm of the other hand) 
And we’ll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes (Say: Yum, Yum as you rub your belly) 
She’ll be wearing red pajamas when she comes (Say: Scratch, Scratch as you pretend to scratch) 
And we’ll have to sleep with grandma when she comes (Say: Snore, Snore as you make your best snoring sound) 

See how simple that was? Are there other old songs that you can make up words to or add movements to?