Top 10 Favorite Echo Songs

Songs that Develop Listening Skills

Part of a child’s musical development is learning to sing independently and in rhythm. Echo songs encourage and help children to do both by teaching listening and mimicking skills. Learning to accurately sing pitches and speak rhythms presented by the leader are tools even opera singers use.

I Met a Bear

This tune is extremely popular and old, credited to Carey Morgan and Lee David in 1919. Of all the lyrics, this one is currently one of the more popular ones. Other versions include, “Bear in Tennis Shoes,” “The Princess Pat” and “The Littlest Worm.”

Bill Grogan’s Goat

Like the previous echo song, the song tells a story. Though several versions exist, my favorite includes a chorus that has kids repeating “Bo-de-ah-da” and other nonsense words. Not only is it more melodically challenging, but it encourages vocal exploration.

Going on a Bear Hunt

One of my favorites on the list, “Going on a Bear Hunt,” puts you into the story and is often sung with gestures. You and your little singers will go over a mountain, through a puddle, and much more to find a bear. Since it requires a certain order, kids learn sequencing as they sing. A Halloween version to the same tune is “The Dracula song” by Charlotte Diamond. It adds the element of speaking like a vampire throughout the song.

The Green Grass Grows All Around

This echo song is also a patter song that challenges the tongue as well as the memory. It starts out as an echo song, but the chorus is sung in unison repeating all the verses each time. Kids particularly love it when the lead singer jumbles their words up or mixes up a phrase.

Boom Chicka Boom

I sung a version of this in camp as a teenager. It is more of a chant, which isolates and works on rhythm. I like to use it as an attention grabber when kids are getting restless, since it is short and requires physical movement that gets kids moving.

Down by the Bay

One of my favorite echo songs, because it also teaches children to rhyme. The chorus stays consistent and at the end someone shouts a silly rhyme that includes an animal doing or wearing something that they are not supposed to. For instance, “Have you ever seen a bear combing his hair?” or “Have you ever seen a cat wearing a hat?”

Bazooka Bubblegum Song

Just like “Boom Chicka Boom,” this song is more of a rap requiring very little melodic variation. Several versions of this song exist, but singing it as an echo song makes it much easier for children to learn and sing.

The Alligator Is My Friend

Along with the benefits an echo song brings, most versions repeat the word “alligator” in the chorus starting soft to loud. Kids at the same time make hand gestures that are small to large making this song a fun introduction to dynamics.

Sing After Me

This is a Sesame Street composition for Ernie and Elmo. Ernie is the lead singer and during the choruses he sings syllables repeated by Elmo that encourage vocal exploration. It would be a great warm-up song to start a kid’s chorus or music class.

When I Sing La La La by Janeen Brady

Another great warm-up song is “When I Sing La La La.” Brady leads kids through various parts of their voice, runs them through a few scales, has them sing quick, a trill, and staccato. Kids won’t even realize they are singing vocal exercises when singing this echo song.