Alternative words for Lightly Row


said: Oct 31, 2010
 145 posts

I have a 3 year old pupil and I am hoping to get some very easy words for the song, it would be good if they were funny as well . Can anyone help? Thsnk you!

Sara said: Oct 31, 2010
191 posts

Hey there mouse in your house
Bet-ter stay in-side your house
Hey there mous-ie in your hous-ie
Some-one’s waiting just for you
Pre-tty ki-tty loves you so
Thinks you’re just so tas-ty, Oh!
Hey there mou-sie in your hou-sie
Some-one’s wait-ing just for you

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Ruth Brons said: Oct 31, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Lightly Row, Lightly Row, Up the river we will go
You’ll row fast and I’ll row slow and up the river we will go
Play 5 B’s and then C D, Play 5 C’s and then D E
You’ll row fast and I’ll row slow and up the river we will go

Easy to remember, a little bit of humor, a little bit of practical help with what the notes are….

Laurel said: Oct 31, 2010
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

This one’s good for kids who are still using a box violin, but works for other kids too. got it from Between Parent and Teacher, by Susan Kempter:

This is my violin
This is where I put my chin
E A D G are the four strings
And the f-holes let it ring
Here’s the front and here’s the back
If I drop it, it might crack!
So I hold it close beside me
Rest position you now see!


Celia Jones said: Nov 6, 2010
72 posts

The tune is an Italian children’s song called Girotondo. I found it on a CD called “Baby’s first words in Italian”, by Living Language. The CD has many beautiful Italian children’s songs and rhymes. My daughter’s childminder who is Italian says it is very good, that the songs are authentic and she loves it. She says “Girotondo” is like “ring a ring of roses”, and there is a dance that goes with it. We are learning the Italian words—they are quite easy to say, and they describe the dance steps except the chorus which means:

Sing, sing, sing again
This song is like a flower
It opens in the sun and always speaks
Of happiness in your hearts.

Cameron said: Nov 28, 2010
2 posts

One of my students, aged 5, made up these lyrics for Lightly Row, and all my other students loved it…

Catty-fish, Catty-fish, swimming in a little dish,
Swimming high and swimming low because there’s no where else to go.
If the fish would learn to fly, they we’d have to say Bye-bye!
Catty-fish, catty-fish, swimming in a little dish.

( I guess a catty-fish is a little cat fish?) (only the kids know for sure)


Sanchie Bobrow said: Sep 1, 2013
Sanchie Bobrow
Suzuki Association Member
3 posts

Lightly row, here we go, o’er the clear blue sea we go.
Always rowing, always going, o’er the clear blue sea we go.
Mommy take me back to shore, please don’t make me row much more.
Always rowing, always going, o’er the clear blue sea we go.

Anne Bowman said: Sep 2, 2013
Anne BowmanTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Plano, TX
8 posts

Down the stairs, down the stairs,
Then I go back up the stairs.
Climbing here and climbing there,
My mom says don’t climb anywhere.
You might fall and crack your head.
Then you’d have to go to bed.
Climbing here and climbing there,
My mom says don’t climb anywhere.

The children have never asked in 40 years what the lyrics have to do with the title. That puzzles me. But that’s kids for you!

Rose Lander said: Sep 2, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
55 posts

my opinion is that the words should be easy, easy, easy. you want your students to use the words as a gentle reminder—not a great challenge. the big challenge is to connect the notes to the violin, not to learn words.
when i have a student who cannot learn the notes easily, even after repeated listening over several months, i just have them sing repeating, “lightly row, lightly row , how i love to lightly row”. if that still does not work, i resort to something unorthodox as a last result. i write out in big letters and numbers, “e22
eee, “etc.
the parent points to the notes and letters, and the child sings them. this has been an unqualified success.
i know this should be a process using the child’s ability to listen and reproduce the sounds they hear on the violin, but after many, many months of frustration, no progress, i think we need to think outside the box.
rose lander

Michelle McManus Welch said: Sep 2, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Lindenhurst, IL
42 posts

Often I’ve found that children who are strong visual learners need to do what Rose suggests. I first do a ‘listening chart,’ a practice chart but a challenge of listening to it either child’s age or ten times a day-and give them a page of cheap stickers for the exercise. This works 90% of the time, and when it doesn’t the mom invariability has written out the notes/fingerings and has succeeded this way. I always stress that the parent understands how the student learns best, and not all children learn aurally as the Suzuki method teaches.

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Sanchie Bobrow said: Sep 2, 2013
Sanchie Bobrow
Suzuki Association Member
3 posts

I agree that words that are used for Suzuki melodies should be simple and very easily remembered. I only use words to help children learn the rhythm of the bow, through bow miming and preliminary bowing on the open E string, for early Book 1 repertoire.

Creating words with accurate rhythms for The Two Grenadiers has helped many of my students learn the tricky rhythms and phrasing of that piece. And, it was Louise Behrend who coined many great, and now classic, lyrics to many pieces in the repertoire. For example; “I LOST my red um-BRE-lla, in BLOOMingdales, in BLOOMingdales” (Vivaldi-Concerto in G minor, 1st Mvt.). If it was ok for Miss Behrend to make use of words to teach the repertoire, it’s ok for me too.

Wendy Caron Zohar said: Sep 2, 2013
Wendy Caron Zohar
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Ann Arbor, MI
94 posts

Sanchie, that is hilarious about the Vivaldi G minor words! Never heard those before! Reminds me of lyrics my mother told me about that she was taught as a child in her music appreciation class, for Schubert’s Unfinished (”this is-, the symphony-, that Schubert wrote and never finished—…”) and other pieces. She was never a musician, but she can still come up with the words and tunes to those works.

I start my students right from the get go learning to sing simple solfege. Once they’re comfortable with it, then we apply it to the beginning songs in Bk 1. These are mostly in A doh, with some being D or G doh further on in the book. They’re mostly in singable range (except in May Song, O Come, Allegro etc. the high A’s can be tough to reach—so we just sing them down an octave).

Using solfege has a number of benefits; it’s good for musicianship, added lyrics aren’t necessary, and the student is also gaining a sense of functional harmony by feeling the tune within the scale. They have to be able to sing it first before I let them play it. In no time it is memorized. With their ears attuned to the relative pitches, hearing intervals and knowing where doh is, they are easily able to transpose, playing the tunes starting from different notes.

Wendy Caron Zohar

Amanda Hockenberger said: Sep 16, 2013
Amanda Hockenberger
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Marlton, NJ
10 posts

Lightly Row Lightly Row, Rowing up the scale we go
Lightly Rowing Lightly Rowing, A 2 E E 2 2 2
Hippopotamus climb up, Hippopotamus climb up
Lightly Rowing Lightly Rowing, A 2 E E 2 2 2

I keep it simple and silly. :)

Mary Kay O'Neill said: Sep 19, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
3 posts

Lightly Row, Lightly Row, Merrily down the stream we go.
Join this happy song we’re singing as we row our boat along.
Let the wind and water be, mingled with our melody.
Join this happy song we’re singing as we row our boat along.

I do this activity with the child as we sing the words:
Sit on the floor facing each other with legs forward. On line 1, make motions as if rowing the boat with an oar on our right sides. On line 2, join hands and rock forward and back. Line 3, row the boat with the hands on the left side. Line 4, same motions as line 2.

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