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Cobbler Cobbler
Episode 711th November 2021 • Doremi Teach • Helen Russell
00:00:00 00:05:58

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Welcome to Episode 7 of the Doremi Teach Podcast, with Helen Russell from Doremi Connect. Today we’re going to share a song that helps develop a sense of pulse or steady beat

Cobbler Cobbler

Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe

Get it done by half past two

Half past two is much too late

Get it done by half past eight

Hello there and welcome to episode 7 of the Doremi Teach podcast. If you’re interested in teaching musical skills and literacy through singing then this is the place for you. My name is Helen Russell from Doremi Connect and I’m going to help you achieve your goals using the Kodály approach.

Cobbler Cobbler is one of the many songs and rhymes that feature in Doremi Teach: Music the membership community for teachers just like you, interested in using the Kodály approach in your classroom. Members can access downloadable lesson plans, video walkthroughs, live support sessions and a vibrant social and support network of like-minded teachers. Check out to see what we have to offer.

Uses of Cobbler Cobbler

  • This song is really useful for developing pulse or steady beat·       
  • The game involves hammering with a pulse action so the pulse is experience kinaesthetically   
  • The rhythm is simple, ta and titi or crotchets and quavers, so it’s a great song for working on rhythm later
  • The toneset is mi-so with a range of a Minor 3rd so ideal for little voices and for reluctant teachers       
  • Its so-mi motif is the easiest for beginner singers to pitch accurately because it is used naturally in playgrounds all over the world, ner-ner ner-ner
  • It’s ideal for teaching the piano as we can play on any two black keys a skip apart
  • It’s easy to transfer to tuned percussion – just find a minor third like D with F, E with G, A with C or B with D       
  • I also use it to experience tempo, as I’ll explain in the game shortly
  • Oh and they never know that a Cobbler is someone who makes and mends shoes, so that’s a new word for them

The Game

The children are going to mend their shoes with a hammer. It’s up to you whether you imagine a shoe or get them to take off their own, dirty, shoes. You can guess what I prefer! Plus of course some of them take forever to take them on and off!

So hold your hand flat as if you’re holding a shoe, then with the fist of your other hand hammer to the beat.

To practise with both sides of the body, swap hands. I tell them to put their imaginary shoe down, swap hands with their imaginary hammer, then pick up the other shoe. That seems to be the most reliable way of swapping hands.

After a few weeks of steady hammering I venture into tempo preparation with a story about our cobbler.

Today our cobbler is very tired. They only have one pair of shoes to mend and they have all day to do it. How will they hammer? Slowly. Let’s sing and hammer slowly.

Oh no, they’ve just spotted a box of shoes under the table, they’ve got loads of shoes to mend but no time. How will they hammer? Fast. Right, but not so fast that they make a mess of the shoes. They still need to be careful.

Let’s sing and hammer a little faster.

Make sure you let us know what you think of the rhyme, and if you use it in your lessons. You can get in touch with us through our website at

Do share us with your colleagues if you’ve found it helpful

For more resources and free webinars on teaching music through singing make sure you visit for our latest opportunities.

I hope you have a lovely week, filled with music and singing.

You’ve been listening to the Doremi Teach podcast with Helen Russell from Doremi Connect. Helping you achieve your music teaching goals with the Kodály approach.