The Town Musicians of Bremen!

Ever since the huge success of the Gingerbread Man songΒ we’ve been trying to find another simple, traditional story to Genki up and Β let you combine lots of themes together.

Ninja Tip: Β These work *wonders* for parent’s day presentations!

Margit came up with this amazing one based on the Grimm Brother’s story … The Bremen Town Musicians!

Now to be honest I’d never heard of this! Β (Question about that below!)

But it has turned out to be a fantastic lesson to combine

I’ve put a funky chorus to it and it’s turning into a very cool little lesson.

You can find it on the new Vol. 14 and in the Teacher’s Set.

Here are the A4 Flashcards:


And Minicards:


And the Evaluation Worksheet:

And from Margit, this is how you teach it …..

Now, THIS was amazing. A GREAT lesson.

I showed them the first picture and told them to ask this character as many questions as they could think of.

So they asked:

“What’s your name?” (I said “Mr donkey” and they had some time needed to figure out the animal. Did you know Japanese kids don’t really know donkeys?)

“Are you okay?” (they figured the leg right away of course.)

“What’s wrong?” where I said “My leg hurts”:

“Left or right?”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to Bremen.”

Here one boy said “WHERE is Bremen?” (Wow! These kids have only just turned into 3rd grade.)

Not all could pick up on this so I asked “What stories do you know with donkeys?”

They said “Toy story, Pinocchio” and then one kid said “oh there is something with a cat and (another kid then: )a dog! oh! and a rooster, too. ah and burglars!

So, set!

Now, I sang the refrain of the song, said “Ouch” and slowly showed the second card, while saying “Woof Woof.”

Then I had the donkey ask Β “What’s wrong?”

And from here they just asked and answered and did the whole conversation in just 2 minutes on their own.

The conversation with the cat and the rooster went even faster.

AMAZING, and they were so excited.

So, I even was able to tell them about the pirates and the king’s treasure. Β (This is the next part! – Richard)

Now, their comments were: Β They found it a bit weird that the donkey looks so happy, though he had hurt his leg, but they answered the question themselves.

When I said “Yeah, why do you think he looks like this?”

“Oh, he is happy because now he doesn’t have to work anymore, and he got a great idea what to do instead.”

You know the exciting thing is that I really didn’t have to teach anything but the words donkey and rooster.

Sounds pretty cool, eh?

So let’s give it a try in your lessons and let us know what you think in the comments!


Be genki,



Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

13 Responses to “The Town Musicians of Bremen!”

  1. gumby

    Wow! this is fantastic and the best ever ending for the curriculum I wrote for our town! I had never heard this until I came to Japan. I still wasn’t familiar with the storyline. I definitely say to leave in Bremen. that is like replacing sugar cookies for Gingerbread man. if the teacher wants they can easily replace it for a local places. I can’t wait for the animation and then I will take it to the administrators including the superintendent of education.

    btw I just found out that the principal association agreed to buy the USB for the schools, even though they already have the cds. It is still early, but I haven’t been this optimistic since I started to try and convince my town to use GE!

    anyway thanks again Richard!!!!!

  2. Jasmina

    What a great idea!! I like it very much. I think it’s better to live in Bremen.
    Your animation is so cute, we love it…

    Thank you!!!!!

  3. Susan K

    I just looooove the pictures! Great idea making activities using traditional stories. This play has been shown in the children’s theatre lots of times in Turkey so I think it will be familiar to lots of children here, but I like the idea of using a local town name – I’m sure that would go down very well.

  4. Richard

    Thanks everyone!

    @Gumby: Wow, very cool! Actually if they already have the CDs and they order the USBs, that’s almost as much as the site licenses. We might be able to work something out if they were interested!

  5. Martin

    Pirates and Golden Cutlery??? Sounds interesting…hmm, I’ve never heard this story (never heard the Gingerbread Man story either…maybe I did…I don’t know…) Anyways, leaving generic might be the best way to go…I’m going to town…

    Margit, reading about your class was so inspiring and also made me step back and realize that you were talking about “older” students (my oldest students NOW are only 1st – 3rd graders). I think my favorite class at my old school (made up of 2nd – 3rd graders) could have done the whole question thing. Also, YOU are using Genki, so the kids do learn that “Are you okay?” question and “left and right”…I’m sort of limited by the curriculum I must teach. Sigh.

    How amazing would it be to BLOW the parents’ minds at the school with a play like this.

  6. Margit

    @ Martin;
    yeah~it is the worst thing for teacher to HAVE to do it this way or that.
    Hopefully you’ll find a way to incorporate all this~OR, try to open your own school~just best!

    I also think, 2nd, 3rd graders are wonderful!

    When talking of “older” students I guess I meant 5fth and 6th grade.
    With those I am through the GE curriculum and it is a pretty different kind of lesson, focussing on projects and role-plays, that include reading and a bit of writing as well.
    All those GE activities and games I use basically only for warm up with these kids.

    Well, maybe you can use these great images and some of the language and adjust somehow to your curriculum.

  7. Richard

    I’ll just send you an email Margit!

  8. Carolyn

    This is amazing! I grew up with both Grimm’s and Andersen’s fairytales in the US, and this one is very well known. I’m in Germany right now and as this story is a national icon here, it would be strange to leave out the town of Bremen.

    Thanks for all of your hard work Richard!

    P.S. Would love to see “The Princess and the Pea” with peas, beds, and sleeping πŸ˜‰

  9. Niamh Moriarty

    Hi Richard,
    Love the new song. Pictures are great too. I’m all for leaving Bremen in the song. I’m based in Germany but had never heard of this fairytale before I arrived here. The kids will love it.
    Have you thought of maybe doing a whole CD of revamped classical fairytales? Jack and the beanstalk, the princess and the frog, the three muskateers, the shoemaker and the elves, Rumpelstiltzkin, Goldilocks and the three bears, Puss in Boots, three little pigs – the possibilities are endless… you could also include a few less well know ones from different countries – a chinese fairytale, an Irish one etc.

  10. Susan K

    Yes I think that would be good, Niamh, and Turkish folktales like Nasreddin Hoca, maybe! πŸ™‚

  11. Martin

    I just got around to listening to this whole song today on my new speakers in the classroom and it sounds great. I noticed the use of English that they have learned before “Doctor, Doctor” “Where are you going?” “What do you want to do?” I’ll have to add in the “Where are you going?” lesson before the end if I want to try this for parent’s day. Hopefully the song with be finished by then! I’m giddy with anticipation for these new songs.

  12. Hannah

    When I was in French class in primary school, we did this play. Another one we did was “The Big Carrot”. I think in the original version of the tale it is actually a turnip, but carrot seams the more useful word to learn. It is also great for repeading family members, as sisters, brothers, mother, father, granmother, … help trying to pull out the big, big carrot.

  13. Elen Shvets

    Dear Richard,
    I want to add, that it is a very famous and well-known fairy tale in Russia, by the way we have a totally awesome cartoon based on this story with outstanding songs in it. So, I also vote for Bremen! And I will never be exhausted to thank you for your beautiful creative being!

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