“When I’m Gone” Cup Song: 8 music therapy and ed variations for use with preschoolers, kindergarten, and teens and adults.

The Cup Song post
1- intro
2.- cup pattern method
3. words and chords
4. variations with differing populations
-Age: Various ages
-Goal Area: A variety of goals including coordination, sequencing, memory, frustration tolerance,
fine motor skills, creativity, cooperation, leadership, problem solving, lyrics discussion and many more.
-Name of Activity: “When I’m Gone” aka: the Cup Song featured in the move “Pitch Perfect.”  the song was written by A.P. Carter and is most recently sung by Anna kendrick.
-Objective:  Some objectives are written below
-Materials: Cups, music, and participants
– Medody: see this video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26Uftr-jWz4
Lyrics and chords:
How to do the motions: a) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bqjTVGnlBg
The rhythm of the cups sounds like this: ta ta ti ti ti (rest) ta ta ta.
Ta ta ta ta ta ta ta
How to Do the basic pattern:
Start with glass up side down
1. 2 claps (tat a)
2. hit top of cup 3x (ti ti ti)
3. clap once
4. pick up the cup (from the bottom, which is face up)
5. put it back down.
6. clap once
7. pick up the side of the cup – grabbing it (awkwardly) with your hand “upside” down.
8. tap the top of the cup to the inside of the other hand.
9. stand the cup right side up.
10. pick it back up silently with the other hand.
11. put the first hand down on the table.
12. put the cup back into position with your free hand, cross it over your resting hand.


Here is a trickier way b) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5zuY4Nprk0, I don’t do it this way bc I already spent 500 tries learning the first way. My personal goal now is to sing and use the cups together.
I got my ticket for the long way ’round
Am                            C
Two bottle ‘a whiskey for the way
F                          Am
And I sure would like some sweet company
G                                   C
And I’m leaving tomorrow, wha-do-ya say’
CHORUS —————————————–
When I’m gone
When I’m gone
C                             G
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
Am                  G
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
F                  C
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
G                             C
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
Am                            C
The one with the prettiest of views
F                   Am               C
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers, it’s got sights to give you shivers
G                                  C
But it sure would be prettier with you
CHORUS —————————————–
When I’m gone
When I’m gone
C                             G
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
Am                  G
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
F                   C
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
G                             C
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone


Play song with or without the video. Have kids just invent ways to make interesting sounds on their cups. (creativity, problem solving, attention to ask….)

Have sub-groups of children come up and experiment with creating sounds.Have the children come up and take turns leading one method of sound production of their cup. The group imitates. (social skills, cooperation, compliance, leadership, relinquishing roles……)

Invite the group to create their own 2,3,4 etc. step patterns. How many steps can they create, remember and perform? (memory, sequencing, creativity, cooperation…..)

Have the group invent ways to pass the cups among members as part of their routine.  Video of passing cups: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr0FLbg7CRI   You could always just alternate between who plays their cups and who rests for a time. (focus, turn taking, cooperation, dealing with mistakes….)

Have the groups pass their cups to the person on their right or left only when they hear the word “gone.” (attention span, focus…..)

Of course there are some good discussions that can come about as a result of relating the lyrics to the people’s lives. This song could be about the loss of a loved one (or not-so-loved one) , appreciating aspects of  people in your life, and other related topics.  If you think your group could go deep on this song, be sure you feel comfortable processing feelings or have a support person there.  Play out your feelings.  Re-write the lyrics individually or as a group. ( verbal and non-verbal self expression, processing of emotions…….)

Please let me know how YOU use this song and activity with the people in your life.


Submitted by Margie La Bella of Music therapy tunes; music therapy and music education activities for children, adolescents and adults.

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