Hi, Jane here from SillyOMusic! Today I want to share a song that I (and pretty much every other Korean person) sang as a child, Santoki. When I was in Preschool, I remember singing it for my parents’ friends and then hiding under the dining room table. My stage fright has improved slightly since then, and this song will always have a special place in my heart!

A Bit of Background Information

  • South Korea is a peninsula bursting with mountains.
  • The proverb, “Beyond the mountain are mountains,” speaks to Korean traits that are common among mountainous people such as self-reliance, sturdiness, and individualism.
  • The proverb is saying that whatever mountain you climb, there will be more challenges ahead.
  • These values can be observed in the lyrics to the popular children’s song, Santoki.
  • Koreans also tend to be provincial and have strong attachments to their local communities, which also makes Koreans very group-centered.

The lyrics below have been transliterated by my mother. It’s not word-for-word, in order to accommodate the rhythm. The simple gestures in Santoki make it fun and appealing to children. I’ve also posted a couple videos that can help clarify the movements and help with pronunciation.

Bad audio, but great gestures.

Cartoon version with great audio for pronunciation.

Create Korean Courtly Dances!

You can also pack a little more Korean culture into this lesson by incorporating elements of traditional Korean court dancing. There are types of traditional dances that are fast-paced but court dances are usually slow. I would show the video below and ask students to pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Dancers walk as if floating (gentle bending of knees)
  • Vertical movements
  • Heels touch the ground first (stylized walking)
  • Emphasis on motion instead of position or posture
  • Wrist flicks propel sleeves of hanbok (clothing) outward
  • Feeling of suspension

Students can get into groups and change the movements of Santoki to include these traits. You will probably have to sing the song at a slower tempo for this to work. They can practice the moves to the music in the YouTube video first.

Close out the Lesson with some Freeze Dance!

I hope your students enjoy learning this song!

You can find my teaching resources at SillyOMusic.

Have a musical day!


Jane from SillyOMusic

I've been teaching since 2009 and now live in North Carolina with my husband and rescue dogs. I currently teach early childhood music, but I've taught elementary and middle school music for most of my career. I love creating resources that are fun for the whole class!