Playin' My Kazoo

by Teresa Jennings

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.

 

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Okay, we admit it. The only reason we write kazoo songs is because they are so doggone fun! We have never known a kid who does not like to play the kazoo. In fact, we have had to plan our recording session time with young kazoo virtuosi more than once due to their exuberance with the instrument.

We have also learned over the years that not everyone automatically knows what to do with a kazoo. Many beginners will blow into a kazoo expecting it to make a sound. To anticipate this type of situation, consider having a brief kazoo seminar. Show them which end to put into their mouths. Show them how to hum without the kazoo and then with it to make it vibrate. Articulate with "doo" or "too" to demonstrate that it doesn't have to be all sliding and glissing. Do all of this before you give them their kazoos. Trust us. Once you put kazoos into their hands, that's that.

"Playin' My Kazoo" gives students the chance to sing and play the kazoo in the same song. It's silly, it's lively and it's a blast to perform! If you listen to the recording, you will hear that the instruments mentioned during the verses are featured briefly. This allows the favorite instrument (the kazoo, of course) to be highlighted more profoundly at the appropriate moments. Let your students hear the performance of our singers/kazooists to get an idea of how it all fits together. (Again, consider doing this before you give them their kazoos if you want their attention.)

For a bit of added humor, you will note on the music that we suggest your students "prepare to play kazoos" a few measures before their entrance each time. They can stand up, adjust their appearance, brush off their clothes, clear their throats, etc., as if they were about to begin playing in a fancy concert hall. The demeanor of seriousness will add to the comic effect, especially if you are using the piece in a performance. In that event, you might even consider letting them wear "tuxedos" or "evening gowns" which would allow them to really emphasize the contrast.

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