B A Dancing Zombie
by Paul Jennings
It's always fun dreaming up a new way to grab the interest of young recorder players with songs that just feature BA or BAG. For this one, we think we have caught a familiar flavor students might know, and created a new, tongue-in-cheek song that they will love to play. And they only need to know B and A to join in.
Create your own sound story - The recording begins with a little sound story that precedes the music. You hear wind coming up... a wolf howls, and a zombie walks across the stereo image. A creaky door opens, then slams as the drums take us into the song.
Many composers including Stockhausen, Cage, Penderecki, and Brown used graphic representation of the sounds they wanted. You will note that much of the top line of the recorder part is blank, right up to the point where the music starts. Your students can have a short lesson in this concept by drawing what they hear in the intro. To represent the zombie, for instance, you could have something as simple as a stick figure with its arms out, or a figure like the one you see on this page. We will also put simple drawings of a wolf, footprints (for footsteps), and a door online in case you want to create a drawing digitally. The most creativity will come from the students using their imaginations. (You can access these free pictures, along with a PDF of the piano/recorder score for this song at our web site MusicK8.com See details below.)
New technical challenges - Aside from learning a second note, this song has two challenges. The first is playing staccato. Until this point, most students will not have played with any specific articulation. You can either ignore the staccato marks or you can go into a full-blown discussion of legato versus staccato. Also note that bars 28 and 29 have a syncopation that may throw young players. To make it simpler, you can leave out the second note in bar 28 and the first note in bar 29.
Wooooooo! Zombies! - In the first ending and at the very end there are openings for your kids to imitate zombies. They can do it with just sound, as our kids did, or if you want to get carried away, let them move about as zombies. Just be careful that no one gets hurt or breaks their recorder. Have fun and enjoy the undead!
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.