Under The Tree

by David & Anne Ellsworth

This primary tune celebrates the excitement of gift giving and receiving during the holidays. And it's happening right under the tree! Colorful boxes and interesting shapes whose contents are hidden spark imagination and happy anticipation in children. (Who are we kidding? In anyone!) The lyrics of this song help to teach a couple of simple things. First, that giving can be cheerful. And second, that receiving can be a consequence of being good. Both of these are topics you may wish to dig further into with your students.

A lively mandolin kicks off the song for your youngsters, setting the style and feel-good groove. The melody is also pretty happy and simple enough for little ones to remember. To help them along the way, as you conduct the song, use downward and upward gestures that go along with the downward and upward movement of the melody. Tell them to visualize a tree as the melody goes down and up, outlining the sweeping shape of a tree. What a neat exercise in imagination!

During the bridge at measure 13, a few colorful props such as ribbons, bows, or wrapped packages could be added as objects to move, perhaps swaying gently, or simply to hold. Focus on the colors that are mentioned as they occur by lifting or moving them at the right time. Keep it to super simple stuff little kids can do.

Vocal tip: Before singing the first note of the song (just before measure 5), invite your class to gasp in a little bit of air with an open mouth and hold it. Short and quick gasping works best. They shouldn't need to make any noise, and in fact, that can be a game. "Let's see who can be the quietest...," or the like. This technique may help your singers come in on time and in tune. Try it!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.