Think Good Thoughts
by Teresa Jennings
The finale of a revue that is all about being positive should definitely have a positive vibe, and that's just what this one has. Labeled "Positively pop," it bounces with a dynamic energy from the beginning to the end. Plus, it's another one that could work as a stand-alone outside of the revue if that is helpful to you.
The dialog before this song is unique in the revue. Instead of being the single line narrative it has been all along, it changes over to a poem. It can simply be read or spoken as it is, either with one student per line or stanza or several reciting together or alternating lines and stanzas to spice it up. But to really spice it up, we suggest adding a human percussion groove, or beatbox, behind it. Beatboxing is when the sounds of drums or a drum machine are imitated using the mouth and throat, typically. Most kids we know understand this, so you should be able to pick a small group of kids who can do this or are at least willing to try. Have them start a groove around 80 bpm for a couple of bars before the speakers enter. You can go right from stanza to stanza, or put a small interlude of groove between each one. Be sure to go over the words with the speakers to determine what the rhythms should be beforehand.
The song itself is divided into three basic sections – the verse, the bridge, and the chorus. The verse (starting at measure 9 each time) is punchy and animated with lots of quarter rests to emphasize this quality. Be sure singers enunciate this section, and definitely have them smile! At the bridge (measure 17), the tone changes to a more flowing one. There's a lyrical trumpet solo, some pretty electric guitar fills, and an alto sax doubling the melody over a bed of lush strings. This should inspire a similar smoothness from your singers. The style shifts back to a more punctuated one at the chorus (measure 25), but with a bit of syncopation this time. It's very easy syncopation though, so your singers shouldn't have any trouble with it. In fact, if you add some accents here, it might help them feel the energy. As you can hear on the recording, our singers got into it, singing out with gusto at this point.
Don't get so lost in learning the melody and form of the song that you don't stop to notice the words. Especially the verse and bridge have nice messages worthy of discussing and sharing. You might even want singers to literally open their arms when they sing about, well, opening their arms. Why not? It's a very positive gesture!
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.