by Mike Wilson
I recently learned of Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, North Carolina (www.shwpark.com). It just so happened that shortly afterward, I had the opportunity to view a Steve Martin movie called The Big Year. I'm just beginning to perceive the scope of bird watching or "birding" that takes place worldwide. And no wonder. Not only is it fascinating, there are so many species of birds that one could spend a lifetime (and a small fortune) trying to see them all. Since most of us do not have a lifetime or small fortune to spend seeing them all, we can, at least, take advantage of the unbelievable resources available to us through our public libraries, bird centers like Sylvan, videos, and of course, the Internet. I recommend searching for "big year" or "birding" just to get your feet wet.
The song "Birds" is a traditional (say, late '70s) electric/acoustic rock style tune to serve as an introduction to the world of birding. It is written with two vocal parts. It's fun to sing antiphonally, but the parts could be combined if you so choose. On the verses, where the variety of bird names are sung, you could have a soloist or small group take one of the parts with the larger group singing the other. Part 1 must be enunciated clearly since some of the bird names will be unfamiliar. Part 2 is one note/one word till the parts converge making it pretty easy.
Put a lot of personality in the vocal approach – even a little goofy if you like. Other than singing the correct notes for the correct lengths, there's not much to finesse. It just needs to be fun. The subject gives a nice nod to the science department, in case you would want to take this cross curricular and involve your science teacher. – MW
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.