If It Walks Like A Duck

by Teresa Jennings

It seems that ducks are all the rage these days, whether they're advertising for insurance companies or commanding dynasties. And indeed, they seem to always be in our popular culture in one way or another through cartoons, movies, music, etc. Even the common rubber ducky was immortalized in song! So, lest we miss out on the quack wagon, we thought we would offer our own bit of silliness to the mix.

Most of us have heard the general expression, "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." Seems logical in its premise, but this didn't fit well with our boogie woogie rhythm, so we watered it down a bit. Nothing was lost in the translation, we assure you.

Our kids had a blast with this one, as you can probably hear on the recording. They got to sing, yell, use character voices, and quack. Does it get any better? You'll want to be sure you have looked over the piano/vocal and listened through the recording yourself to plan how you will approach this one before introducing it to your students. There are a number of options, and as always, you can vary them freely. What we published here represents what we decided to do with it. How Elvis got in there is anyone's guess, but when presented with the option for a "voice" in measures 15-16 and 31-32, out popped the Elvis impersonators. It was so funny, we kept it. (This also inspired our artist, Stephanie Rodriguez, for the cover of this issue, in case you were wondering where that came from!)

At measure 21, there is a trombone solo (played for us by Loy Hetrick) during which two teams of ducks get to do a call and response of sorts. We suggest that you have them make it a "conversation" by varying the pitches of their quacks, as if really saying something. They can be demonstrative, questioning, passionate, funny, etc. You could even conduct their pitches up to down, down to up, and so on, which would in essence force them to watch and pay attention to you. An added learning bonus!

This is one of those songs that has no other purpose than the pure joy of singing it. It's lighthearted and humorous and kids get to really belt when they perform it. Plus, the boogie rhythm is a natural for twisting, wiggling, rocking – whatever feels right! If you use this in performance, duck costumes are optional, but wouldn't that be a hoot? Even just one brave soul walking and quacking to the beat would be enough. You could also encourage your audience to join in with the response, "What?" each time it occurs. Wouldn't that be ducky?

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.