Journey To Greatness

by John Riggio

It's another Olympic year! This year we celebrate the summer games in Rio, and if you're like us, you're stoked whenever the games roll around. And no, we still aren't allowed to say "Olympics" in a song. But we work around it, as you can hear. Plus, it's more usable for you in other ways besides the Olympics if it's not that specific. Motivating, energizing, exciting – it can help get your own teams and individuals pumped up.

"Journey To Greatness" looks at competitions differently from previous Olympic tunes we've done. This time, it's written from the perspective of the athlete, the person actually going to compete on the world stage. We experience these games vicariously through the eyes and ears of the athlete (and fortunately not the aching muscles!), and what they might be like: The triumphs and tragedies, the pride of standing atop the podium while the national anthem of your country sings out, the knowing that millions of viewers from all over the globe are watching. And it's more than that. It's the journey that brought you here. The training, the dreaming, the effort of getting stronger and faster until you're finally ready to be on this vast stage of talent. It's heady stuff!

Of course, all this heady stuff in a song would be useless without great musicians to play it. Take a few minutes to listen to our fantastic rhythm section, and in particular, drummer Dane Clark. G'head, we'll wait. Pretty awesome, huh?

The song starts out with a halftime groove, and goes into a four-on-the floor build at bar 33, then back to halftime for the chorus at 47. At the end we reach a full heartpounding time feel. John built a few great hooks into the song, including the aforementioned build from 33 to 47, and the tritones (augmented 4ths) in bars 53 and 54, which are doubled as eighth notes on electric guitar. (Somewhere, John's eighteenth century counterpoint teacher is reaching for an oxygen mask.) But it sounds cool, right? The vocal line has a goodly amount of syncopation, but it feels right with the song, and we've made sure there's always some kind of guide for vocalists to lean on.

So tune in with us this summer. Be thrilled by the opening and closing ceremonies. Be exhilarated with the performances of some of the most amazing athletes anywhere. For them, the journey to greatness has begun.

(Note: We've done many songs for the Olympics. Please check out our Index either online at or in the printed copy you should have received when you got your first issue this year. Contact us if you need another copy.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.