American Heart

by Teresa Jennings

Every year we publish a whole school musical revue within the first few issues of Music K-8 Magazine. It's a revue that you can perform with all of your students or just one or more select classes, as you prefer. In this first issue (September/October 2016), you will find the first two songs of this year's revue. The remaining songs, script, teacher's guide, and other extras will be found in the third issue this year (January/February 2017).

This year's revue is distinctly patriotic, which we have done many times before (check out our new Index on, but which you are always telling us you just can't get enough of. Happy to oblige, we are focusing this time on our shared love of country. Especially these days when differences seem to be highlighted all too often, it's good to stop and realize that the things we are all a part of, despite those differences, are what make us such a great nation.

Accordingly, we have provided a wonderful, heartfelt opening song for you to use either with the revue, or outside of it, as you see fit. The theme is as the title suggests, our American hearts. Which is why the rhythm begins with the iconic pulse of a beating heart, joined shortly by the singers who amplify it using the syllables "pum" and "pa." Once the verse begins with an anticipatory tone, the song just builds and builds to a powerful fortissimo statement at the coda. Brass, drums, strings, woodwinds, timpani, chimes, and a full rock rhythm section lift singers and audience alike to full patriotic fervor. Let your students really get immersed and sing out with joy. But don't forget the details, such as the varying rhythms between the short, punchy chorus and the dramatic, connected one later on. This will make for a more musical presentation that your singers can be proud of.

If you can, use the second part to make the piece a little more challenging and exciting. It's optional, and to help you teach it, we have isolated it and put it on our web site for free downloading. (See the box on page 68 for more information.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.