Big World, Small World

by Teresa Jennings

Every year we publish an entire all-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 2018), you will find the first two songs of this year's revue. More music, script, teacher's guide, and other extras will be found in the third issue this year (January/February 2019).

This year, our revue takes on a world view, so to speak, as it celebrates our diversity as well as our similarities. You could simply perform it for its own merits as a program, and/or you could use it for cross curricular teaching and reinforcement. If you choose the latter, be sure to let your classroom teachers know that you have this relevant resource. The applications can go as deep as you/they want, studying cultures, countries, geography, politics, and so on – contrasting and comparing people and lifestyles. It could even just be a celebration of the human experience.

As always, we encourage you to adapt the revue any way you like, such as modifying the script or adding more music. If you're interested, we have quite a number of previously published songs from Music K-8 you might consider, depending on the angle of your presentation. Check out our web site at for our latest Index for lots of ideas. (Subscribers also automatically receive a free hard copy of our Index with their subscription or renewal. If you have not received yours, give us a call at 1-800-437-0832 to ask for another.)

The opening song, "Big World, Small World," shares its name with the revue to set the tone and intention of what follows. As befits such a substantial topic, the piece itself is quite grand. Right off the top, it features an energy-driven blending of many big drums from around the world (coincidentally echoing the use of the word "many" in the lyrics). Singers are invited to add claps which instantly makes them part of the exciting rhythmic palette. When the drum groove changes during the anthem-like sections, the claps cease accordingly.

When performed in unison, the song is actually quite singable and easy to learn for most classes. To provide an example or to use as reinforcement, we have created a unison version which you will find on your Performance/Accompaniment recording, track 30.

However, we highly recommend trying to perform the song with either two or all three parts as written, if you can. It's very strong and effective, and singers will feel the power as they perform. Generally, we suggest that you ask older students, even parents or other teachers to step in and help do these parts if needed. There is also an optional solo section the first time the gentler motif enters just before bar 18. As you can hear on our recording, we chose to use a very young voice (Brooklyn McDaniel) followed by an older voice (Holly McDaniel, Brooklyn's mom!). You can also split it this way or just use one soloist, a duet, a small group, etc. To help teach part 2 and part 3, we have isolated them and put them on our web site for free downloading. There is also an a cappella version which your students may enjoy listening to, or even trying themselves. It's pretty neat.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.