Look Up

by Teresa Jennings

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet." - Stephen Hawking

One of the best things about being outdoors is the sky. Ever-changing, it runs the gamut from breathtaking to ordinary, even within the same day. Seeing a beautiful blue sunny sky with puffy white clouds can lift our spirits as readily as a gloomy, overcast gray horizon can dampen them. And then there are the stars. As if the wonder of the moon isn't enough to draw our gaze upward, the stars have the power to mesmerize, inviting our imaginations to take hold with awe and curiosity.

Alas, in a world of technology that includes ever-evolving devices, the simple joy of looking up seems to have gotten lost along the way. Most of the kids we know have their eyes seemingly stuck in a downward position, faces glowing from the artificial light being cast. We do understand the appeal and even the necessity of the use of these devices, but so much is being missed.

This gentle song is a quiet plea for all of us to do one simple thing: Look up. Of course in the context of the revue, it is meaning to do so outside. And while we have waxed poetic about the sky, there is actually a lot more to see "up" there, natural and otherwise. The top of a skyscraper can be as dramatic as the top of a giant redwood. Likewise, a kite floating on a breeze can capture your heart as well as a nest of baby birds on your gutter. All we have to do is look up.

Written to be accessible to most ages, this tune includes a second part which is optional, but which makes it particularly lovely. There is also an optional strumming ukulele part, again, not critical, but pleasant. Plus it gives you a chance to showcase your ukulele students with a simple, satisfying piece that uses only four chords (C, F, Ami, and G). If you do wish to include ukuleles, have them listen to the drum set-up prior to the song so that they know when the first measure begins. A little sign from you in this regard would help as well.

To aid you teaching the parts, we have created rehearsal tracks for parts 1 and 2 and put them on our web site. You will also find a PDF of the isolated ukulele part with chord diagrams there as well.

As beautiful as our accompaniment track is, if you have a talented pianist in your midst, this would be a nice piece to play live. It is not a very difficult part, and it's slow enough to learn easily. You could also alter the tempo this way, if you wish. Another idea would be to feature a vocal soloist or two. They could sing all or part of the song, for example, just performing the first eight bars as a duet.

Again, a projection or slideshow with images of the sky would be very appropriate for a performance. Vary day and night images. Include pictures of other things you might see when looking up, like tree tops or birds or tall structures (monuments, anyone?). If you can pull it off, project them on the ceiling or at least high up in the room so that your audience has to, well, look up!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.