It's The Great Outdoors To Me

by Teresa Jennings

One of the subtle ongoing messages in this revue is that the great outdoors is made great by our own perception of it. Which means that it can be anywhere, not just a grand or majestic space. Or as this finale says, "As long as it's outdoors, got no ceilings or floors, it's the great outdoors to me!" The lyrics in the verse also demonstrate the notion with a mention of various outdoor scenarios that are a mixture of big and small, magnificent and simple. It's the being outdoors that makes it great. Stepping out into your own backyard or even just the front porch can totally change your perspective, especially if you put your attention on the natural world around you. Breathe in the air, stretch out your arms, open your heart, and feel the connection. It can do wonders if you let it.

This last song is positive, upbeat, and downright lively. It's unison, so it's easy to learn and sing. It's also easy to add the (optional) claps, which bring even more energy to the performance. Be sure singers really belt out the chorus each time ("Wide open spaces...") for the best effect. If they're feeling inspired to add a little whoopin' and hollerin', we don't discourage it. The country pop style is definitely celebration-worthy! (Hmmm. Maybe a square dance with contemporary moves thrown in?)

Once again, the opportunity to showcase the tune with visual enhancements presents itself. In this case, a collection of photos from your own kids doing stuff outdoors might be just the ticket. Consider projecting pictures from students' own experiences: family vacations (hiking, skiing, sightseeing, kayaking, whatever), playing ball games, running with pets, lying on a beach, making snow angels, sitting by a fire pit, riding bicycles, etc. Any outdoor image or activity showing the greatness and joy of engaging with the outdoor world is a good candidate. (Be sure you have permission from parents and adhere to your school's policy accordingly.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.