Scat Cat

by Teresa Jennings

This song is available as a single.

As an ongoing extension of our jazz studies, this little tune is a perfect way to introduce your students to scat singing, that is, the singing of nonsense syllables. Ordinarily, scatting is an improvisational tool, but in this case, it is written out to acquaint your students with some possibilities. Once the song has been learned, feel free to let your students add their own scat syllables to the scat sections. They can borrow or adapt the existing scat parts all they want to. As some teachers have suggested in the Network section, let them wear sunglasses while they are doing it, and their shyness will be less of a problem. Or, let them scat in a made-up voice. Emphasize that there are no wrong syllables to use (what's a syllable?), but don't let them venture into the realm of less-than-polite words. (It was tough to not use the word "poop" in the existing scat!)

Again, if you are using the P/A Cassette, there are a few things to listen for. One thing is the orchestration, which is similar to the "cool school" sounds from the 1950's era of beatniks and beat poetry. The "cool school" is another era of jazz, and is typified by the use of swing. (See Music K-8, Vol. 2, No. 4 for more about jazz.) Another thing to listen for is the alto flute at the beginning and during the first scat section. Show your students a picture of an alto flute and discuss its differences and similarities to a C flute. Also have them listen for the vibraphone (also known as "vibes") and the sound of the brushes that the drummer is playing with. Discuss these things, too.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.