Santa's Back In Town

by Teresa & Paul Jennings

In our minds, we are watching an old classic movie. Curtains open onto a stage, and there we see Count Basie and his big band. Up to the mic strolls one of the biggest crooner stars of the day, Frank Sinatra. Swing style is the most common sound of the day, relaxed and natural. The audience in the theater is sprinkled with U. S. soldiers and sailors with their families, many ready to sail off to take their place in WWII. This is the musical painting we give you to inspire your learning for our new Christmas original, "Santa's Back In Town."

Recorders - For this song you will find three parts, two sopranos and an alto. The soprano 1 part is the most difficult, calling for low D, E, G, A, B, C, high D. The soprano 2 part is easier rhythmically and calls for just G, A, and B. The alto part is fairly easy, appropriate to a beginning player. It uses G, C, D', E', and G'. This piece can be played by any single or combination of parts. If only one part is played, the soprano 1 part is ideal, but the others work, too.

There is a periodic break in the playing where kids get to shout out, "Santa's back in town!" They are given a bar of rest each time afterwards to reset their mouths on the recorder carefully. At the end, they whisper excitedly, "Santa's back!"

Swing - We understand that for many classes this is an early piece for learning about swing and how to play in the swing style. The first, and most important thing to do is to listen. After you listen to this song, track and full, listen to relaxed swing bands like Basie from the '40s to the '60s, avoiding times when they chose to play the rock hits of the day. (There is actually at least one album out there, available on CD and digital download, featuring Basie and Sinatra, a real treat!)

Now begin feeling the swing beat. Start tapping with the left hand playing quarter notes on the beat while the right hand plays three notes per beat. After it gets comfortable playing this, on beats 2 and 4, remove the middle of the three notes so it is: 123|1_3|123|1_3| After this is comfortable, switch to 1__|1_3|1__|1_3| Once this feels relaxed, you're ready to swing. Try this with a few different tempos as well as the tracks for this tune. The more you play it, the more natural it will feel.

The piano/recorder score is available for download at our web site.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.