Hanging Out With Friends

by Tom & Lynn Crowell

This effervescent pop tune will engage your students on a couple of levels. First, it's really fun to sing. Second, the topic is just great. Part of being a kid is hanging out with friends who make you laugh, feel happy, and are there for you when you need them. That could be said for people of any age, really. And while you could use this song any time you want to celebrate friendship, it's definitely on point for a Valentine's Day performance, too.

There are options for using this tune, including the use of Boomwhackers® and other percussion. But the main focus is the singing. You probably won't have to work too hard to get some joy out of your kids once they hear the tracks, but there are a few things you might want to note. You will see that there are breath marks in the melody line at the chorus (measure 17 and coda). This is so your singers will take a short pause between words, almost clipping them. Have them listen to the demonstration on the recording to hear how this works. It's actually a pretty cool effect.

During the choruses, there is a recurring high D in the melody. Sometimes it's easy for kids to sing it flat. Make it a teachable moment by discussing how to get it in tune. Talk about the diaphragm, how to make it work, and when to use it. Tightening that muscle gives support to help reach the high note in tune.

The hand clapping on the recording is a combination of real kids and synthetic keyboards. Clapping is optional for your students, but again, it adds to the fun factor.

At the coda, there is a brief part 2, which is also optional. (Given its brevity and simplicity, we did not separate it out as a rehearsal track. We figured it was plenty audible on the recording.)

Now back to those instruments. This song includes parts for our Noodle Kits™ instruments (Rhythm Sticks, Noodle Blocks, and Chime Plates)* and Boomwhackers®. If you have classroom instruments, and you want to use them instead of the Noodle Kit instruments, that works just as well. These instrumental parts are completely optional, as the song stands alone easily with just the vocals and accompaniment track. However, if you do use these, there is a very worthwhile moment at measure 25 where everything gets out of the way to feature the instruments. It's quite satisfying.

There are several extras for this song online that you will want to check out. There are the individual student parts PDFs, of course. But there are two more extras that are real treats! The first is a downloadable video with movement ideas created by our dear friend and choreographer, Melissa Schott. She has also created a PDF of her teaching notes. You may use, adapt, or alter any of her ideas as you wish.

The second treat is a Noodle Toonz™ version of this song. This is a downloadable version of the song that includes full performance and accompaniment only MP4 video files for your students to watch, listen, and play along with. The videos show the scrolling accompaniment score along with three color-coded student parts. (Special thanks to Dan Thieman for help with this project!) All of these extras can be found at our web site.

*Noodle Kits are individual percussion kits made up of the three instruments mentioned above and in this song. They are available at MusicK8.com

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.