by Teresa Jennings
Even after (or while) learning the bigger, brain-filling stuff of life, like what career(s) to go for, there are always many, many other things to learn. Fortunately, such things are not limited by age. And in fact, helping to instill a love of learning in students that will last throughout their lives is part of our goal as educators. Part of that effort comes from the encouragement of curiosity – that twinkle of wonder we all have about life, possibilities, and what else there is to know.
The song "Stay Curious" is a reminder to keep the spark of knowledge going. Written as a ballad waltz, it starts gently at mezzo forte, then, as you might expect of a finale, gets really big by the end. Again, the beginning offers you an opportunity to feature a soloist if you wish. (Ours on the recording was young Lucy Wilson.) It's a longer solo, going from bar 9 to 25, so you could also split it into a couple of solos, switching at bar 17. At bar 25, the rest of the group enters and by bar 37, the build begins in earnest. There is a two-measure crescendo into the chorus at bar 41, where the dynamic hits forte. This is also where the optional second part enters. While it isn't needed for the piece to work well, it's a nice addition if you can manage it. If you find you need help in order to include it, consider asking older students to step in and sing or just reinforce it. (You can find an isolated part 2 for rehearsing on our web site.)
You will notice in the middle of the chorus, there is an indication "big breath" and "(nb)". That means try not to breathe into the next part of the chorus – the word, "Open." The big breath should prepare for that nicely.
After the chorus, bring the dynamic back down to mezzo forte. The second part adds a lovely harmony this time, and once again there is the build and lift back into the chorus. But this time, after the chorus, there is no decrescendo (which is marked on the music) into the coda with a dramatic slowdown and crescendo, and by bar 65, it's become a grand goosebump ending. Make sure your volume is cranked way up on the recording so that your singers will be inspired to also crank up their own volume. After all, it's fortissimo at that point. Make it so!
One more suggestion for performance: From bar 65 on, let kids sway side to side, one sway per bar. This will feel natural to do. At the very end, bar 91, they could stop moving and raise their arms as they sing the word, "grow!" Also, tell them to listen for the high trumpets playing the motif in the accompaniment. Nice.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.