Don't Ever Give Up
by Teresa Jennings
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.
This gospel style song uses a triplet-based eighth note - swing - and it is performed in an almost rollicking 3/4. (The notation at the top of the music with the "two eighth notes and dotted eighth, sixteenth figure equals the triplet figure" is what indicates swing. Be sure to point this out to your students. Consider doing a few eighth note triplet exercises to get them thinking and swinging. Relate the style to other songs with similar styles.)
This fourth song of the revue is published in this issue on pages 14 - 18. It is a continuation of the theme of Possibilities set forth in the first two issues of the year, as we have mentioned before.
The message seems pretty clear to us: don't give up on yourself. But since we know that everything is open to interpretation, you might find this a good subject for discussion. When is it okay to give up? When is it necessary to give up? What types of things are not healthy to keep trying to do? For example, if a student has feelings for another student who does not return them, should the first student not give up on those feelings? On the other hand, if a student develops a handicap which makes attaining life dreams more difficult, should they give up on those dreams? Or even more basically, if the paths chosen simply fail to lead easily to what was once a dream, does that mean the dream is impossible? Should a person give up then? These are pretty serious questions. If you'd feel more comfortable inviting the classroom teacher in to join the discussion, do so. Of course, you don't have to make it so in depth. You may prefer to let your students glean their own opinions from the song and the lyrics and go from there. There are many honorable goals in life to be achieved through persistence, discipline and dedication. These are certainly obvious inferences from the song.
You will note that this song is mostly unison. As always, the second part which appears later on is optional. If you don't use it, the song will work just fine. Part one at measure 41, which is the non-optional part, is not the melody, however. On the P/A recording, the melody is played by the strings. If you're not using the recording, it's still all right. The melody is implied in the chords and it will work.
If you do wish to use part two at measure 41, teach your singers to stagger their breathing. The melody has changed from the punchy, short line it was before to an elongated line. For instance, instead of a quarter note on beat 1, there is a dotted half note. The idea is to continue the sound without hearing any breathing till the end of the phrase. The singers on the recording provide a good example.
Speaking of the recording, make sure you point out the lovely trumpet solo at the beginning and end of the piece. Ask your students if they can identify the style he is playing (legato).