Listen To The Earth

by Teresa Jennings

This year, Earth Day falls on Tuesday, April 22. We are pleased that it is a weekday in which most children will be in school and able to celebrate this very important occasion with their peers.

Since the beginning of our little company, we have endeavored to keep environmental issues in the spotlight, especially in our March/April issue. While we agree that every day should be treated like Earth Day (sounds a little like a song title, doesn't it?), we think it is particularly important to include musical reinforcement for the actual day itself.

This year's environmental focus takes the form of an easy-going rock tune with a hint of folk and country elements. It is unison, so it should be fairly easy to teach. If you find the syncopations a bit challenging for your students, consider incorporating a warm up using those rhythms before learning them in the context of the song.

If you have the P/A recording, let your students listen to the full performance version so they can hear the interpretation of style by our recording session vocalists. This, too, will help them learn the syncopations and other rhythms as well.

You may be able to discern a bit of vocal scooping into some notes (which is not deliberately indicated on the music this time) by our singers. This embellishment occurs naturally in this song, and you should feel comfortable encouraging your students to imitate it. Many folk and country singers use similar embellishments when performing. Of course, since you are using a group (unless you choose to make this song a solo), you will need to practice which notes are affected and which are not. If you would rather perform the song in a more "pure" style, that is also perfectly acceptable.

Again, we are taking the opportunity to demonstrate the oboe, but this time, we are including the English horn as well. The song begins with a beautiful English horn solo, which returns at the interlude between verses and at the end. A lovely countermelody can also be heard by the English horn on the D.S. at measure 9. There are two oboe lines, not just one, which complement the English horn throughout the piece. They are frequently written in octaves, so you might want to see if your students can pick out the higher octave and the lower one when listening to the recording. The parts for English horn and oboes is included with the piano/vocal so that you and your students can follow along as a listening/reading exercise. Or, if you have your own soloists, you could perform the lines with any C instrument with similar ranges. (Other instruments could play as well, but they would have to transpose.) Check the ranges of each of the three lines to be sure they are playable by your chosen soloists. (Even in our case, the English horn had to transpose, as the piano/vocal score is written in concert pitch.) The piano part is quite playable as an accompaniment to the solos, so it should present no problem to learn.

On the recordings, our English hornist/oboist is Roger Roe, who plays with the Indianapolis Symphony. We will talk more about Roger and his amazing talents in conjunction with the oboe listening lesson later in this issue (see pages 60-61).

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.