Plant A Tree
by Teresa & Paul Jennings
This lively Latin jazz piece can be used for a number of occasions - Earth Day, Arbor Day, spring, whatever you like. And because it's got a few sections dedicated to movement, you could use it just to sing and move.
The song is a bright samba in cut-time. As you might imagine, on the recording, we have arranged it for our "fourth issue big band." We think it's really a cool chart and we hope that you'll at least listen to it whether you use the recording or not. If you can play the piano part, you will note that what you are reading is mostly a condensed wind score. However, if you are comfortable with this style of music and can sort of let yourself go, you can adapt the piano part any way you like. In fact, if you have other rhythm sections players at your disposal (guitar, bass, drums, percussion), you could have a downright good time playing this.
The lyrics are incredibly easy to learn, as there just isn't much to them. The catch comes from the anticipated consonant sound of the lyrics at measure 9 each time. We found that most singers learned this quickly and enjoyed singing it. The occasional slipping up and mis-stating which consonant was next turned out to be humorous and energizing for the song and we didn't discourage it. Our inspiration, as you might suspect, was from an old song, "K-K-K-Katy," which we know is still a favorite of children everywhere. (As a bonus, we found that the practice of the consonant sounds reinforced facial muscle development in our youngest singers and also helped to educate all of our singers as to what consonants are! Be sure to mention that to the regular classroom teachers when you're working on this song.)
At measure 18, you will note that part 2 enters for the first time. This part is optional, though it is simple and logical and our guess is that your students will want to attempt it. Again, if you have older singers who are anxious to demonstrate their abilities to sing high E's, here's your chance to let them.
As we mentioned, the song is terrific for movement. We have suggested some easy-to-perform movement during the introduction and again at measure 27, which is indicated on the music. The D.C. also includes the chance for movement, which may or may not be the same as it was during the introduction. The coda also allows one more opportunity to move. (Remember, "patsch" means to pat the upper thighs.)
You may use our suggestions as they are, or adapt them in any way you like. If you find them too difficult, simplify them. If they are not challenging enough, add to them. If they don't go on long enough, extend them. Whatever works.
Consider approaching it like a kind of line dance. Line your students up in a similar manner and let them move together or in complimentary ways. Let some students sing while others move. However they do it, just get them up and feeling the rhythm, and let them have fun with it.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.