by M.C. Handel/arr. Paul Jennings

Rumor has it that the jitterbug (a lively, swinging dance from the 1930s and 40s) is enjoying a comeback with the younger generation (again). Far be it from us to ignore this current trend!

As usual, M.C. Handel has decided to begin the year with a piece that focuses on the notes B, A, and G for beginning recorder players. As written, the tune includes mostly half and whole notes. However, at measure 27, you will see an optional rhythm using a quarter note, eighth rest, eighth note tied to a half note and an optional fall-off. This rhythm is exactly the same one that the winds are playing on the recording, so if you would like your students to attempt it, they have an excellent model.

Paul Jennings' big band arrangement/ orchestration of this tune will have your students tapping their feet along in no time. And don't forget to emphasize that the style is swing, which means the eighth notes are based on a triplet figure. The players on the recording demonstrate this style very well. (Fortunately, since most students are beginners, we do not write difficult continuous swinging eighth note patterns for them at this level. It's just neat to hear it on the instrumental background.)

In the last measure of the piece, there is a fermata over the last note. While the background is holding, your players might wish to improvise a little bit using just the notes B, A, and G. You could let all of them play freely together, or you could have them take turns to reduce the potential "intensity of sound" that might result otherwise. (Admittedly, despite the cacophony of letting all of the players improvise together for the moment, it might help loosen any inhibitions they would otherwise have when asked to make up something they're playing.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.