by Teresa Jennings

This song is the third song of the musical revue From The Inside Out. It focuses on some very specific issues regarding character in a style that your students will identify with and appreciate. The contemporary percussive rock beat is contagious in its repetition of the three beats that punctuate the beginning of most measures. While it has a sixteenth note underlayment laced with intricate rhythms weaving in and out of the ensemble sound, the pulse is undeniable. Your students will feel right at home right away.

In case you've never heard it yourself, the word responsible is based on two words, "response" and "able." This is the basis for the song. We are all able to respond. That is, we are able to choose our responses to any and every situation life puts before us. Our response and reaction to those situations is what defines our character. Happily, this is something we can control, so if we are not pleased with our own responses, we can change them. We can learn.

The chorus of the song is where the message can really be driven home. Since we do have the power to choose our responses, we can make them wise choices. The qualities listed are good and desirable. Singing them in a song like this will help to reinforce the value of these qualities. Students will have a much better chance of really hearing and understanding the importance for a long time.

If you prefer to list other characteristics or just change a few, you may certainly do so. These are the ones we consider vital in this context. What a perfect opportunity for you to bring your music class across the curriculum. Let your classroom teachers know that you have an "in" with these serious topics and invite them to share class time discussing them. Literally take each word and make it a subject for analysis, teaching, example, discussion, and so on. What is integrity? What is character? Why should we have kindness? Open up the floor and let your students really participate in their own emotional growth and development in this manner. You might be surprised at how deeply this could affect some students in positive ways.

You will note that the song reiterates the concept of "respect" in the chorus a number of times. There's a reason for this. To our way of thinking, this is the most critical manifestation of good character. To say we have honesty, compassion, etc., is one thing. But to live it, we must truly be respectful. Respect is the gauge for responsible behavior. (If you don't agree, you can change the lyrics accordingly.)

You will notice that the song has an optional background vocal part. This is a three-part line which is indicated on the piano/vocal score for your convenience. (It is also extracted separately on the Student Reproducible Parts which accompany this issue. These parts are available separately.) We have included these background vocals for a couple of reasons. One, we think it adds a lot to the song. There's a certain power to all that vocal intensity. You can hear it on the recording. Two, we wanted to give you a part for your older students as well as your younger ones. That's why this is optional. If you don't have older students who are capable of singing the background vocals, that's okay. The song will absolutely work as a unison piece. However, many of you tell us that you have 7th and 8th grade choirs that would love to be featured in a manner such as this. So we are giving you that flexibility with this song. On the Performance/Accompaniment CD or Cassette, you will find a third version of the song which includes the instrumental accompaniment and the background vocals only. This is for teaching, rehearsing, or using as reinforcement in performance.

If you would like to add choreography to this song, we think it would benefit from some of the contemporary-type moves you see pop groups doing these days. Groups with multiple singers (3 - 5) are classic examples. Just watch any of the top videos for ideas of style. Better yet, ask your students. Odds are they are quite familiar with the kinds of actions such a song would inspire. Pick your own featured singers and/or background singers and plug in the moves. Put them out front and let the rest of the crew jive along behind them. They will enjoy this. (Even if they're too cool to say so.) Bring in a camera and make it a video for posterity.

And remember, though the song was written for the revue, you can use it in any way you like.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.