by John Riggio
This song was a lot of fun to write. In addition to consulting numerous books and doing some web research, I went to the Milwaukee Public Zoo where they actually have a penguin exhibit which included rockhoppers. These little guys are fun to watch, and they really do hop around on the rocks! They're also incredible swimmers. If you have the means (and a local zoo with rockhoppers), it may be worth your while to plan a field trip with your class.
It should come as no surprise, given the topic, that the style of this piece is rock. More specifically, rock with attitude. The unison vocal line is very repetitive and has a limited range, so even if some rhythms are a challenge at first, your students should be able to learn the song without too much trouble. Make note of the breath marks during the verses. They separate the phrases correctly and provide much needed air. This song is also full of vocal scoops to enhance the style. You may want to incorporate these.
The bass line pretty much drives this piece, which brings us to an important point. You simply must use the recording with this song. Piano is fine for rehearsing, but nothing inspires a successful performance like a great set of accompaniment tracks, and the rhythm section on the recording of "Rockhopper" is simply awesome.
We were pleasantly surprised when our singers in the studio decided to add their own choreography to this song while recording it! We managed to capture some with a video camera. We are working on posting the video on our website to share their rockhopper dance with you and your students. Be sure to look for it at MusicK8.com
Special thanks to Reid Morgan for contributing his inventive dance moves. I thank you, and Sammy (our stuffed rockhopper mascot) thanks you! -JR
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.