I Like To Sing (Scat)

by Teresa & Paul Jennings

Last year we published a big band arrangement of the tune "Jingle Bells" ("Jingle Jive") that combined medium tempo swing, double time swing, and an easily singable vocal line. It turned out to be very popular, so we thought it would be a good idea to offer a similar style in a non-seasonal tune that students could sing year-round. To keep it interesting, and to allow teachers to also involve older students, we decided to make it a partner song that incorporates scat singing. Songs we have previously published using scat (nonsense) syllables have been popular as well. Of course, ordinarily scat singing is improvised, and you can certainly let your students do this. However, just to help them get used to the idea of scatting and using fun and silly words and syllables, we have plugged in our own, um... lyrics.

Part 1 is very simple by design. It can be sung by students of almost any age. Part 2 is more difficult and we recommend using older or more accomplished singers for this part. Fortunately, since it is a partner song, the two versions are clearly sung individually on the Performance/Accompaniment recording before they are combined. Feel free to use these versions as teaching tools. Our singers did a very nice job, especially with the scatting.

As mentioned, you can let your students invent their own scat syllables. They can create them ahead of time, even altering the melody, if they wish. Or let them actually improvise. Taking turns might be fun and less cacophonous. This would be great for students working with jazz and improvisation, even on instruments. You don't even have to use the partner song format or any of the melodies or lyrics. Just play the instrumental tracks and let them go!

One cute note: At the end of the song, you will notice that the easy part scats and the scat part sings an easy note. Use it as is, or switch it.

The real beauty of this song, as with all of our big band productions, is the instrumental arrangement and recording. Paul has outdone himself again with this chart, and we are thrilled. Truly the best way to use the song is with the recording. We used drums, acoustic bass, piano, arch top guitar, four trumpets, four trombones, two horns, and four saxes to get that lovely, rich jazz ensemble blend.

The first time through the tune (after the intro), Paul treated us to a wee bit of Basie-like piano improvisation. (Basie was famous for his simple, single line solos.) See if your students can pick out the lines he played.

As you've probably figured out, "I Like To Sing (Scat)" would be a great addition to your Music In Our Schools Month repertoire. If you choose to use the song in performance (for this or any occasion), the introduction and interludes could be used to have performers switch positions in preparation for the partnering. This might even be cute if performed in a show choir style - with movement (simple!) and costumes. Period jazz costumes (1930s and '40s) could add a lot, too.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.