Going To Neptune

by John Riggio/Teresa Jennings

Put on your helmets, space cadets! In this lively song, John and Teresa have once again teamed up to bring you the very best in space-age fun. "Going To Neptune" moves along at warp speed (quarter note equals 164!), making it a good choice for movement. There is some syncopation on the verses, but they are highly repetitive, so your students should catch on quickly. The divisi section at the coda is optional. And did we mention how great the rhythm section on the recording sounds? How about all those cool spacey synths and sound effects? You'll definitely want to use the recording for this one!

The song makes mention of most of the planets between Earth and Neptune in their order in the solar system, as well as Earth's moon. (It does not include Uranus, which we left out on purpose due to potential pronunciation problems. Don't you wish they'd change the name?)

One performance idea might be to create a backdrop with a mural of our solar system. A large drop cloth or even a king-size bedsheet could work for this. Different colored paints, paper, or fabric could be used to create the planets and their orbital lines around the sun. Make sure to label the planets so your students know which is which. As different planets are mentioned, have a student point to each planet. A toy spaceship could be used as a prop, and a student could "fly" the ship from Earth to Neptune. As we mentioned, there are lots of space whooshes and synthy effects to help simulate your journey to the eighth planet.

Did you know that since its discovery in 1846, Neptune has yet to orbit the Sun once? That's because its orbital period is about 165 years. That means there are approximately 60,190 Earth days in a Neptunian year! In 1989, Voyager 2 flew by Neptune and its moons. Photographs of the planet showed it to be a deep, crisp blue. Images also confirmed the existence of a faint ring system.

To help you bring this subject across the curriculum, we have included a sidebar of facts about Neptune (according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Be sure to let the classroom teacher know you have this wonderful song at the ready for space exploration in your school! For further research, reference NASA's web site, indicated on the sidebar.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.