Let's Make Some Music Today!

by Teresa & Paul Jennings

Time to focus on our favorite topic - music! This uptempo swing tune can be used in a variety of ways. It can help you identify and reinforce certain instruments through active participation. It can introduce or further enhance your jazz studies. It can offer an example of a big band (jazz ensemble). It can teach or remind students how to swing (using an eighth note based triplet pattern). It can be a performance piece with movement. And of course, if can be used to celebrate Music In Our Schools Month (March). However you use it, you will find this tune easy to learn, easy to sing, and lots of fun to perform.

The instrumental arrangement on the Performance/Accompaniment CD features a big band that includes acoustic piano, drums, arch top guitar, acoustic bass, 5 saxes (2 altos, 2 tenors, 1 bari), 4 trumpets, 2 horns, 4 trombones, and congas. The song names several of these instruments and allows the students to imitate them through call and response. The first time through at the verse, singers do the call and the instruments respond. The second time on the verse (on the D.S.), the instruments call and the singers respond, imitating the instruments stylistically. The recording offers an excellent example of how this works, so be sure to let students hear it.

After the reversal of the call and response, the tune goes through the bridge and off to the coda where it goes up a half step. Now things are really getting exciting! The phrase is altered slightly by the extension of the last note/word in each. The answers that the instruments give are also different and more energetic. The indication on the music at measure 48, is "driving," which is exactly what it is! To add a little emphasis to the beat at this point, let some or all students add snaps or claps on beats 2 and 4 of each measure. If you are using movement, you can divide which students do the actions and which snap or clap.

Speaking of movement, you will notice that there are modest ideas indicated right on the music. These are merely suggestions. You can adapt or expand on these as you like. Logically, as an instrument or group is named, let singers cup their hands to their ears to listen for the response. Have them alternate which ears they use for every other phrase. If you are using the piece in performance, have some students pretend to play the instruments in question. They could just play "air instruments," pretending to hold and play whatever is being mentioned. Or they could use instrument props (real or otherwise).

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.