by Teresa Jennings/John Riggio
"Test Me" is a song with attitude. It is a song about confidence. The message is to encourage students to be ready for tests, pop quizzes, final exams, and so on, through study, focus, and taking care of themselves. It is written with older students in mind, though the melody is easy to sing. We're hoping even those elusive older boys will feel comfortable joining in. (The range is singable for them, often hitting the B below middle C. So they have no excuses!) Have fun singing it, and make sure your singers have plenty of attitude and sing out with confidence as they do.
If the singability isn't enough, did we mention that the accompaniment tracks are SMOKIN'!? Power hip hop is an appropriate style for this piece, as power chord electric guitars, bass, and drums drive it. We started with a drum loop and added real players to it. At measure 24, we added pizzicato strings and a tom groove to further fill out the sound, then arco strings joined in at the turnaround at measure 32. We also added a soaring double-stop guitar bend in that turnaround, which is way cool. At measure 6 on the D.S., we added a rock organ, then the arco strings returned at measure 32 and played to the end of the piece. We used auxiliary percussion intermittently throughout - tambourine, shaker, and cowbell. Percussion is something your students could add as well - similar or different instruments - but be sure to explain the hip hop triplet feel if they attempt it. Straight eighth notes won't do. Once they hear it, we're sure they'll understand the groove.
The P/A CD is almost always the best way to perform our music, but should you attempt to play this yourself, please note that the chords at measure 6 through 23 (and the coda through 47) are to be played short and separated. We could've changed the note durations to indicate that, but the written part is easier to read without inserting a bunch of rests. Listen to the recording for style.
This song lends itself to any academic subject, so if your school has exams coming up, this works. You could even use it as a plug for literacy, or at a math or science fair, spelling bee, natural history day, or music emphasis day, for that matter. It works for any occasion where a student's knowledge is being tested.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.