Decorate The Tree

by David & Anne Ellsworth

There are so many ways to decorate a holiday tree! This song is written for your younger decorators and suggests some common Christmas fare: ornaments, satin balls, bells, snowmen, etc. As with all of our early-age tunes, the list of items can and should be changed to suit your specific needs/decorations. While you're making decorations, while you're hanging them or just pantomiming the actions, this upbeat song is sure to get your kids in a happy mood.

The tune is accompanied by a lilting clarinet choir throughout, peppered with xylophone, chimes, and a silly sound effect voice adding "hoo!" in a couple of spots. See if your class can hear those spots. Have them raise their hands (or choose your own action) when they hear "hoo!" or a xylophone or chime sound. They happen only so often, so it really is a listening game. Another suggestion with the verse would be to have your class hold up fingers or other objects when the kids on the recording sing "1, 2, 3," or when they sing "Come help me."

You may want to use this as an opportunity for an expanded discussion with your students about clarinets or woodwinds in general. This recording uses Bb soprano clarinets and a bass clarinet. Possible discussion points: Did you know that the bass clarinet is bigger than a clarinet? Did you know it has an upturned bell and a deeper "voice" than a soprano clarinet? (Share pictures if you have them.) Clarinets are woodwind instruments whose sound comes from a single reed (really thin piece of cane). What other instruments have these single reeds? What instruments have double reeds? This is a great opportunity for web searches to find pictures of different members of the clarinet family.

The melody of the verse is syncopated to resemble the "skipping" of young children (which you absolutely could have them do instead of decorating). The chorus is just simple quarter notes which your kids could march to while they sing or decorate.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.