Hip Hop Reindeer

by Teresa Jennings

Bet you didn't know that reindeer love hip hop, did you? See? Aren't you glad we're here to tell you these things? They especially love it when there's a wailing alto sax solo over a funky horn band. Got that covered, too.

Now that you're in with the hip crowd, you can impress your own young reindeer lovers by sharing this tune with them. If history is any indication, you won't have to work too hard to get them to really enjoy it.

The spoken (aka "rapped") part of the tune is rhythmically very simple, so even your youngest performers can join in with the cool gang. When it's time to sing, again, the rhythms are simple, but so are the lyrics and melody. We want everyone at every age to be able to groove along with these reindeer-in-the-know.

Toward that end, we have some movement suggestions you might want to add. First, there is the clapping, which is indicated on the music. Do it as it is, or adapt it as you need to, especially if you have other movement you don't want to upstage. Then, we think it would be a good idea to have most of your singers do some basic moves while you let a few star "reindeer" take center stage. If you have eight of them, great. If not, use what you have. (Maybe change the words: "One tiny reindeer." "Four tiny reindeer." "Twelve tiny reindeer." Or whatever.) Ideally, they would ad lib their moves or you (or they) could actually choreograph some steps together. Remember, they don't have to be constantly moving. You could only let them dance during the choruses (at measure 19 and coda). Costumes would be appropriate as well, though just a pair of costume antlers would do the trick. (Visit MusicK8.com)

For your background action, you could again just let kids move freely, asking them to keep it easy (save the energetic versions for solo dancers). But if you want to have them just do a simple step, try this:

Stand with feet apart, shoulders down. On beat one, move hips to the left, slightly bending right knee. On beat two, move hips to the right, slightly bending left knee. Remember it's in cut-time, so there are only two beats in a measure, or two moves. Add the claps, if you like.

For the chorus, if you don't have solo dancers, use action with the whole group:

"Eight tiny reindeer." - Hold up eight fingers.

"Hey, that's a lot of feet!" - Point to feet.

"They love their hip hop beat!" (or "groove") - Put both hands on heart.

"You have to see them move!" - Make "glasses" with fingers around eyes.

One other thing. If you have time to listen to the tracks, please do. As always, our resident jazzer (Paul) has outdone himself. In particular, the cool tight voicing of the winds during the choruses is worth hearing. Or as the hip hop voice on the recording says, "Yeah!"

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.