What Do You Do With A Water Waster?

adapted/arr. Teresa & Paul Jennings

"Boisterous" is a great word to describe the style of this adaptation of the old sea chantey "Drunken Sailor." Happily, our version avoids some of the, um, less politically correct lyrics of the original version. That, and it gives you another excuse to sing out about environmental causes. Specifically, we bring up water conservation, garbage control, and global warming. These are all excellent topics for further discussion. So as always, we suggest you let the classroom teachers know you have yet another piece of music to tie into subjects across the curriculum.

Given the current concerns and focus on environmental issues, this tune should be well-received - especially since it is a familiar old song whose melody kids can learn quickly. If you wish to spice it up as we did, you can make it a little more challenging for older students as well by adding one or both of the optional second and third parts. They are simple, but effective, and only occur during the choruses. To help you teach these parts, we have isolated them and put them on our web site as free, downloadable MP3s. You will also find a version of the two of them combined. (See note following.)

An easy way to add to the excitement of this tune is to use the claps we have indicated on the music. We're guessing this will get singers bobbing or lilting to the music, maybe even unconsciously. It's just that kind of tune. You could also further enhance it by adding your own unpitched percussion, such as tambourines and hand drums. Or even add Boomwhackers® or keyboard instruments which could do a "drone" with the open chords similarly to the accordion and strings.

To really get into the spirit of things, let your students make up their own lyrics. For example, "What do you do with a": power piggie; air polluter; garbage dumper; glacier melter; light bulb burner. You get the idea. Just remember that if they change the chorus ("teach 'em better"), make sure they keep the sentiment "kind" as we have done. The goal is to inspire, not to bully or put down.

Of course, this recording/arrangement (which is pretty neat, by the way) can be used with the original lyrics. We have heard this song done by schools when approached as a "historical" piece. Good luck choosing which verses to use though. Some are pretty rough.

Online extras - The free, downloadable extras mentioned can be found under the Graphics and Extras for Volume 18, No. 4 at MusicK8.com

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.