O Árbol De Navidad

adapted/arr. Mike Wilson

Charlie Brown meets Nat King Cole for this Spanish/English version of "O Tannenbaum" ("O Christmas Tree"). The light jazz approach to this arrangement includes a lush string orchestration over an acoustic rhythm section. A bit of Latin percussion connects the musical treatment to the Spanish lyrics.

It is helpful if your students are familiar with the traditional melody. This allows them to focus their attention on the proper Spanish pronunciations and inflections. The song is laid out with a Spanish verse followed by an English verse with a fairly literal translation. There are several versions of the lyrics. What you will hear here, however, has been adapted to provide consistency between the English and Spanish versions. We have posted an audio pronunciation guide on our web site to assist you. (See details following.) Of primary focus should be the pronunciation of the Spanish consonant "r". For the most part, an "r" at the beginning of a word should be rolled, and an "r" in the middle of a word should be flipped. Most kids seem to be okay with rolling but have difficulty with the flip, especially remembering to flip the "r" when singing. A helpful technique, if your kids are having trouble, is to simply have them replace the "r's" with a short "d" or "duh" sound. It's not perfect, but it translates better when singing than an "unflipped" English "r" sound.

Once you have the language down, you can move on to performing musically. An exaggeratedly smooth approach seemed to produce the desired effect in the studio, as did being attentive to implied dynamics (crescendo as the melody rises and visa versa). Ooh… nice.

Online extras - The free, downloadable extras mentioned can be found under the Graphics and Extras for Volume 20, No. 2 at MusicK8.com

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.