Watch As We Walk On Our Way

by John Riggio/Teresa Jennings

Though this energetic song was written with graduation and commencement themes clearly in mind, you can certainly use it anytime you want to reinforce positive, motivational ideas. If you do use it for graduation, you can visualize your students walking down the aisle to the beat or just standing and moving with the music while they are singing of their bright expectations of life.

The Performance/Accompaniment CD or Cassette is, as always, professionally recorded in our favorite Indianapolis studio with our favorite world-class musicians. We recommend the use of the recording when performing the song for the best results, as we feel it provides the real power behind the energy. However, if you would like to perform the piece live with your own rock group using piano, guitars, bass, drums, and percussion, we have provided a condensed score in the form of the piano/vocal which you can follow.

Since the lyrics are not particularly challenging, you could perform the piece with almost any class level. Whether your students are reading the music or the lyric sheet, the best way for them to pick up the melody, rhythms and words are to sing along with the recording. This also provides them with a sample of style, especially if you are looking for an interpretation of the small scoops in front of some notes. (These scoops, by the way, are optional.)

The song does break into two parts at measure 27, but it is just a simple call and response, so it should be easily learned. The second part is also optional, though it is a good way to introduce part singing to otherwise timid performers. The form is repetitious enough that once your students get the hang of it, they will be able to really belt out the music with feeling. (Don't worry about whether they are using their head voices or their chest voices. Just let them sing!)

During the alto saxophone solo, which is only eight measures long, you could use the time for some simple movement. For example, if the size of your performance area is restricted, you could have students sway their upper bodies rhythmically to one side on beats 1 and 3 and clapping on beat 4 of each measure. Have them lead with their shoulders in a relaxed manner. Reverse the sway for the next measure and so on. If you have lots of room for movement, consider featuring a dancer or dancers for that time. Got any tap dancers? Ballet dancers? Jazz dancers? Use them creatively.

One other thought - if your students are wearing commencement garb (including mortar boards) at the end of the song, let them toss their hats into the air and cheer. Or for a more subdued effect, have them flip their tassels. (Right to left is the traditional direction post-graduation.) However you use the song, just remember that it is meant to be motivational and inspirational for your students. Let them make it their song!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.