Let The Games Begin!

by Teresa Jennings/John Riggio

Every time the Olympics come around (Summer or Winter), we hear from teachers everywhere about schools doing their own "School Olympics." These are frequently athletic in nature, using kid-friendly modified versions of various sports. But many times they are academic, like the Math Olympics or the Spelling Olympics. And of course, we often hear about the Music Olympics. Even if your school doesn't have its own version of the Olympics, you can use this song to help with your celebration of the real thing.

Probably the most popular way for any school to use the Olympics as a general topic is by focusing on the many countries around the world who are involved. It's the ultimate cross curricular world event! It offers opportunities to discuss countries and their customs, politics, relationships to other countries, histories, and so on. In a world where differences are so often at the center of our problems, this subject gives us a chance to celebrate the things we have in common, too. Athletes from all around the world go through the same struggles and disciplines to get to the Games. And probably more important, they feel the same joy or pain at the outcome. Musically, this gives you the chance to also focus on various cultures around the world. Or on geography. Or sportsmanship. Or motivation. Or excellence. Or peace and tolerance. You see what we mean? It can be whatever you want to make of it. And you can take it all across the curriculum!

To help you in your endeavor, we have provided this very upbeat, motivational song, written by Teresa and John together. (Sort of their own nod to "teamwork.") It's a happy tune with high energy and positive lyrics that reinforce confidence. It is fairly simple melodically, and mostly in unison so that all of your students can sing along. It's also somewhat repetitious, which will make learning and singing out with zeal a lot easier. The one place there is an optional second part shouldn't even slow you down too much because it's just a call and response. Divide your singers into two sections and let them belt!

To help with the natural energy of the piece, we have included claps, which are indicated on the music. You can use them as we have them, or alter them as you prefer. They do spice it up nicely by adding movement, which helps to engage all singers, and maybe even your audience, if you invite them.

Another element of excitement is heard on the Performance/Accompaniment recording in the form of stadium cheering. Whether your use is for a show, a sporting event, preparation for testing, or a rock concert, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a huge audience cheering! Let your kids join in if you want, or let them "acknowledge the audience" with arms up, bows, etc.

As always, we want our music to be what you need it to be for your situation. So if you don't want to study or celebrate the Olympics or its myriad connected topics, you can change the title and lyrics of our song to suit your own purposes. For example:

Let The Year Begin!

Let The Test Begin!

Let The Show Begin!

Let The Day (or Night) Begin!

At a rock concert, you could say: Let The Rock Begin!

You get the idea. You could also totally change the whole title and use it as a "cheer" of sorts, using the same rhythm and melody:

Our School Is The Best

Music Is The Best

Texas Is The Best

For a graduation or moving up ceremony, try:

We Are On Our Way

Graduate Today

We Will Rock The World

And so on. The lyrics are generally motivational enough for any of these applications. But, if you do use some of these applications, consider changing some of the lyrics as well. Maybe you could replace "I am gold," with "We are gold." That sort of thing. Do whatever works for you.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.