There's A Hole In The Bucket... Band

arr. Paul Jennings

This unique arrangement offers you a lot of teaching and performance possibilities. It is based on the old cumulative folk song "There's A Hole In The Bucket" which can be traced back as far as 1700 in Germany. One of the many things rolled into this arrangement is the fact that it is loosely a "theme and variations." It can be performed with just recorder and tracks, or both soprano and alto recorders and tracks, or just a bucket band and tracks, or all of the above, or some variation on this. The one thing that this arrangement doesn't have is the traditional vocals or any vocals. (If you want a fun vocal setting, look toward John Riggio's arrangement in Music K-8, Vol. 16, No. 5. It can also be found in the popular collection Get Kids Singing Old American Favorites.)

If you do the full arrangement with all or most parts, you will find that it is scored for soprano and alto recorder; soprano, tenor, and bass buckets; rhythm sticks; and a general percussion part that features triangle, woodblocks, shaker, cowbell, and cymbals.

- Recorders - We originally picked this tune because it's a great dexterity piece for soprano recorder. It features the pentatonic notes low D, low E, G, A, and B. As a matter of fact, the next selection in this issue is a pure and simple folk style arrangement of the tune which you can use as a warm-up for this larger work or as a stand-alone tune. And we give you that arrangement in two different tempos.

There is also a very playable alto recorder part. While it is completely optional, it will add a lot and will be fun for your players now playing altos. Most of the part uses just C, D, and E. At two points they have a G. If this is beyond the player, substitute an E for the first instance, and omit the second one.

- A bucket band? - Many of you will be familiar with bucket bands whether you have tried to form one with your students or not. Put simply, a bucket band is a percussion ensemble that uses buckets for their drums. At its simplest, a fun bucket group can be just a bunch of five gallon plastic buckets upside down played with sticks. (These are our "Tenor Buckets.") We could rattle on here about the ins and outs of bucket bands, but instead, we have prepared a special downloadable resource that we call Bucket Band Basics. It is one of the many online resources available for this issue, including PDFs of the score, and individual parts for each member of your band. (See page 67 for details.)

- Adapt as you like, but always play musically. - One of the most important things to instill in your students for an ensemble like this is the fact that they are playing musical instruments, and that they should play musically. This work is PERFECT for this in that there are sections where they play forte, immediately contrasted with quiet and building sections. When in doubt, exaggerate your dynamics.

- Balance and proportion - If you use all of the instruments available to you, try to keep the numbers in proportion. If you have 25 kids playing the percussion and bucket parts, use at least half on the buckets, with more soprano and tenor buckets than bass. By the same token, one of each bucket and 20 rhythm sticks won't give you very good balance, either. But if that is the group you have, it will work with the tracks. Just use dynamics. And have fun!

As you will note, what appears in the actual magazine pages is a miniature version of the score. A full-sized version of the vertical score and all of the many separate parts are available online. (The full list of downloadable extras can be found on page 67.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.