Back In School

by John Riggio

Our composer-in-residence, John Riggio, brings us another upbeat, fun and inspirational song. Admittedly, John has not always been a big fan of school, but he understands the value of it and the need to inspire today's students, so that is exactly what he has done.

The piece is in a swing style (or hip hop, if you prefer a contemporary name), but has a definite rock undertone, so your students will be able to relate to it more easily. The message is clear, the words are easy to learn and remember, and the melody is bluesy in nature. Two or three times through it, and our singers were able to sing it back with little effort.

Given the range, intervals, and difficulty level, you may prefer to give this one to your middle to upper levels students only. However, we have heard very young children sing seemingly difficult lines from tunes on the radio, so we believe firmly that anything is possible. Of course, they hear those tunes on the radio a lot, so it helps. Take the clue and play the tunes for them that you want them to learn a number of times. They'll pick it up faster than you could believe.

Things to discuss with your students:

  • Discuss the difference between eighth notes that are performed in a swing style and those performed straight.
  • Discuss the form of the tune. It also uses the D.S. and coda for repeated sections.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.