Kids say the darndest things sometimes. Every year, my school has a National Anthem Assembly with students from Pre-K to 5th grade. They sing three songs in a clump on the lawn and wear red, white and blue. It’s an easy and great community builder for the start of the school year.
For the older students, they already know the words to all the songs, and can actually read them now. Two of my students told me that i had the wrong words up for the Star Spangled Banner. One told me that the word should be “Landmarks” instead of “Ramparts.”
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts (landmarks) we watched were so gallantly streaming?
I guess landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon are a lot less violent, than hiding behind a rampart when someone is shooting at you. This boy assured me that landmarks was the correct word, because that is the way he sings the song in the Cub Scouts!
Another boy told me that when he was little, he did not understand the words “Gave proof through the night,” so he sang “Babe Ruth through the night.” After all, he had heard of Babe Ruth and all his legendary home runs as an American Baseball icon.
I went home laughing, happy to begin the school year with such delightful students, who like to make our National Anthem more child friendly!
Students are learning the blues! Because many lyrics are inappropriate for children, I have composed three original songs, one for each grade that I teach. 3rd graders are singing “Recorder Blues,” 4th graders are singing “Immigration Blues and 5th graders are singing “Lonely Blues.” They are also playing ukulele over the chord changes and taking solos as they improvise. Some classes have written their own lyrics. Such creativity is important for everyone, because it keeps us open to new ideas. Change is the only constant of our era, so creativity is a must!
My students are adept at four chords: C, F, G7 and A Minor. With these four chords, they can sight-read and jam songs like: The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Y.M.C.A., and Good Riddance: the Time of Your Life. They like singing songs from their own century and like jamming over a Band In a Box beat. Band and orchestra students join in, playing by ear. Students are learning life-long music skills and enjoying themselves at the same time