Jumat, 17 Mei 2013

My First Time Teaching DTS' Song to My Students

   On May 11th, 2012, one of my long lost colleagues, Ratih Soe texted me. In her text, she asked me,  "Dear guitarists, would you be interested in arranging my songs?  And could you please play one of my songs with your guitar at DFM radio on May 22nd? The guitar and also the chords are available. So, you don't need to worry about them. Just come to the radio and play the guitar for me.  Say yes?"

     At first I was surprised to read the message and wondered how she knew that I played the guitar.  Then I replied to her immediately, "OK. That'll be fine but I need to know the tune, timbre, chords, rhythm and the genre of the song. How can I listen to your song?"

     "I'll send the files through Facebook this evening. Just check them out!" she told me.

     Then I reminded her about my guitar skills, "I am not a virtuoso on the guitar. I just do it for fun. I hope you can understand my flaw. However, let me have my ears on yours. I'll do my best to play it."

     "That's very nice of you! Don't worry about the song! It's only a simple song. I dedicate it to children. I believe you can play it well," She pacified and encouraged me.

     In the evening, I looked forward to listening to it. I was very curious and eager to have my ears on it and voila! Finally the song writer delivered the audio files.

     If you know me very well, I am a kind of music freak. I spend my leisure time collecting my favorite music, making cover version, memorizing songs, playing music and sometimes making new song arrangements. Analyzing and criticizing songs as well as the band make my day.
     So, after downloading those WMA-formatted files, I promptly checked and compared it with all the songs I've ever listened. The notation is okay. No other songs sound like the one in Orangutan. She played it with a piano and had his brother sing it. Analyzing it, I reckoned it's not really a simple song since the progressive chord, Am - D - G - A - Am - D - G - E is not like any other ordinary songs. Then the refrain is transposed into D - Bm - Em - A - D - Bm - Em - A - F# - Bm - G - D - E. I found the progressive chord cool. It's like British Folk songs - Greensleeves, Scarborough fair, etc. But of course, the notation is pole apart with those songs. This is what really makes me enchanted.
     What's more, the song lyrics is extremely educative. It tells the listeners about the life of Orangutans nowadays -"...The poachers hunt them and have them live at human homes..." As a school teacher I consider it worth-singing in the class. My students should understand it and internalize it in their subconscious mind. I believe that singing is the most effective way to learn with our subconscious mind since I learn the theory upon taking psycholinguistics and suggestopedia lectures when I was at the university. I think I had the honor of arranging the song. So, I had to make it sound better. What a great challenge!
     I was rapt to it and unintentionally had I set my heart on accomplishing it. Actually there were two alternative arrangements - the slowly-picked and the strummed one. But after I got the song writer to listen to both of them, she preferred the strummed to the slowly-picked one. I was so glad to know that she was happy for mine. Then, I was very curious to know how it would sound if pupils in the class sang it together. to satisfy my curiousity, I deliberately got into 7th grade class to teach them to sing it. I drilled them repeatedly and apparently they responded positively. Since they enjoyed singing it, I didn't want to miss the golden moment videotaping it.
     Making them enjoy singing the song means all the world to me. Would you care to watch it? Here we go!

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