I first created this website with the goal of motivating my elementary students to focus more intently on my classroom lessons so that they would deliver a more skillful performance for me to publish on the internet. You may read more about my brief success in this objective followed by its subsequently swift cessation here.
My new goal of developing my skills as a performer motivated me to explore the creation of songs that would encourage audience participation. I had been teaching a folk nursery song called "A Hunting We Will Go." A word (noun) in the penultimate phrase could be changed and matched with a rhyming word (verb) in the second half of the phrase:
..........A-hunting we will go,
..........A-hunting we will go.
..........We'll catch a ______* and _______________**
..........And then we'll let him/her go.
Possible insertions are:
..........*fox.......... **put him in a box...
..........*bear........**wash his hair...
..........*boy......... **give him a toy...
..........*girl.......... **make her hair curl...
Since the children enjoyed thinking up rhyming words I decided to compose a song where the listener had to insert an appropriate rhyming word. Calculating that the participator would take a brief moment of time to solve the riddle I made the first word of the following phrase the same (or some form of) the missing word. That way They would enjoy instantaneous reinforcement and confirmation that they had found the correct word (when they did) as I sang it.
Because I was simply experimenting with the idea I did not attempt to put much thought into the lyrics as I composed the song. I often stifle my creativity by thinking more than allowing my imagination to be free. Either because I exuberantly repeated the song many times and thus firmly embedded a lyrical rut in my brain or because it really is well-composed, I discovered that I could not improve on it. So here it is.
I Can Compose by Charles Van Deursen
I'm writing a song to share how I feel.
I need the right words to make it for _____.
Real glad you're here so you can help out.
In fact you're the best I have no _____.
Doubt that the tune is as sweet as you.
But I'm gonna try you know that it's _____.
True to your word you're helping me
To write this here song it's plain to _____.
See what I mean, I can't go wrong.
'Cause you're helping me to write this here _____.
Songs are a way for me to express
My feelings for you I must _____.
Confess it right now you know that it's true.
That you like this song I've written with _____.
You're a big help I've got to admit.
When writing with you I don't want to _____.
Quit helping now. I'll take it from here.
'Cause I'm a professional. How about a big _____.
Cheer is the word as everyone knows.
I don't need your help 'cause I can _____.
My daughter Brianna was always fascinated with my recording equipment so I invited her to join me in singing the song. I asked her to give instructions on how to participate. She reluctantly complied, but my (unashamedly biased) opinion is that she delivered a perfect recording performance.