When the Saints Go Marching In

GRADE: 9-12
SUBJECT: Band
GENRE: Traditional Jazz
TOPIC: Marching Band
DISCIPLINE: Harmonizing Instruments, Composition and Theory Strand

DESCRIPTION

In this lesson, students will learn the lyrics, song form, and instrument techniques for the traditional song “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Students will illustrate their understanding of the song with a performance.

 

OBJECTIVES

  • Students will be able to gather historical facts about the song “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
  • Students will be able to analyze song form.
  • Students will be able to read music.
  • Students will be able to apply instrument techniques and strategies for learning a song.
  • Students will be able to play traditional New Orleans jazz on an instrument.

 

STANDARDS

Music – Harmonizing Instruments – Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Music – Composition and Theory – Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work.
Music – Composition and Theory – Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.

 

INSTRUCTOR NOTES

Students should have familiarity with reading music. Teachers should review the lesson resources, media, and websites prior to launching the lesson.

 

MATERIALS

 

INTRODUCTION

  1. Display slide 3 of the presentation When the Saints Go Marching In to listen to the song “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Fats Domino. Ask students: What does this song make you think of? Where do you hear this song? What do you think it’s about?

 

  1. Tell students “When the Saints Go Marching In” is a black spiritual. It is one of the most requested jazz songs in the world. Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Bunk Johnson, and Fats Domino, among many others, have recorded the song. Many people think of the New Orleans Saints football team, since they adopted the song. However, the song was originally a spiritual that was played and sung in black churches in the early 1900s. 

 

  1. Display slide 4 to engage students in a listening session with the song, “When the Saints Go Marching In. Play the following recordings: “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Louis Armstrong and “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Bunk Johnson

 

  1. Have students discuss and compare each interpretation of the song. Ask: Which instrument is playing the lead/melody? Which instruments are playing the chordal harmonies (banjo/guitar/piano/etc.)? Which instruments are playing melodic harmonies? What is the time signature? Are there any notable differences when contrasting one recording against another? What emotions do you feel as a listener? What is driving the emotional change?

 

APPLICATION

  1. Tell students they are going to learn the melody of the song “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The song can be sung straight ahead with just the chorus (A) or optional chorus, chorus, verse, chorus (AABA). Distribute the instrument-specific song guides below. Have students memorize the melody of the song. 

Clarinet Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Drums Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Piano Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Sousaphone/Bass Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Trombone Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Trumpet Guide: “When the Saints Go Marching In”

 

  1. Distribute Lyrics: “When the Saints Go Marching In” to students. Rehearse the verses and allow time for students to practice on their own.

 

  1. Have students reference the instrument-specific song guides to learn and memorize the chord progressions.

 

  1. Introduce students to the instrument-specific techniques for “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Review the techniques with students and allow time to practice. 

Clarinet Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Drum Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Piano Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Sousaphone/Bass Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Trombone Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Trumpet Techniques: “When the Saints Go Marching In”

 

  1. Encourage students to independently transcribe solos related to their instruments. They can study the works of traditional early New Orleans musicians to grow and refine their craft as soloists. Tell students they can incorporate early New Orleans musicians’ ideas with their own to discover their unique identities.

 

  1. Once students know the melody and techniques, have students play along with the recording “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Louis Armstrong on slide 5. To extend, play the melody and exercise embellishment, adding flavor or creating your own interpretation of the melody.

 

EVALUATION 

  1. Assess students’ knowledge of the song “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Have students perform the song and demonstrate the New Orleans functions and techniques for their instruments. Conclude the lesson with a written reflection. Ask: What factors influenced the historical and cultural tradition of the song “When the Saints Go Marching In?” “What instrument techniques are applied to the song “When the Saints Go Marching In?”

 

ATTRIBUTIONS

Used with permission. Portions of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards Copyright © 2015 National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/All Rights Reserved – Rights Administered by SEADAE.

© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

Louis Ford, Curriculum Developer and Music Artist Liaison
JoDee Scissors, Content Producer
Meghan Swartz, Music Artist Consultant
Mark Braud, Music Artist Consultant

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