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My Treehouse

by Donna Rhodenizer

One-verse Option for Singers (ages 8-10)

Two-verse Option for Singers (ages 10-12) 

There is such allure to the idea of hanging out in your own private treehouse. Even better, would be the chance to build that special space yourself! Imagine all the fun and inventive things you could add to your special treehouse/fort. Your friends would LOVE to get an invitation from you to hang out in such a cool spot!

This mini-musical theatre song is perfect for young singers with the desire to sing an expressive storytelling song and start developing their theatrical talents. Imagine a younger sibling of “Anne of Green Gables” kicking about on a dusty summer day and you will be on the right track for the character and feel of this song.

My Treehouse - LYRICS

Click on the lyrics and sing along

Includes

Audio Tracks

     - Melody guide + accompaniment

            1-verse option – My Treehouse

            2-verse option – My Grand Treehouse

     - Accompaniment only

            1-verse option – My Treehouse

            2-verse option – My Grand Treehouse

Print Pages

     - Vocal score

            1-verse option – My Treehouse

            2-verse option – My Grand Treehouse

     - Full score

     - Printed lyrics (both options)

For the Teacher

     - Teaching Strategies

     - Blog post pdf

Structure/Form

My Treehouse supports young singers with developing voices.

  • Descending, step-wise patterns create the opening section of the song.
  • The opening phrase is repeated with a slight variation to create the second phrase. The melodic repetition helps the students quickly learn the music for the song.
  • The swinging eighths add to the cheery character and “musical theatre” feel.
  • Vocal range of an octave plus one (C4-D5) has only short reaches into the upper range.
  • My Treehouse is a one-verse option for this song to accommodate younger singers.
  • My Grand Treehouse is a two-verse option for this song to accommodate older singers.

Teaching Strategies

   Expressive Singing

  • Encourage singers to read the lyrics out loud before learning the melody. Ask if students have ever had a treehouse or a special fort. Discuss things the student would like to include in a special treehouse.
  • Find words the singer will emphasize to create an expressive performance. What consonants need to be crisp and clean to clearly tell the story for the listening audience?
  • What dynamics or other musical contrasts can be added for the repeated rhyming words in the second half of the song?
  • Give the singer the option to sing expressively or speak the final lyric, “You’ll see!”

   Vocabulary

   Understanding the meaning of the lyrics helps the students when they are presenting the “story” of the song.

  • Have students read the lyrics and find any words that they do not understand.
  • What is the meaning of bona fide, fortified and glorified?
  • Look up any other unfamiliar words and/or discuss their meaning.
  • Discuss what it means to “wile away the days” (found in the second verse of the song).

   Theatrical Elements

  • Add actions to enhance the theatrical presentation of My Treehouse.
  • Make sure the musical presentation of the song is still the focal point of the performance. The actions need to support the song, not “take over” or detract from the singing.
  • When presenting My Treehouse for a recital or school performance, add a few props or costumes to support the performance.
  • A hammer and a paper bag (presumably containing nails)
  • Give a final thumbs up at the end of the song following the words, “You’ll see!” Add a very visible bandage to the thumb to add a bit of humour. (We are not always successful hitting the nails when we do building projects!)
  • Other costume ideas could include: a tool belt, baseball cap or hard hat, overalls/coveralls and a rope or other easily portable building supplies.

   Musical Elements to Highlight

  • There is an accidental F#  in bars 18 and 22. Isolate and review the pitches in these two bars to become familiar with the melody before singing the whole song.

  Two verses / Two options

     My Treehouse is the overall title used for this song package. The one-verse option uses My Treehouse as the title. The two-verse option of the song has been titled My Grand Treehouse to make it easier to identify which version you are using. 

  • Younger students may find two verses of lyrics too difficult. To accommodate younger singers, choose the one-verse option.
  • Use My Treehouse as a song for a younger singer and then revisit the song when the student is older and able to add the second verse. Bonus – the student will already know the melody from the previous year!
  • The “B” section functions like a chorus, remaining the same for both verses.

   Other Performance Options

  • Younger students may pair up and sing My Grand Treehouse as a duet. Assign each student one of the verses to learn and both students can sing the “B” section together.
  • Singing the entire song with a small group in unison may be enough support for younger students to manage all the lyrics for both verses.

Composer’s Corner

Some songs are written purely from my imagination, but My Treehouse was inspired by an actual event when my three boys were ages 8, 10 and 12. We had a small pile of lumber left over from a renovation project and a small grove of trees. I went to the hardware store and bought three hammers and a five-pound bag of nails (which were in a paper bag). I presented the boys with these tools and they headed out to the lumber pile. They had a great time pounding nails into wood and created the foundations of a fort. Upon inspection the next day, they decided the fort was crooked, so they tore it all apart and started over. They needed more nails, so I returned to the hardware store to purchase another three pounds of nails. That is a LOT of nails in two days!!! The fort was declared a success and it included a small sapling which would bend enough to gently lower them down to the ground from their tree house fort. They had fun learning about building stuff and the fort was used for many fun activities when it was completed. I regret not taking a photo of that fort!

Donna Rhodenizer as a kid in box fort

Donna and three of her siblings demonstrating that a cardboard box big enough for four kids can work as a fort if you are too small to build a treehouse….

Composer, Elementary Music Specialist

Donna Rhodenizer

Donna is always on the lookout for song-writing ideas. Her experiences as a mother of three boys have provided lots of inspiration! Her boys are now grown up, but her five grandchildren and the children from her elementary school music classroom have continued to be inspiring character studies for Donna’s compositions.

Donna has written over four hundred songs including repertoire for solo singers, choirs, and school groups, as well as songs for recorder, violin, handbells, piano, and organ. Donna’s music has found a place in the hearts and music libraries of music teachers and students around the world.

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