HOW TO TEACH "I SEE A HERO"
Pardon the terrible picture quality. But that’s my dad, and I’m the one he’s holding. He died nearly 10 years ago now, but I am thankful for him every day, and for all he did to love, teach, guide, protect, and provide for me. I thought about him a lot while I was writing this song.
Can I just give you a little background on the song that I think is important to know?
This was one of the hardest songs for me to write! Because I am painfully aware of all the kids who don't have dads at home, or live in neglectful or abusive environments. So I started out writing a song about how every family is different, and how everyone is loved, whatever their situation. And I spent a lot of time working on that idea...which is still be a good idea for a song some day, but not for this one.
While working on the first idea, a question kept running through my mind: But what about the dads who ARE there? What about the dads who give of themselves in really heroic ways every day? Should we avoid honoring them because of the dads (or the parents) who don't do that?
So in the end, this song is for all the dads who really are the everyday, unsung heroes in our lives. Like my dad.
HOWEVER! Just like "More Than Enough" doesn't ever use the word "mother" or "mom," I didn't use the word "father" or "dad" in this song. So it's implied that the kids are singing about our dads (especially if they sing it on Father's Day), but in reality, the child can sing to whoever their hero is -- whether it's Mom, Grandma or Grandpa, neighbor, teacher, maybe even a music leader! :)
I hope when you teach this song, you will make that clear to the children.
Now, for how I would teach it.
To start with – I’ll remind you of two things:
- I don’t use flip charts or melody maps. They’re not bad tools – I'm just too busy (or maybe too lazy!) to make them. And I think you can teach successfully without them.
- I ALWAYS have the pianist play ONLY the melody when we’re learning a song. Then when the kids know it really well, she can add the accompaniment.
Okay. Here goes. The first verse and chorus should take you about 15 minutes to teach. This method is the best method I've ever found. It works! Find a way to creatively do this:
1) ask a question about one small part of the song,
2) have them listen for the answer while you sing that part of the song -- alone, with the pianist playing the melody, then
3) have them answer the question, then
4) repeat this process until they've listened to you sing one part of the song about 3 times, then they sing it with you.
5) Lastly, you find ways to repeat until they really know it.
*Through this process, they actually have to think about what they're singing about, so they not only learn the song, but they understand its message.
You: We’re going to learn a new song today. It’s a song for Father’s Day. I’m so excited to hear you sing it! I’m going to sing the first two lines for you. They ask a question. Listen and see if you can tell what the question is.
(*It will REALLY help the children understand the song if you’ll spend a little extra time helping them understand the first verse. So take some extra time here if you need to.)
Sing: Did you dream you’d be a hero some day / Who would grow up and change the world some way?
Okay, what’s the question?
(Child: Did you dream you’d be a hero?)
Right! Now I’m going to sing it again, and this time I want you to listen for what the person wanted to do when he became a hero.
Sing it again.
What did he want to do?
(Child: He wanted to grow up and change the world)
Do you think when your dad was your age he wanted to grow up and be a hero and change the world some way? How about your mom? A lot of children think about growing up and being heroes or doing some really amazing and great thing, don’t they?
Okay, I’m going to sing it again and this time I want you to sing with me.
Sing: Did you dream you’d be a hero some day who would grow up and change the world some way?
Did you hear that at the ends of these two lines, there are two words that rhyme with each other. What are they?
(‘Some day’ and ‘some way.’)
Right! The first one is ‘some day’ and the second one is ‘some WAY.’ Now, listen to the next two lines, and see if you can figure out what they mean.
Sing: Well, the world you’ve changed is mine, it’s true, and I wish you could see who I see in you.
What does this mean: “Well, the world you’ve changed is mine.”?
(Whatever they answer, make it a good answer – but be sure to get across the point that their world is changed every day by a dad – [or mom or caregiver] – who takes care of them.)
The rest of the notes are a little briefer, but you get the drill by now.
I’m going to sing it one more time and I want you to listen now for something that I wish.
Let’s sing it one more time, and this time, I want you to stand up and sit down alternately on every downbeat. If you don’t know what the downbeat is, watch my arm – every time my arm goes straight down, it’s the downbeat. I’ll give you a hint: The first downbeat word is ‘dream’, so when we sing ‘dream’ we’re going to stand up, then on the next downbeat we’ll sit down…and so on.
Now, I’m going to ask you the best question of the day. The next two words are, “I see.” If YOU were writing this song, what would you say next? “I wish you could see who I see in you. I see a ….WHAT?”
(Again, whatever the answer is, make it positive. And if somebody says ‘hero,’ then just be all over that!)
YES! The chorus says, "I see a hero!" And I’m going to sing the first half of the chorus for you. And I want you to listen for how many times I sing the words “I see.”
Sing: I see a hero. I see a light. Living by faith, every day by my side. I see a hero. I see a star. Showing the way just by being who you are.”
Okay, how many times did I sing it?
Right! This time, listen for what I sing after every “I see,” and let’s see if we can get all 4 of them right.
What comes after each “I see?”
Good! Let’s say those together! – Hero, light, hero, star. Awesome. This time, listen for a few things that dads DO.
Sing it again.
Okay, what are some things dads do?
(He lives by faith, he’s there every day by my side, he shows the way. “How does he show the way?” Just by being who he is.)
Great! Are you ready to sing it with me? Let’s sing this part together.
Here is a little tip for you, in case you’re having a hard time remembering what words come next: When you sing “I see a hero, I see a light, remember that ‘light’ starts with ‘L’ and so does the next word: ‘living.’ So ‘living’ comes right after ‘light.’ And when you sing “I see a hero, I see a star, remember that ‘star’ starts with ‘S’ and so does the next word: ‘showing.’ So ‘showing’ comes right after ‘star.’ The two ‘L’ words are together and the two ‘S’ words are together. Let’s sing it again now that we know that.
All sing again
Wow. Great job. What’s different about these two parts of the chorus? (Besides the words?)
(The end goes higher.)
Yes! I’m glad you noticed that. This time sing it with me again and watch my hand so you can tell better where the melody goes.
All sing again.
Let's do it one more time, and let's do the downbeat thing again -- stand up and sit down on the downbeat. And we start right off with the word 'I', which means we need to stand up on the very first word!
All sing again.
(Maybe now is a good time to make this point): You know, we’re going to sing this song on Father’s Day, but some of you don’t see your dads very often, or maybe at all -- so you can sing to whoever YOUR hero is. Maybe it’s your mom. Or your grandma or grandpa! Or whoever takes good care of you.)
Okay, we just have one more little part to learn. And this is the best part! In fact, it starts with the word “best.”
Sing “Best of all, I see who I hope to be: A hero like you are to me.”
Did you hear now who the child hopes to be?
Right – a hero like his dad (or mom) is. I’m going to sing it one more time, and then just ask you to sing it with me.
Sing it again.
Okay let’s sing it together.
What words do you have to wait after?
(‘Hero’ and ‘you are’)
Right – you have to wait for a couple of counts – so watch me closely on that while we sing it one more time.
Sing it again.
Here, I would say something like this: This song started out talking about a child who wanted to grow up and be a hero some day. And it ENDS with a child who wants to grow up and be a hero some day! Only the second child is YOU. And you’re singing about wanting to grow up and be a hero like your dad is to you (or your mom…). Have you ever thought about this? That whoever takes care of you and helps you and loves you -- those people are the REAL heroes in our lives.
Now can we sing the whole thing now from the beginning -- and while you're singing I want you to pretend you're singing to your dad (or your hero) -- and that means you're going to sing with feeling, right?
Tell them they’re amazing and that you love them and you love hearing them sing.
I hope this is helpful -- next time I PROMISE to do a video. That might actually be easier than writing all this out!!!