Song of the Week: Teddy Bear

Song of the Week

Teddy Bear (The Music Class's take on John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things")

According to Mr. Rob, “Teddy Bear is one of the most musically interesting songs on The Bear Collection - you have to do it!” So without further ado, let's get into some of Mr. Rob's favorite things.

The Music Class’s song “Teddy Bear” is directly based on John Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things." It copies the jazz waltz style Coltrane used and even includes a soprano sax solo.

People have written entire theses on this song. That’s because John Coltrane was one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, and this song is one of his most famous. One of the reasons Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” is so important is because it did something rare for the jazz world- it became a widespread, commercially successful hit.

“My Favorite Things” was originally written by Rogers and Hammerstein for The Sound of Music. I’m sure you remember Julie Andrews singing it in the movie version; that’s how I learned the song! Here’s a refresher:

Now, let’s watch John Coltrane’s version. It’s identifiable as the same song, and at the same time, it’s very different. This probably helped this version break into the mainstream; because people recognized a tune that they already knew and loved and were able to experience it in a totally new way.

Do you see the instrument Coltrane is playing? It’s called the soprano saxophone. It's higher than the alto saxophone you probably imagine when you hear the word "sax." 

Types of saxophones

Miles Davis bought John Coltrane his first soprano sax while they were on tour together in Paris! The most famous soprano sax recording in jazz history is Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.” So, obviously, we had to include a soprano sax in The Music Class's “Teddy Bear!” Check out this video Ms. Emily made:

The Music Class's goal for the song "Teddy Bear" is to introduce children to this style of jazz when they're little so they can understand and appreciate it when they're big. Our goal for this blog is that you have been inspired to dig deeper into Coltrane and all the jazz greats with your kids! And last but certainly not least, I’d like to leave you with this picture of Mr. Rob’s head photoshopped onto Julie Andrews’ body. The end.

Rob as Julie!


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