Best Day of My Life

So much popular music overly sexual and violent. I’m always really happy to hear a positive and appropriate song on the radio. One great song that’s popular right now is “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors. Here’s an arrangement I created for this song and my teaching process.

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Best Day of My Life 2

Above is the complete arrangement. Feel free to skip my overly detailed and long teaching process and use your own!! Everyone has different tricks that work well for them. Here’s how I taught it to my 5th graders.

Best Day of My Life 3

1. We started with the glockenspiel part. This was the most challenging part to learn. Here is the visual I used to teach it to them. I sang it and asked them to figure out where the snap was going to fall (in the parenthesis). They snapped along with  me. When they were comfortable with the melody they sang along. We also practiced tapping the rhythm of the words on our laps as we sang.

Best Day of My Life 4

2. Next we transferred the part to the glockenspiel. I showed them this visual. I had them locate the bars used in the first part of the phrase. We then played it really slowly together.

3. After they could play the beginning of each phrase really slowly and out of time, we practiced playing the rhythm (tika-ti ti-ti) on the table next to the instrument. Then we said the corresponding letters as we played it. I had them lift their mallets in the air and sing “best day” and “coolest day” instead of playing it.

4. FINALLY, we played the beginning of each phrase on the glockenspiel. We lifted our mallets and sang the end of each phrase.

Best Day of My Life 75. On another day introduced “best day” and “coolest day” on the glockenspiel with the following visual. Some of the students had already figured it out by themselves, so it wasn’t hard for them to pick up.

6. This part was too challenging for some of my students to play up to speed. So, students had the option to play just the blue parts or only play only the downbeat A (circled in yellow).

7. Next, I introduced the conga by patting it on my leg and repeating “beat goes on, the beat goes on…”. I had students watch me do it and jump in when they felt the pattern.

8. Then I introduced the guiro part in the same manner. (Up, down-down, Up down-down…)

9. On another day I introduced the bass xylophone using the phrase “Won’t you be my friend” on my knees. One knee was G and the other was D. I had the students watch until the could jump in a play with me.

10. I introduced the alto xylophone pattern in the same manner.

11. After all of the parts were learned we put everything together with the melody they already knew from the radio. We didn’t perform the entire song, just the first half. Here is how I layered it in. You could do it however you like. You could easily perform the whole thing.

Intro: Conga, then guiro, then glockenspiel (glock plays pattern twice)

Verse 1:

(Guiro and glock drop out, conga continues.)

I had a dream so big and loud

I jumped so high I touched the clouds

Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh-oh

Woah-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh-oh

I stretched my hands out to the sky

We danced with monsters through the night

Wo-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh-oh

Woah-oah-oah-oah-oah-oh-oh

I’m never gonna look back

(add egg shakers on beat) Woah never gonna give it up

No, (everyone stops playing) please don’t wake me now

One, Two, Three, Four!

Refrain:

(Guiro, Conga, BX and AX enter)

Oo-o-o-o-o-o

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My li-i-i-i-i-ii-ife

Oo-o-o-o-o-o

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My li-i-i-i-i-ii-ife

(Glockenspiel enters and plays their pattern twice. End song with BX/AX on D and one final conga hit.)

Click the link below to see one of my 5th grade classes practicing the piece. It’s still a work in progress, but we had fun filming it anyways. 🙂

The Best Day of My Life performance

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8 thoughts on “Best Day of My Life

  1. This is perfect! I was looking for some Orff arrangements of popular songs for our Music Monday concert and this fits the bill. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful arrangement! I’m starting an afterschool Orff group of 5th and 6th graders and I think this would be a great piece to combine them with my 4th – 6th grade choir for our Spring Concert. Thanks for sharing!

    • That’s a good question! I’ve only performed it at my school for somewhat small audiences, so I’ve never thought about it. I always feel like if I’m not charging an audience, it’s a gray area? Hope you have fun with it!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing!!!! I’m looking at using this arrangement for a performance in March. Question regarding the conga part: I’m wondering if it would be more natural for the speech to go: ” ON, the beat goes ON, with the strong beat (bass tone) landing on the word “ON” rather than “beat”? Does that make sense? So when they start the introduction, they are saying/playing “the beat goes ON.”

    • That’s really funny that you say that, because that’s how we ended up saying it for our performance! I posted this before I got really into it with my students, I’m thinking about updating the sheet music in the post to reflect it. Thanks for your thoughts! Hope it works well for your performance. 🙂

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