Where Will We Go
©1992 Steve Schuch / Night Heron Music (ASCAP)

Each spring the neo-tropical songbirds of South and Central America prepare to fly north. Timing their departure to the weather patterns, they cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single night flight. They navigate across 500 miles of trackless ocean by memory and by the stars. Then it’s on to their summer nesting grounds across North America. In the fall, they must return.

For thousands of years, these songbirds could count on the forests waiting for them at journey's end. But now everything is changing... the forests, the land, the waters and sky. Even the weather patterns. If the changes continue, where will these birds go?

Song tracks: Trees of Life | Turn the World Around | The Forest is a Wonderful Place | If I Had Wings | Sap Time | Barges | Silent Huntress | Ibis the Whale | Two Different Worlds | The Animal Song | The Garden Round | Where Will We Go | The Little Prince | Zeno-ba-ba-da | Giving Tree | Activity Guide Home





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Once we were so many, in millions uncounted
Our wings filled the Sky as we followed the year
Unmindful of borders we circled the seasons
Who thought it could change, how could we have known

Where will we go, where will we go
Where will we go before the First Snow
Where will we go, where will we go
Where will we go.... does anyone know?

In spring we fly north to the Land of Our Nesting
To raise our own young in the ways we were shown
But each year we are less and the Journey grows harder
As power lines rise and a bitter rain falls... Chorus

At Summer’s Last Light we start heading southward
We fly through the night, the stars as our guide
Across the Great Waters the tropics lie waiting
The Jaguar waits too for our songs’ return... Interlude

Now both North and South the forests are changing
Burned, cut and criss-crossed by too many roads
The Jaguar and Wolf are so few we don’t fear them...
Like us, they fear most the loss of their homes... Chorus

Suggested Activity

Relationship and Meaning
A song like “Where Will We Go” makes migration more than an abstract concept. The imagery here is personal and real. Together with “If I Had Wings” and “Silent Huntress,” this song paints pictures of sky and flight in the listener’s mind. It evokes a sense of relationship with these creatures and their world.

Imagine if you could fly by starlight over land and sea. What would it look like? What would you hope to see? Recently these neo-tropical birds are coming back in smaller numbers. What do you think some of the reasons might be? What experiments could we do to find out?

Musical Guided Imagery
This activity does wonders for the imagination. It is an excellent “warm up” for creative writing and art projects. Like many things, it gets even easier with practice.

Start by choosing an appropriate piece of music. You can do this activity with “Where Will We Go.” Or choose an instrumental selection that evokes the feeling of rainforests, birds or migration. “The Hole in the Orange” from Steve Schuch’s Crossing the Waters recording works very well for this.

Ask students to listen carefully to the entire piece, with the lights dimmed and their eyes closed. Sometimes it helps to push desks aside and have everyone lie on the floor. Explain this will be a bit like a dream, or the soundtrack to a movie. Only here the “movie” will be in their own minds... and each of them will see different images. They shouldn’t force anything, but just let the music take them where it will.

When the piece ends, wait a moment, then ask them to come back from wherever they’ve been. At this point, you might ask what they saw and how it felt. The key here is to keep going for details. For example, if they say they saw “water” or “trees,” ask what kind of water, what kind of trees. What time of year was it? Was it day or night? Warm or cold? What colors or smells did they notice? Were they seeing the trees from the ground, or from up in the air? Was this a place they’ve been in real life, or some other place?

If this is a “warm up” activity to creative writing, you might have everyone write down key words for their “word hoard” based on what they “saw” during this activity. Try for a mix of objects or place words (nouns), action words (verbs), and descriptive words (adjectives and adverbs). Then play the piece again in the background as students begin work on a poem or story that draws on their words and images.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to write a poem or story after doing activities like this one. This is true for both children and adults. When it comes to reclaiming some of the imagination we’ve lost, music and storytelling are powerful allies.

Read more on Steve’s Workshops for All Ages.  

See additional notes for “If I Had Wings” and “Silent Huntress.

Night Heron Music • 72 Meeting Hill Road, Hillsborough, NH 03244 • USA
• ph (603) 464-4321 •
e-mail info@nightheron.com

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