The Seven Teachings

The Seven Teachings is a song for elementary students about the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, written originally as part of a First Nations/Metis/Inuit (FNMI) project for students of Greely Road School, Fort McMurray.

The chorus was written prior to April 2016 along with several verses, which were written in real-time collaboration with the students. The song was rewritten and recomposed about a year later to greatly improve the existing verses, and complete a missing verse. Although the project was taught in partnership with FNMI educators, the lyrics reflect the ideas and values of the students rather than traditional FNMI beliefs.

Each of the seven teachings are included in the chorus in the same order as presented by the verses: honesty, humility, respect, wisdom, bravery (courage), love, and truth. Each verse reharmonizes the same melody on the notes D, C, E, F#, G, B, A. Inspiration for these keys was drawn from descriptions of traditional flute making in the book Seven Sacred Teachings by David Bouchard.

  • duration: 2′30″
  • range: melody D4 to A4 (5th), harmonization A3 to D5 (11th)
  • instrumentation: voice (unision, SSA, SAB, TTB), keyboard, optional bongo drum or percussion

If you are interested in performing this piece, please contact me here.

The Seven Teachings
Honest and humble I will be,
Respect my gifts and use them wisely,
Bravely show my love for thee,
Be true to the person I wanna be,
Be true to the person I wanna be—
Speak no lie, never hide from my worries,
Stand up high because I know that I’ve got honesty
Sisters and brothers, I promise to be humble—
We all need each other to catch us when we stumble
(chorus)
Respect and share every blessing I’m given,
Show that I care for the world that we are livin’ in
Heed nature’s voice and the power of my dreams,
Make a wiser choice when things aren’t what they seem
Defend the weak, defeat the pain—
If I fall to my knees, I’ll bravely rise again
(chorus)
Join together with a smile and a hug,
Always remember the greatest gift I’ve got is love
There’s a truth in each phrase, and a lesson in each word:
I’m gonna look, listen, learn the ways that I can change the world
(chorus)

2017 June 2