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Little By Little
(Diligence & Sloth)

FROM: Virtues and Vices: 7 Pieces for SATB Chorus and Piano

VOICING: SATB, Baritone Solo, with Piano




TONE: grand storytelling




GENERAL: This work was commissioned by Sound Ecologies Inc. (Indiana 2024, Luke Garrigus, President). It premiered at Choral Reflections: Sacred Music by Indiana Composers at the University of Indianapolis, on March 7, 2024. (Recording Below)


TEXT: Anonymous 

Little By Little (Diligence & Sloth) 


“Little by little,” an acorn said,

As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,

“I am improving every day,

Hidden deep in the earth away.”


Little by little, each day it grew;

Little by little, it sipped the dew;

Downward it sent out a thread-like root;

Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.


Day after day, and year after year,

Little by little the leaves appear;

And the slender branches spread far and wide,

Till the mighty oak is the forest's pride.

Far down in the depths of the dark blue sea,

An insect train work ceaselessly.

Grain by grain, they are building well,

Each one alone in its little cell.


Moment by moment, and day by day,

Never stopping to rest or to play,

Rocks upon rocks, they are rearing high,

Till the top looks out on the sunny sky.


The gentle wind and the balmy air,

Little by little, bring verdure there;

Till the summer sunbeams gayly smile

On the buds and the flowers of the coral isle.


“Little by little,” said a thoughtful boy,

“Moment by moment, I'll well employ,

Learning a little every day,

And not spending all my time in play.

And still this rule in my mind shall dwell,

Whatever I do, I will do it well.


“Little by little, I'll learn to know

The treasured wisdom of long ago;

And one of these days, perhaps, we'll see

That the world will be the better for me”;

And do you not think that this simple plan

Made him a wise and useful man?

Note from the Composer

“Little By Little” is the fourth movement of Virtues and Vices: 7 Pieces for SATB Chorus and Piano and it explores the virtue/vice of diligence/sloth. This piece tells a grand story of a tiny acorn. Little by little, the music expands, blossoms, and unfolds like the acorn growing over time. Dramatic and varied textures and tonal shifts depict the colorful journey an acorn takes to become a strong oak tree. The piano and voices embody the elements (earth, water, wind, sun) as the seasons change throughout the story. Compound meters and thoughtful text stress allow these lyrics to pop off the page.

Ordering Scores

This work is published as a digital score with a performance license. The cost is $3.00 per score, 10 copy minimum order. See "Virtues and Vices" to purchase the complete multi-movement work. 


To Order:

  • Click the link to email Daniel Watson Music LLC. 

  • Specify the total number of performers (include all singers, directors, pianists) and the name of your choir.

  • An invoice will be sent to you via PayPal requesting payment.  

  • Once payment is received, you will emailed the licensed PDF for the above number of copies within three business days (excluding weekends and holidays).

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