Sunday, May 9, 2010

       Alright, folks,  it's a culture check.   I recently introduced students to classical music.  I opened by querying their knowledge of different types of music. many knew so little about various styles.  I was surprised to realize that my household seems to be an anomaly.  

       In my house we heard everything from 20's style ragtime to classical, to blues, to rock-and-roll, to country, to was all good.  Likewise, my husband grew up knowing his Bach from his Bluegrass.  

       I remember the day my eighteen-month old shouted from the car's back seat, "This is jazz!"  Never a prouder moment~sigh.  I didn't even know she knew jazz.

       I encourage parents to surf the radio for various music styles and play games with your captive audience  (spouses, kids, and pets), for the duration of the drive.  Challenge each other to learn about the different styles of music.   While not every style appeals to everyone, it is safe to say that one song does not a music genre make.  I've heard Christian Rap I  thoroughly enjoyed, and mellow Beatles songs that left me cold (pretend you didn't read that last one, and I'll pretend I didn't write it).  

      As I try to instill in my classes.  Learning about the art, and analyzing it (or enjoying it), tells us something about the culture that produced it.  Music is such a fine example for this.  From the lilting waltzes of Strauss, to the compelling, nature-inspired works of Aaron Copeland.  We can look through the eyes of the composer, and "hear" what they saw.  

Break out of the bonds of conformity, find a composer or a style that is as foreign to you as a new language, and immerse yourself in the wonder of its melodies.   Blues, Opera, Baroque, Celtic, Tribal, Bluegrass, Country, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Spiritual, Rock-n-Roll, Show Tunes , New-Age, Contemporary, Movie Scores, Folk music, Salsa, Classical, Big Band/Swing, Tin-Pan Alley...orchestral, chamber, garage-band.  

Did I mention I learned the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, as did my Eighth-grade classmates, by listening to School House Rock?  Talk about cross-curricular instruction! And don't get me started on Les Miserables.  From history, to literature, to musical composition~what's not to like?

Do you wander up and down the dial?  Do you dabble in music diversity?  Or does your stereo only have one station?  Rise up, take up the charge, and change your tune.  You might like the beat of a different drummer.