July 10, 2008

The best set of pop music lessons ever

Lesson Ideas to Influence Popular Music
I have been working with a music professional for a few years and together we try to find ways to holistically weave student’s voices and perceptions into the pop culture. Rather than using the music of others, we communicate to the world in a professional way. Often times we as teacher only communicate top down and we don’t fully use all the avenues we interface with in both directions.

Guided imagery writing and drawing
I play various instrumental music from around the world and students write down their perceptions of the culture based on the music. We then discuss the culture that the music came from and compare our perceptions against socialogical studies. I will use musically guided imagery to have students visualize the music as they understand the principles and elements of design and they look for the same compositional elements within the music.

Popular Music visual art perception
Students will look at various art slides, research the artist, time period, and other information about the symbolism of the artwork and find a song that best represents their perception of the artwork. Students write 1 page to defend their position.

When did popular music begin?
Students write down a definition of popular music. Students then pick a date when they believe popular music began. Students research their view point against popular media sources and create debate teams for final debate. Video tape debate and publish.

What is a good teacher?
Students find one peer-reviewed article about effective teaching practices. Students review a movie with a teacher in it. Students compare the movie to their peer-reviewed article on teaching. Students publish their perspective on good teaching in a student publication or via the web in some media.

Music Review
Students take their favorite song and find the beat and the various themes. Students will remix the song by isolating the various themes and create a new drum track to the correct beat. Students will record a song or rap about their perception of today’s music.

Women in Music
Students start by reading universal declaration of women’s rights. Students are broken into 3 person groups and are assigned non-western areas of the world. Students have to research women’s involvement in popular music and culture in their given country or culture. Create a presentation video with music from that area of the world and post via the web.

Students break into video production teams and create lists of questions on censorship. Groups will interview various people in and outside of school about their perceptions on censorship. Half of the students have to edit their video to make it look like people like censorship and the other half of students have to edit their videos to make it look like people hate censorship. Show the videos to more people and get their reactions. Show in class and discuss.

American Idol Assignment.
5 pts everyday students don’t watch American Idol and journal about what happens in reaction to not participating in this pop-culture phenomena.

Review of Robert Maas blog “Why I strongly dislike American Idol.?

Here I attempt to review the English teacher’s view of American Idol. Keep your red pen handy Robert. I enjoy Rob’s straightforward assertive voice. Rob uses many commas in his blog. I hate commas, I never put them, in the right, places, or so says my paperclip friend in the corner. Robert is aware of musical bait and switch American Idol pulls on millions of viewers year after year. Artist to artist, I appreciate this shared perception. If American Idol is the Big Mac of music, then the American Idol video game is the TV dinner. Viewers can save valuable hours by simply playing the game and receive the same scripted drivel from Simon, Randy, and Paula. I tried to sell some Mona Lisa’s I copied at work. I only received confused looks. I told a joke I heard on Conan O’Brien, same result. To think this may be the future of other art forms makes me shudder. Perhaps there aren’t enough snippy Englishmen to make it a reality. I can hope. Let me be clear, jokes are funnier the first time around. A big Mac will never be a steak, no matter how hungry one is. The original is always better than the sequel. American Idol is a business plan. American Idol is more entertaining than traditional corporate streamlining, but no less effective. There is an important difference that was not noted in Rob’s blog is how the money is used. John Lasseter of Pixar once said, “I don’t make movies to make money, I make money to make movies.? American Idol robs us of progress. “I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things.? –Walt Disney.

July 8, 2008

The Matrix has you...a review

The matrix has you…

I think therefore I am. I think not. Who would’ve thought that Cartesian philosophy (among many others) would lend itself to a blockbuster-special-effects-kung-fu-action film? Warner Brothers took a huge risk in giving rookie directors the Wachowski brothers nearly full latitude. The reward has been to the benefit of all parties. The Matrix trilogy gives stimulation on all levels of thought. Matrix trilogy is formed from how Neo embodies three questions. First, who is the one? Second, how do we know he’s the one? Third, are we sure?

We start out with the perception of the green world, the world that has been pulled over our eyes. Thomas Anderson by day and Neo by night, the main character typifies the dualistic nature of life. The Matrix deconstructs evil immediately by defining it as control or an illusion. Thomas Anderson could represent the shadow of Neo the savior. Thomas Anderson isn’t Benito Mussolini, but tacitly accepts and plays along with the illusion of the world that robs the life of every human to give energy to the machines. Complicity to “reality? is synonymous with sin. The first movie sets the stage for the conflicts to come. Human is good, machine is bad. Neo’s quest to understand his growing abilities is told through reflections. How Neo views himself is more important than how anyone else views him, even the “omnipotent? oracle.

The oracle reveals another depth of the messiah complex in Matrix Reloaded. Until this point the viewer is led to believe that the machines are unaware of Neo’s singularity. As Neo prods the oracle and walks the path of “the one?, the viewer learns that the oracle and “the one? are another system of control where by the machines can manipulate choice. The number six represents the number of man in the bible, and it is this iteration of “the one? where Neo makes a different decision than the previous five. In true heroic fashion Neo saves his love from certain doom. Reloaded answers a few questions left open by the previous matrix movie, but takes entirely too long to pose the final and obvious question. If everything we have come to know about the matrix and freedom from it to be false, then what?

Matrix Revolutions makes a sprint to the finish line. Revolutions is analogous to the accession story of Jesus in the Bible. After the disheartening end to human hope Neo rises again to battle the matrix from its epicenter. Jesus of Nazareth was not the messiah until he was the victor over death, which was many days after the crucifixion. I wonder if more people would read the bible if there was a chapter on how Jesus used his highly stylized kung fu to defeat the devil. Neo prevails over the machines and wipes out the smith program from the matrix simulation. Neo gives his life to export the smith code to the machine source for extraction.

The matrix movies quality is inversely proportionate to the amount of money used to create them. Apparently the money was not given to the writers. The dialogue of the first movie was woven with multiple layers of analogies, competing dualities, and philosophic complexities that fertilized discussion in college classrooms across America. As Warner Bros. released more movies, the dialogue simplified, the paraphernalia multiplied, and the fan base let out a collective groan. However, it could have been worse, just look at star wars. Despite the diffusion of quality storytelling, the Wachowski brothers set a new precedent in cinematography and developing a more holistic marketing perspective on storytelling. Every item released within the matrix marketing onslaught told a different part of the back-story from the Animatrix to the various video games released. Movies, video games, cartoons, comic books, Internet, and art are not just various media to tell the same story, but give opportunities to the public to fully investigate the story. The link between video games and storytelling is the new frontier that the Matrix helped cultivate.

The Matrix has a mainstay in popular culture. The Matrix story arc has integrated various forms of media storytelling and incorporated sophisticated philosophical reasoning and analogies. The matrix is now the standard by which all other action films are judged. If ever one grows weary of predictable one-liners in reloaded or revolutions, you can always lose yourself in The Matrix massive multiplayer Internet game experience. But then, the matrix really has you. Isn’t it ironic; I think so.

July 4, 2008

American Idol education

My wife loves Taylor Hicks, which is great because after winning season 5 he has dropped off to relative obscurity, which helps me maintain my ego. American Idol is a brilliant commercial machine. I paid $135 for two seats at the Excel Energy Center to go see an over glorified cover band. Seeing my wife nearly weep because she was near to Taylor Hicks, priceless…to her anyway. Simon, Paula, and Randy, derivative and even stereotypical characters given witty and equally derivative comments to give the impression of reality is a farce. What’s more detrimental than Simon’s lines is the presumption of “reality? TV. I can think of nothing further from reality than winning $1,000,000, a mustang, and private jet for a year just from singing “Hit me with your Best Shot? by Pat Benetar. Maybe we should give another $250,000 to the best air guitarist and send them on tour together.

In looking at the phenomenon American Idol and looking to incorporate it into education I remember this curriculum that came out of the Osseo School district Brooklyn Jr. High School. http://www.hrusa.org/thisismyhome/processmodel2/printpmodel.php?num=155
It’s a well thought out curriculum that has been revamped to include Human Rights elements through www.thisismyhome.org. In a simple way using the American Idol format can give students a light-hearted way to critique various academic disciplines. One of the drawbacks to invoking the imagery is it perseverates social stereotypes that the various judges typify. Most people do very poor impersonations, so thinking about a regular person impersonating a derivative persona; it makes me roll my eyes. The implications to music are also frustrating.

Popular music was formed out of the desire to express oneself despite the regulations of conventional society. American Idol reduces the expression to something that can be sung by any number of people. I think American Idol gives people the impression that originality is overrated. It also only selects music that is represented by the executives of the show like MCA. American Idol is not much more than a televised business model to maximize the prophets of music they own the rights to and interchanging cheaper talent. Sparky, a friend who I refer to often throughout these blog entries was on the Idol tour 3 with Ruben Studard and Clay Aiken. Sparky told me about how the tour is a huge moneymaker. All the people that are hired for the tour get paid less than average and it’s a whirlwind tour playing packed stadiums every night. There are little to no copyrights fees and the talent signed their lives away for a year to get into auditions. To top it off, it culminates in one original song, and it’s usually not even as good as the #1 joke in David Letterman’s top 10 list. American Idol sets a precedent for creativity and popularity that makes me queasy.

To our students who don’t fit the mould of our blonde-hair blue-eyed all-American idol (bhbeaa in texting language), there is no counter cultural encouragement. Even less when considering that if you are truly creative, your best hope is that some twenty-something year old will eventually steal it and perform it. Pop culture and music has limited effectiveness within education but I believe education has an untapped potential to effect pop culture. As teachers we need to find ways to give students authentic experiences and continue to challenge their intellect and creativity.

July 1, 2008

Hip hop Education

Hip-hop in the classroom can be a contentious subject. Many parents and teachers don’t understand the urban subculture. Articles on wikipedia on hip-hop give a good overall picture of the history. Flocabulary and tolerance.org articles give some ideas as to how to implement hip-hop culture and expressions into the classroom. The inclusion of hip-hop in the classroom is not new; in the 1980’s some revolutionaries rapped the preamble to the U.S. declaration of independence. The spread of hip-hop worldwide is considerable. Hip-hop is arguably the most internationally recognizable genre of music.

I am part of a new non-profit called I can U (www.icanu.org). The founder Sparky and I embarked on a mission to use current professional multi-media standards to teach struggling youth. This summer we have our first program of students in a partnership with Brooklyn Center High school. Sparky is teaching 10 students the ins and outs of the music business and audio production that he has accumulated in working with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Earth, Wind, and Fire, to Prince, to Eminem. Hip hop is a large draw and Sparky uses it to get students to express themselves and then teaches them the high level of production needed to communicate their message on a professional level. The program is successful and motivates students that are often over looked.

There is a danger in diminishing the standards. We cannot give into deficit theory. Deficit theory promotes that some people are just not as capable as others by reason of moral, ethical, or cultural defect. Students have achieved high levels of production ability and can continue if supported. Hip-hop taps into an under utilized capacity to memorize, connect, dissect, and evaluate thoughts that are consistent with critical thinking and other authentic learning methods. There is swearing involved and that offends and hinders most teachers from looking beyond poor language. Sparky puts it this way to his class, “hip hop is about communication, and we have to communicate differently to different people. If you are in china, and your hungry… You’re going to have to learn some Chinese to get a big Mac, otherwise your going to go hungry. It’s not that the Chinese are disrespecting you, or trying to make you be something you’re not, they just speak Chinese.?

Hip-hop as a subculture has it’s own form of dance (break, crunk, pop-n-lock, hip hop), its own form of art (graffiti) and language (ebonics, slang). The acceptance of the subculture worldwide gives students a neutral ground to meet and share. It’s important that especially teachers learn this subculture thoroughly because of the broad appeal to students. The danger is that we do not typify hip-hop as “other?. “Other?ing hip-hop culture disenfranchises students from participating in a rich cultural experience. There are different rules for navigating hip-hop and our traditional white male hegemony. That is not to say that all “hip hop? practices are legal or positive. Within the hip hop community debates rage about appropriateness and hip-hop’s effect on youth.

All in all using current media trends is a good motivational and instructional tool. It allows students to think differently making different connections of thoughts through inclusion of music, politics, visual art, and dance. I believe more creativity is a good thing

June 29, 2008

"La la la la! I can't her you": Censorship and responsibility

Censorship is nothing new and growing up in the eighties and nineties I remember a lot of the censorship debates. The connotation that censorship elicits is negative when in actuality we use and need to use censorship everyday. There are various levels of censorship, government, publisher, retailer, parent, and individual. I think any kid I knew growing up could tell the difference between right and wrong.

Kids that had access to NWA, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, or any other detrimental music were cool. Cool kids were those that represented an advanced stage of maturity or closer to being an adult. The natural progression of life is tense where a youth grows to leave his/her nuclear family to start a nuclear family of their own. On the way youth continually try to understand the confines of adulthood by pushing against its borders to find resistance. Since there are few rites of passage within American culture youth often find “adult? indicators that define adulthood. These indicators are offensive music or language, movies, sex, voting, pornography, smoking, gambling, drinking, and driving which all derives their censorship from age restrictions. From a child’s perspective, once you reach a certain age it is logical that as an adult you would engage in all manner of activities listed previously. It is also logical that as a child grows up he/she would experiment with such activities to better understand adulthood earlier. Censorship at a government level is more about communication with parents.

The various levels of censorship have less power the further it gets from the individual and family. Government is a poor vehicle for social issues. Government is a giant hammer and is good for pounding in nails. The proper socialization of the nations youth is too nebulous and sophisticated a problem for the government to remedy. Within censorship debates the government required an ambiguous set of regulations that companies had to communicate honestly about. The mitigating factor to publishers and retailers complicity is and was money. Artists, publishers, and retailers stood lose money because it’s common knowledge that kids spend lots of money on things their parents don’t like. The real missing party who has the most influence is the parents. A pipeline of communication of rating and relationships between the government, retailers, and publishers has been set up to inform parents to make decisions about familial censorship. It seems some parents believe they don’t have to worry about what their child hears because the companies have their best interest in mind.

The time spent during the age restriction on material for youth needs to be time spent developing a media saviness by parents and to a lesser extent, educators. Youth don’t know what they’re digging into with offensive music, violent video games, legal drugs, or even driving. Driving requires education so that a youth can use the tool effectively because there is an inevitability they will have to drive. There is a similar inevitability that our youth with have to make decisions about music, sex, pornography, drinking, drugs, responsibility, and other things that make us uncomfortable to talk about not to mention educate.

We do not want the government to raise our kids. Freedom can only work in conjunction with responsibility. Visual and auditory expressions can influence our emotions and to a lesser extent our actions. If it weren’t so Phish would never sell out a show or inspire so much hash use. Presidential candidates use all the same marketing, communication, and psychological tactics as performance musicians to garner votes from the public. C.S. Lewis provides a strong warning in regards to freedom.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. –C.S. Lewis

June 27, 2008

How the times have changed: Sex, Music, and Consumption

Using videos of Lesley Gore (1960’s) Lil’ Kim and Fiona Apple (early 2000’s) I can gather a rough idea about love and relationships at the time. The cinematography was completely different even beyond the black and white film used in Lesley Gore’s video. In the 1960’s there was probably at most 3 cameras used at the same time and the film crew filmed in one continuous shot making it easier to synchronize the audio and video when editing. Gore’s video is primitive as it tells the story of her relationship woes. Producers of Lil’ Kim’s or Fiona Apple’s video employ sophisticated juxtapositions of shots and special effects to produce an argument about perspective.

How relationships have change previous to the eighties is before my time. Looking at other popular songs on love around the sixties the society was growing out of a much more reserved feeling on love. Through the sixties and seventies there were civil rights, women’s rights, and sexual liberties movements that were influencing pop culture and music. Selecting certain music can give a biased opinion because the thoughts around love, sex, relationships was changing and there were media expressing a multiplicity of thoughts. From what my parents tell me, chivalry was not dead but challenged. Young people still understood social graces and used them in everyday life. When I was growing up in the eighties I remember believing that men and women are essentially on level ground with each other. My mom tried to instill a sense of chivalry in me, but the predominant thought when I was growing up was that it’s antiquated and almost more respectful to women if you don’t hold doors, get up when they leave a table, and other social graces. This was dead wrong! There was also the influx of STD’s and growing up there was a lot of education about protection, abstinence, and how you choose a mate based on sexual experience or lack there of. Much of that rhetoric has dropped from site recently and there is a resurgence of STD’s in youth today after a drop in STD’s in the 80’s and 90’s.

The glut of provocative and even pornographic imagery is everywhere. I think there is a lack of accurate information in the public. Pop music, sensationalized news reporting, and general fears amongst older generations lead to assumptions that may or may not be correct. All our students are readily left with is sensationalized and highly refined consumable products to make a point that might be over their head. I don’t see the majority of students understanding the underpinnings of Fiona Apple’s video. They might grasp that Fiona Apple is confronting her assailant the public, and thumbing her nose at them and inviting the voyeuristic public in to her “controlled? sexual environment especially through shots in the bathtub where the viewer is presumably connected to the mysterious feet. The understanding of control in this context is what is easiest to simplify and misunderstand. Fiona has creative control because she has money.

Lil’ Kim has control because she has money. The hegemony of our dominant culture is still white males. Lil’ Kim could never assert an influence over Bill Gates or even her record label president. The video leads people to believe she could through her sexuality. In fact using sexuality as a consumable product only reinforces the dominant culture and furthers an argument that it’s ok to pay for sex or get paid from it. Lil’ Kim’s video gives voice to this, and adds that she’s going to make money off this popular immoral indulgence and laugh all the way to the bank. The shot that typifies how Lil Kim is in control is her standing legs apart over a man in chair; the man is staring at her crotch. She bluntly depicts the commercialism of her self in shots of various toy versions of her being put together in a factory and latter sold on store shelves. Lil’ Kim is bragging about her product that she has the best line.

June 24, 2008

My music consumption…

My music consumption…
I was fourteen and lost amongst 2,300 other teens in generation X’s and Y’s. Central High School was tough for me in 1994 and who was I. I was not even 5’0? with no identity, I was depressed and I was angry. The raw rough tones of Kurt Cobain in smells like teen spirit started to ring true for me. My parents worried about me and after a psychological evaluation I fit the diagnosis, chronic depression. My mom took me on a tour of schools and I wound up at St. Croix Lutheran HS in West St. Paul. Conservative barely scratches the surface. I once had a friend from Central come to a day at my school; he said “it’s like you go to school at the wonder years.? I was a city kid surrounded by an entirely different community from the diverse urban background I was used to. Greenday, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Rhea Valentine, Collective Soul, and of course the Minneapolis favorite, Soul Asylum provided my personal anthems.
Aside from claiming my individuality with torn jeans, flannel shirts, and anything grunge, the music was the first time my dad and I shared something. Until this point and beyond, all I had with him was challenging scrutiny and criticism through the vehicle of three hour long lectures on the emotional underpinnings of why I didn’t want to wash the dishes on my night. But we shared music and when it came time for presents it was usually CD’s of new bands my dad liked that he wanted to share with me bands like Garbage, Jill Soulbule, Veruca salt, and Bjork. During a Christmas my mom got a Nat King Cole record and promptly put it on. I loved this sound too. Jazz and Chicago blues was music of joining interests with my mother.
The clash of alternative and juvenile rock and blues is an appropriate description of life at home. My father, wildly intelligent and creative, but supremely immature and had an anger problem. My mom the passive enabler who assumed the fury of an emotionally abusive husband is best described by the blues. To tune the dissonance out was my faithful friend Nintendo.
I like most children my age could loose myself in the adventures of Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, and many other characters I could readily assume in a number of five-inch cartridges. With this new media and new community outside the home where Mario Bros. were the shared platform, I could rest. This brought a new was to synthesize all my loves, family, music, art, and technology could all be brought together in video game creation.
Math and computer science was my first major in college because I thought that if I could gain those skills I would be an adequate fit in the growing field of video game design. All the while I would listening to Ben folds five, Natalie Cole, Joe Crocker, Chick Chorea, Metallica, Dave Bruebeck, Dave Mathews band and others all facilitated with napster. During freshman year God found me and my interests sharply changed towards contemporary Christian artists like sonic flood, Audio Adrenaline, and Jars of clay. The high bandwidth the college provided allowed me to have all the free media I could want. My conscious struggled as the legalities of mp3 downloads were challenged. In a moment of conviction, I removed my ill-gotten gains from my hard drive. Just as I freed up space on my computer I was however rerouted by fate to education through art. And now I teach classes in animation, video production, video game design, comic books, drawing, painting, and I get to share my passions with the next generation of creative minds.

June 20, 2008

movies and education

Movies and Education
By Joshua Granlund

Having taught video production and animation classes I look at the problem of relating a teacher’s experience as a complicated task given the limited medium of video and attention. Viewers have a variety of viewing modes that they have adapted over time. I often converse with another friend and educator Sparky who’s primary experience is the professional pop music world. Sparky gave me the insight that the teacher is an interface translating one set of code from one component to another. Teachers, administrators, parents, students, academics all have set codes of communication all of which get funneled to the teacher interface to translate to students. The teacher has to be forward and backward compatible. The compatibility is now largely based on pop culture.

Within entertainment, viewers have an entertainment preset in their mind where they can only keep track of a small number of influencing factors. Weight to influence is given through video by time so viewers can be thoroughly absorbed into particular perspectives. Like this paper, I’m using and loosing the reader’s attention the more I write. This is why most movies and popular articles stick to just one point. The ability to only utilize one maybe two problems within a video gives an oversimplified perspectives, because any teacher is synthesizing tens of factors and perspectives for each child. Jack Black’s character has one mission, to bring a unique experience to privileged children no matter the cost. As a multicultural educator, this is another failure to challenge the dominant culture.

Jack Black embodies the underdog. A rabble rousing, delinquent, fool teaches the wealthiest and most advanced students something they wouldn’t be exposed to but is deemed worthwhile by the students. As a teacher he is controlled, inclusive, knowledgeable, friendly, deceitful, but his deceit is tacitly acceptable or justifiable. The musical style is in lock step with all of Jack Black’s methods.

Rock and roll historically embodies a shift in American consciousness from an adult to youth culture. Rock and roll was the music at the epicenter of youth going against the permission of their parents and challenging authority in general. People started exercising influence by means that evaded the formal systems. Movies like rock music took on a similar credo to challenge the emotions and perceptions of the viewers. Movies should not be authoritative texts for education, but provide and alternative simplified perspective, which is often overlooked in education.

To create a good animation or movie, one has to exercise cross-disciplinary skills at a tremendously high and detailed level. The intrinsic motivation to make something “look right? or “be funny? is so immense that students can perform and execute high levels of understanding in physics, planning, math, technological prowess, and English without realizing it. Teachers often make crappy media to represent themselves or their classes. The impression is from the outside, that if you want to learn how to execute these disciplines successfully you will have to look for help outside of school. Teachers need to be the most media savvy and proficient to accommodate the modern student. At some point all of American education will have to concede that today’s students are more stimulated and proficient with complex object oriented graphical user interfaces than pencil and paper. The teacher once again is the interface to adapt the past evolution of pencil and paper to GUI programs to the student and will not happen if teachers are too stubborn be open to today.

June 14, 2008

What is pop music?

What is pop music?
Pop music is popular at a time and place. The connotation the word elicits is more important than its formal meaning. The selected readings from the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6666725.stm), Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_popular_music), and a Japanese opinion page (http://www.gpwu.ac.jp/~biddle/youth.htm) pointed to trends and history. Common amongst all readings were resulting youth empowerment, female empowerment, shift in power, frustration, amplitude, rhythm, and money. Reading about early American “Black Face? Minstrel shows was interesting because is so nearly resembled today’s infatuation with Black culture in the form of hip-hop. Also, I thought it interesting the wikipedia article didn’t distinguish between bluegrass and country music. In talking with professional bluegrass band “Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike? country music was birthed after Bill Monroe created the “Blue Grass Boys? sound in 1939 and the invention of the amplifier in 1930. As far as Valerie and the other musicians have told me, country music is a combination of Bluegrass and rock n’ roll. The defining difference is the utilization of amplification and drums. Since I know bluegrass musicians I was miffed that the only reference to the music was “hillbilly? music. There’s a joke the band likes, “What’s the difference between a country and bluegrass musician… about $10,000.? This is further supported by the article’s assertion that with loud music, rhythmic emphasis comes financial and popular support. Yuri Mrakadi makes an interesting point about the tension of artistic vision and quality versus business.

"When I used to have a production house, before I started singing, I once had a major artist who came to me and said, I want to do a video clip. "I said OK, we can do that, and I asked about the song. He said: 'No, I don't have the song yet, but I have the car and the villa.' I swear to God! "I said: 'Oh, really. He said: 'Yes, we're ready.'" -Yuri Mrakadi

Yuri Mrakadi hits on the tension of artistry and capitalism within this quote. I agree with Yuri that creating “bling? with no content is artistically frustrating. As much as the youth and individuals desire a genuine expression for an inherent desire to be an individual so do artists desire a canvas. Just like individuals need a family to rebel against to be seen as autonomous, so too does a musician need to both accept and fight business.

As I look over this entry, I can’t help note that I’m listening to my favorite play list on itunes which contain songs and music that evoke a variety of memories that I use to drown out the small attention deficit disordered child in my head crying for gratification or diversion. As I have now turned off the music I notice my finger creep towards the volume button to resume my monologue with theme music. Now scrolling through my play list, which ironically has no blue grass included, I can tell the kind of mood I was in the day I downloaded it and the type of day I was having when I first grew to like the song. Perhaps rather than thinking of pop music as a diversion we can use to slip our students some wholesome education, pop music is a way in which we color our experience deriving a background from pre packaged tiles. Pop music individually is derivative, redundant, and highly commercialized. A single glass tile by itself is boring, but when combined with other boring glass tiles becomes an entirely new mosaic taking on a new larger meaning. Pop music, is the song that jumped out of the speaker at a time, place, and emotion, and perhaps made us realize some simple thing about ourselves in a time and place and combined with other simple reflexive experiences make a play list. Even in my example of Bill Monroe and the “Blue grass boys? being over sighted by wikipedia, I made the assertion because of my relationship with my friends the blue grass musicians not because I particularly like the blue grass boys, but because I like my friends. I think our connection to pop music is similar. It’s not necessarily how popular the song is, as much as it is that the song “popped?.