May 2010 Archives

Assignment #2 - Uninspired

Music has become important to so many different business ventures. Its sole

purpose is no longer tied to just music for music's sake. Music is now used to push

products and to push sales. It can't be just any music though. It has to be the hot, now,

popular music of today. Due to this tie between music and business, I fear that music

has lost its purity in some ways.

To be successful in music, you need more than just talent. It would seem that

in order to be successful, by today's standards, one needs to be physically attractive

and doesn't necessarily need to have the greatest voice either. The more attractive you

are also seems to be tied to the more success you'll have in your career. Success also

depends upon exposure, and to get exposed, an artist would need to be made available

to the masses. This is where MTV comes into picture. To become a Top Ten hit would

be "...in part because of its MTV exposure" (Garofalo 296). However, since MTV is "in

essence, a visual radio station" (Garofalo 294), the more attractive you are, equates to

increased video/song success (Garofalo 297). It would appear that the ever increasing

relationship between music and visual aesthetics, creates a lost opportunity of being

exposed to true, pure, and great music/talent because the artist may lack in their

physical attractiveness. Is all the wow and flash worth the price we may be paying?

I'm wondering if all of this wow and flash may be distracting us from the reality

of the music we are listening to? As well as how much is too much when it comes to

showmanship? It has been shown that the wow and flash of it all definitely helps one's

chances at being successful. Elton John "added a bit of spice to the

mainstream" (Garofalo 250) in the seventies when the majority of music and artists were

quite bland. He had seven number one albums, and got himself noticed and talked

about especially because of his costumes and "wild array of custom-made

eyeglasses" (Garofalo 250).Today we have the crazy wardrobe antics of Lady Gaga and

the theatrics show (dancing, lights, fireworks) of Usher. Lady Gaga sings in Bad

Romance, "I want your ugly, I want your disease. I want your everything as long as it's

free", while Usher sings in OMG, "Honey got a booty like pow pow pow. Honey got

some boobies like wow, oh wow." Showmanship on the artist's part, and the

overpowering instrumental music, overshadow what seem to be uninspired lyrics in

many of today's most popular songs. It would be sad to think that someone in a remote

area of Africa or Asia might be listening to these exact songs and think, "Hmmmm, the

United States of America only seems to care about sex no matter the consequences,

and how big a females booty and boobies are. "It has become more about dance music

and less about the lyrics. This too makes me wonder if once again, we are missing out

on a very important opportunity in using our songs to inspire and discuss.

Music should be an experience. You should be able to dance to it and have

fun, but when does it go to far? These days it really doesn't matter if you can sing, as

long as you look good doing it. They can always lip-sing if needed. Artists are also killing

themselves in live shows to put on a "show". If they do sing live, it's wrecked because

they're running around so much. I would much rather listen to an artist sing while sitting

on a stool so I can enjoy their gift of singing.

In closing, I'm wondering if we are taking advantage of the opportunities that

we have in our lives and forgetting about the opportunities we have to use music as a

tool to enhance our lives? It was Nelson Mandela who said, "Your message (music) can

reach quarters not necessarily interested in politics, so that the message can go further

than we politicians can push it" (Garofalo 320).

Assignment #2 - Lesson with Music Integration

Below are some websites that I found most useful during my search.

1. http://www.tc.umn.edu/~rbeach/linksteachingmedia/chapter7/7p.htm

The Value of Studying Music
"The appeal of music relates to adolescents' use of music for a range of different purposes..." including information about cultural issues.

2. http://www.nclrc.org/teachers_corner/classroom_solutions_yana/teaching_culture.html#music_classroom

- Is it a good video?
- How can I use this video?
-Enrich the learning experience not just with music, but with food, drinks, costumes
- Don't just make it a one time occurrence. Use music throughout the entire day (morning work, quiet time, etc.)
- Watch a video of people from the culture performing musically
- Discuss and analyze their thoughts and wonderings

3. http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/jan05_music.htm
Music in the classroom, by Jennifer O. Prescott
- Reinforce basic math facts by making up new words to well-known songs
"Because all the kids are involved in teaching and learning, it's less work for the teacher, and it's fun and gets the job done."
- Phonemic awareness
To the tune of hokey pokey
"train"
You take the t out and put a g in, you take the r out, and look at what you have. you put the sounds together and you try to sound it out. What is the new word kids? Gain!
- "Music promotes wonder"

4. Music Activities and Teaching Tips
http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/instructor/popups/musictips.htm

Have children sing the following song to the familiar tune of "The Wheels on the Bus." For each stanza, segment a three-phoneme word such as sun, rug, duck, bug, cup, fun, nut, run, or luck. Invite children to orally blend the sounds and shout the whole word when the stanza is complete.
The sounds in the word are /s/ /u/ /n/; /s/ /u/ /n/; /s/ /u/ /n/.
The sounds in the word are /s/ /u/ /n/; shout the word out loud!

5. Music Resources for Teachers
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/music/teacher-resources/6647.html
- printable, clipart, lesson plans, ss, science, math, reading, pe/health, foreign languages

Lesson: Chinese New Year

* Play traditional Chinese New Year music in the am during morning work.

Introduction:

When is our new year? What does our new year stand for? Do you know if there is more than one new year? The Chinese culture also have their own New Year celebration that they celebrate.

Middle:

Chinese New Year is a 15 day celebration. The last day of the celebration is called the Lantern Festival in which lanterns are lit at night and children walk in a parade carrying lanterns. They follow a lunar calendar and because of this, they Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year. It is celebrated as a time with family, reunion, and thanksgiving.

Symbols (Have these available)
: Plants/Flowers = Rebirth
: Oranges/Tangerines = happiness
: Candy tray arranged in a circle or octagon = Togetherness

Music during the Chinese New Year plays a very important part in creating the excitement and atmosphere of the celebration. They believe that music created harmony and is also a representation of togetherness. Traditional Chinese music is a combination of instrumental and vocals. There are eight different classes of musical instruments that the Chinese use: gourd, bamboo, clay, metal, silk, stone, skin, and wood. Drums are used most often during this celebration.

Popular songs
: Chinese new year
: Dancing dragon and phoenix
: Videos courtesy of YouTube
- Lantern fesitival
- English version of the 2010 New Year song
- Gung Hay Fat Choy
- Drums
- Chinese version

Conclusion:

- Discuss their thoughts and wonderings about Chinese music.
- Sing Gung Hay Fat Choy

Art Projects
: Create a Chinese drum
: Chinese symbol with the translation of their name in Chinese(google/translate) and description of the symbol/
: Paper lanterns
: Dragon

Lyrics:
Sing: Gung Hay Fat Choy - Chinese New Year Song
(wishing you good fortune and happiness)
Chinese New Year
http://www.nancymusic.com/Gunghayplay.htm

Sing as a finger-play with the simple hand motions, or pass out rhythm instruments and have children play on the chorus. Or you use as a circle dancing, holding hands and walking around on the chorus, and stopping to make hand motions on the verses).

Chorus:
(keep a rhythm patting hands together one hand up, then the other)
Gung Hay Fat Choy, Gung Hay Fat Choy
Sing Happy New Year, Gung Hay Fat Choy

1. The new moon tells us, exactly when
(hold up one hand in C shape for crescent moon)
To celebrate with family and friends (clap hands in rhythm)

2. Clean up the house and get out the broom (pretend to sweep)
Sweep out the old year, bring in the new

3. Bring out the apples, the oranges too (hold out one fist, then the other)
Their colors bring us joy and good luck too

4. The dragon dances, the lanterns light
(place hands together, and snake around )
The firecrackers light up the night
(alternate right and left fist out with fingers opening quickly to mimic shooting fireworks).

Leslie Gore, Fiona Apple, and Lil' Kim

| 1 Comment


Music is a funny and tricky thing. While listening to it, you have a decision to make.

You can choose to either listen to the instrumental part of it, or, you can choose to listen

to the lyrics. While listening to Leslie Gore: It's My Party, Fiona Apple: Criminal, and Lil'

Kim: How Many Licks, I too fell into this trap. For me, the instrumental part of songs

always takes over and I find myself dancing to the beat. But, I had to actually stop

myself and also listen to the lyrics. When I did, I went from feeling let down (It's My

Party) to extremely appalled and disappointed (How Many Licks). In my opinion, none of

these women are a good role model because none of them portray a healthy

relationship with a man, and at the same time, they are not empowering women nor

creating a woman who is living with good moral values.

In Leslie Gore's song "It's My Party", she is taking on the victim status and

uses the notion that she needs a man to make her happy. I don't know the story behind

this song. Whether her and Johnny were dating, were fooling around, maybe he played

her, or maybe she just had a crush on him and never told him. Either way, she is

placing all her happiness on a guy "...till Johnny's dancing with me, I've got no reason to

smile." She is not taking charge of her own happiness.

In Fiona Apple's song "Criminal", she seems to be taking charge of her

sexuality and wants to be empowering, but doesn't know where to go with it or even how

to do it. Due to this, she does not have a healthy relationship with a significant other.

Through sarcasm, she toys with the idea that it's okay to "break a boys' heart just

because she can". She also doesn't want to take responsibility for her "sins", and

instead needs a "good defense". She's acting like her actions are not her fault and

doesn't want to admit to the repercussions of her actions. She also claims that she

needs to "make a play to make her lover stay". So instead of being honest, upfront,

apologetic, and actually wanting redemption, she wants an easy way out like a wolf in

sheep's' clothing. She also states that "he's all I've ever known and loved". If that is how

she treats someone she loves, I would hate to see how she treated someone she didn't.

Throughout her entire song she says that all she wants is forgiveness, but she's truly

doesn't. If she was sorry, she wouldn't be prancing around half naked, and acting highly

sexual towards others who are not her "lover". In other words, I agree with Mark

Zeltner when he said in his article, Fiona Apple's Criminal Video: Voyeurism for the '90s

"her actions betray her words".

Now we're onto Lil' Kim....YUCK! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for women

empowerment and women taking charge of their sexuality, but I think there is a time and

a place for it. I'm the "one man for one girl" type, and he's the only one who's going to

truly know me, and that includes my sexual side. I think that if you've got a bit of freak in

you, that is okay, but once again, that's something that only you and your significant

other should know. So to see and hear a women talking so vulgar about her sex life and

acting it out, really grosses me out. I get the whole idea that Lil' Kim is reversing the

roles on us, and that she thinks it's empowering her and other women, but in my opinion,

one should not have to degrade them self to get respect. She's wearing just her

underwear in the majority of the video, participating in crude and suggestive dancing,

and promoting the use of derogatory racial names and illegal activities. On top of that,

she's making molds of her ENTIRE SELF (vagina included) to say that we should all be

like her.

From the sound of my blog, one might say that I'm a prude or that I'm over-reacting to

the art of it all, but I'm looking at it from a teacher's, from a mother's, and from an

independent and self-confident woman's point of view, and these videos and lyrics are a

huge let down. Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone should be ashamed of their

sexuality, but I don't think that one should overly flaunt it either. In my opinion, these are

not good role models for young girls and women, and do not portray a healthy

relationship between significant others. I would not want any young lady watching these

videos or listening to any of these lyrics and say to herself, "Oh, so that's normal and it's

okay to act that way." I want a role model for young women out there to be strong,

confident, independent, and who has good morals and tries to be a good person. I want

them to see someone who is successful and strong, and who makes mistakes, because

we all do, but I also want young ladies to see them learning from their mistakes and

triumphs, and that they take those lessons to become better themselves.

Why Teaching Popular/Cultural Music Is Important

Why Teaching Popular/Cultural Music Is Important
As a teacher in today's educational system, we are constantly striving to provide

rigorous and quality education to each student. I believe that popular/cultural music

provides us, as educators, with a unique tool to really connect with the students on their

level, both academically and socially. Popular/cultural music will provide them with an

outlet that will allow them to immerse themselves into their education.

"Rock'n'roll is targeted at youth" (Garofalo 1) and this is the very idea that we

want and need to utilize in education today. We need to target the students educational

needs to teach to the student, for the student. The fact is that popular music is geared

towards the youth and since they already like it and enjoy it, so why not use it as a tool

to get students involved more deeply into their education. If we can use this pre-existing

enthusiasm to our benefit, it will only make teaching easier for all parties involved. We

can use music in many different ways in the classroom to enrich our lessons as well as

to reach different learning styles.

I want students who go through my doors to be able to connect to music. To see

and understand it as more than just music. Music makes so many connections to the

academic world, and it's a shame that it's not more widely used. You can re-create the

excitement that one has about music into reading, writing, math, history and many other

content areas. Since music is "notated, it requires a certain literacy and training for its

performance" (Garofalo 2). Students will be excited to learn how to read the music they

like and therefore, that excitement will spill over into other academic areas because the

same principles apply when it comes to reading, whether it is music, printed text, or

keeping time.

Music can also be used to set the ambiance of a time era. By adding music to

your curriculum, you can teach history and culture by re-creating the mood and allowing

the students to make a personal connection. According to Gerald Graff, University of

Chicago Magazine: "Clouding the Issues", in the current educational system "culture is

often made to appear so remote and artificial that students have trouble" making a

connection from the content to their personal life. Therefore, they miss out on a

profitable learning event that could have made their learning experience pure and

meaningful for them.

The main goal of education is to educate the students, to have them graduate

from high school, to then go to and graduate from college, and lastly, to enter the world

and become successful adults who, contribute positively to society. In our highly

technologically advanced world, our students need to be at the forefront of technology if

we, as educators, want them to be successful. Music can provide us with this type of

education as well as being a highly interactive tool to get the students involved in their

education. Music can be used to express what they have learned (whether it's through

song writing, performing, video creation, etc.) while at the same fine-tuning their

technology skills which will only make them more marketable in their future.

I know that music is a powerful tool, and that it can be used to enhance

learning.In this class, I would like to learn more about how I can use music throughout my

lessons.

Garofalo, Reebee. Rock'in Out. New Jersy: Pearson Education, 1997.

1st Time

So...I just set up my blog for our class and I have absoluetly no idea what I am doing (HA). =) I'm flying by the seat of my pants and I'm excited to learn more about this so-called "blog world" and exploring the use of music in education. Till May 24th!

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