Monday, September 17, 2007

Kids in America

We're the kids in America.
We're the kids in America.
Everybody lives for the music-go-round.
--Kim Wilde, "Kids in America"

Sometimes I think that Sal Paradise was right
Boys and girls in America
Have such a sad time together.
--The Hold Steady, "Stuck Between Stations"

Perhaps, in some way, while The Hold Steady were alluding to Jack Kerouac on their latest album, they were also, subconsciously or not, giving a nod to 1981 hit-mistress Kim Wilde. But, that is not what I come here to tell you about.

I have been transitioning my classes, during passing time, with a little music. Partner Teacher used to play music during passing time, and a few others used to sling the tunes at my old salt mine, and I thought I would carry on the tradition. It makes me a bit unique here at the new salt mine. I don't hear anybody else doing it.

I have been trying to play diverse stuff. So far, I think I have managed to do that. I haven't been playing much of my personal faves, yet. I thought I'd work up to that. I wanted to start them off with more "traditional" or even familiar stuff, first. For some of them, it may not be familiar at all; it may be the first time they heard some of these folks. This week it gets a little different.

Here's the artist list so far:

Week One (all classical, a little Friday jazz):
Medeski, Martin, and Wood

Week Two (Jazz and Blues):
Sarah Vaughn
Dinah Washington
Ella Fitzgerald
Bessie Smith
Alberta Hunter

Week Three (Folk and Country):
Lyle Lovett
Bruce Springsteen
Waylon Jennings
Pete Seeger

Week Four (Soul and R&B):
Al Green
Earth Wind and Fire
Otis Redding
Michael Jackson

This Week (Alternatives?):
The Ramones
Meat Puppets
Mazzy Starr
Will Johnson
The Beatles

I'm thinking of accompanying the music with a little hand out on each artist, or maybe linking a warm-up writing to the songs, but, mostly, I just like to play a little music. If they like it, if they get interested in any of it, that's great, but mostly, I just do it because I like it.


Ethan said...

:D I love it when my Teachers play music, or at least let me listen to my music while writing/reading/Doing math.

I'm sure the Students will appreciate it, and if you happen to be the only teacher that does it, that also makes you unique and an example to the others.

Hope that the new schools working out, William and I were discussing you today during Brit Lit.

Have a nice day

ATR said...


Late last week, I came across that Neil Gaiman poem you shared with me last year, about the again brought a smile to my face. Take care, brother.

comoprozac said...

How is this going over with the savage sophomores?

Phil Overeem said...

I fully support this practice. I think data supports that it increases student achievement, and if it doesn't, well f*ck it!

I have done it for years and it's at least good for ME before I start a class.

Last year I did a Brit Lit songwriter series where we focused on the lyrics of particular stylists--doing it this year, too. Gives 'em good analytical practice, particularly as it applies to the ideas of style and theme. American Lit--what a cornucopia!!! It's just trying to get to the modern era to get a good start.

Phil Overeem said...

One more thing: Ethan and William should not be using class time to be thinking about you. They need to be thinking about me!

Also, in a related item, why is "narcissism" a tag for your original entry? Ouch.

Jami said...

Speaking of Neil Gaiman, I read "Anansi Boys" this summer and loved it.

I am also a huge fan of playing music in the morning. Right now I am dreaming of the day when I can play Josie Cotton's - Convertible Music.


ATR said...


You should know by now that you can't control their minds. "Narcissism" is my own tag. Yes, most of the entries (almost all) are about me, but some of them are particularly narcissistic. I am just having some fun with myself.


The savage sophomores, due to my traveling from classroom to classroom in the afternoon because of the schedule, do not get treated to soothing tones. I hope, with a schedule change, to do some sonic experiments with them next semester.


You play what you like.

Anonymous said...


We've been trying to locate past Fellows, and no one seems to know your email address. Can you send me an email?