During my lesson today, we listened to a variety of songs from the 1960s. We’re studying “The Outsiders” (if you have never read this, please, please, please do. I promise it’s fabulous. I will only confess love for “The Pearl” to students to persuade them to please (please, please) actually do their reading).
Anyway, the students listened to the songs and then had to connect the lyrics to particular moments in the novel or to describe the characters. They had alot of fun with it and had fabulous analysis.
The thing that was not so fabulous? The fact that this was the first time many of them had heard any of the artists! The students had heard of many of the artists—Elvis, The Beatles, The Who, Steppenwolf, etc.—yet had not heard the songs.
During my first hour, I had only one student who ever heard an Elvis song. During other hours, the only reason why the students recognized “The Who” were either because they either A.) Played at the Super Bowl a few years ago or B.) Heard “My Generation” in the movie “Austin Powers.”
I was shocked by this. I know that the majority of students prefer Beiber over The Beatles (yikes!). Yet I didn’t anticipate that a childhood with Eminem could entirely eliminate knowledge of Elvis.
Like many 80s babies, I grew up with a wide array of musical interests (and, of course, ensembles). I can honestly say I enjoy all music (minus death metal). However, I wonder if it’s also because I grew up aware of a wide range of music. My iPod contains samples from each decade—from Bing Crosby to the Beatles to Billy Joel to Bruce Springsteen to the Backstreet Boys to, yes, Beiber.
Will the students of today be stuck on the same style? Do your music preferences span many decades? Do you believe Justin Beiber is this generation’s Beatles?