Emotional attachment to music is a double-edged sword in classroom

You remember it like it was yesterday. The first time you heard this song it instantly struck a chord with you and you listened to it on repeat until you had it memorized. It might define a moment in your life but to your students, it doesn’t mean anything. Keep that in mind if you choose to present it in class.

This isn’t just a pop music concept. I performed in a chorus that sang Brahms’ Requiem in college and it will always hold a special place in the canon for me based on the awesome tenor part and the experience I shared with the folks around me. But my students didn’t share that experience, so when I talk to them about it I point out the really cool tenor line and we break it down like any other piece.

When I get to a concept that holds a special place in my heart, I always tell my students about it and why. It shows them that music can be a deeply personal thing that can connect people on a deeper level. Whether it’s the song you listened to during basketball warm-ups before every game (Nelly’s “Ride WIth Me”) or the album that touched you after the September 11th attacks (Springsteen’s The Rising), it’s okay to share this information with students. It shows you’re human in addition to the power of music.

Music can be such a personal experience and when you have a revelation, you want everyone to share it. But each of your students are different and in different places in their lives. Most of my students weren’t born when the Twin Towers fell so it’s not going to be as emotional for them as it is for me when I listen to music from that time period. It’s one more thing to keep in mind when valuing your curriculum.

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Emotional attachment to music is a double-edged sword in classroom

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