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Wrecking Ball, Mirrors, Take Back the Night, Roar, Wake me up

Many of you comment that Middle Schoolers want to sing popular songs, but most songs are really, shall we say, "twerky." So what's a music teacher to do? You have to listen a lot! Fortunately, there's a new trend in popular music for songs that are tender, fun, nostalgic, and sweet. Yeah!

I'm going to devote at least a month of posts to songs that will get your kids singing, playing recorder, drumming, and having a hell of a good time in music class. You will see that the latest crop of popular music is truly wonderful. Gone are the days (for now) of lyrics just for shock value. These songs mean something. Finally, we have lyrics that an English teacher can love. I'm so excited to share these songs with you. Let's get started!

I can sing, but I'm selling out just now. 
As mentioned in a previous post, Miley Cyrus seems to be going through a slut phase, but her music is pretty wonderful. Still, if you use a song like "Wrecking Ball," you're going to have to deal with the fall-out over that dang video she made. Now normally, I wouldn't nix a great song because of a video because MTV doesn't really have the same pull on the industry it once had, but this video is nothing more than a skin flick for young men and any encouragement for your students to look up the song on the net will lead to it. That could cost you your job.  CLEAR THIS WITH YOUR ADMINISTRATION FIRST !!!! This is audio only.

It's such a shame. I love that song!

Song #1, "Mirrors" Justin Timberlake.

I adore Justin! He's an amazing artist. I love this song. I listen to it at least every day. It's clean. It's beautiful. The beat is in a great groove. I don't know how one would play this on piano or bring it into the classroom. Perhaps students could make a music video. Perhaps they could compare the form of this to something from Sgt. Pepper.

Anything Justin is great for young men whose voices haven't changed yet. Justin is a tenor. He's got a wonderful Michael Jackson voice but he doesn't creep me out. Some of his songs have swears, but most do not. It seems that Mr. Timberlake is more secure in his place in the music world than Ms Cyrus. He is certainly more mature as a person. I'm very impressed by this singer.

Here's another from Justin Timberlake. "Take Back the Night"

Here are the lyrics. The accompaniment seems pretty straight forward. Perhaps a beginning rock band can do this? Maybe a drum circle and a singing contest with your young men students? Who can sing back-up? Who can do dancing moves while singing? There are choreography opportunities for the class too.

Katy Perry, "Roar"

It's striking me as I assemble this list of songs that you might want to go karaoke with the accompaniments because the drum set is so important to the song. It's also way easier than scaring up the sheet music.

Avicii "Wake me up"
A RECORDER SONG! Seriously, you can teach high D on this puppy. During the chorus, play BB then DD. It's a total scream!  Do it!  So much fun. You can have kids sing karaoke for the verses and then do recorder during the chorus.

If you want to do the entire riff on recorder, it's fun! Kodaly rhythm is ta tim-ri tiki-ti--ki-tiki ta tim-ri tiki-ti ti-ti

Notes are

B  B A BD' B  ABA D'  D' D' E'D'E' F#'D'

Verse can be done on guitar.

Captial Cities "Safe and Sound" NEXT POST!


Mark Hodges said…
This is such a fine line, simply because so many current artists CREATE the controversy on their own (see Miley). It's hard to find anyone who doesn't have some kind of questionable public activity, either in lyrics, videos, or personal life. Gone are the days of the squeaky clean pop star, for better or worse. Thanks for the post!

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