What is this?
This is a blog about teaching music. This is a blog about popular music. If you want to get wonky, it is a blog about connecting popular music* with music that is typically taught in classical-model ensemble classrooms across the United States.
Why are you doing this?
My primary grad research project was all about teachable pop songs. Yes, I'm aware that just about every pop could be teachable. But upon looking for such things, I was hard pressed to find any lists of popular songs in 3/4 (or 6/8 or 7/4 or 13/8) or a list of Picardy Thirds in pop songs. So for my project, I made a wiki, and then gradually flushed out the wiki content as a blog. This means everyone can access these resources. That's a good thing!
Who is this for?
My intended audience is music teachers, who I hope will be able to use the resources available here in their classrooms. You might have also been redirected here if you are a pop nerd wondering about meter and intervals in Rush songs. I hope you'll like the rest of this blog, too.
What do you write about? I like the song "Six Months in a Leaky Boat". Can you write about that?
I like that song, too. Also, my cat is named "Muffin". The entries contained here are mostly about songs that can be used to teach specific musical concepts, primarily related to melodic, harmonic, or metrical concepts, and/or samples of jazz & classical music. The entries are focused on popular songs with a teachable purpose. Interspersed you'll find longer pieces about the current state of teaching and/or popular music (or teaching popular music), and occasionally some slightly more traditional band & chorus teaching ideas & resources, and even more occasionally some fun stuff.
No one on the internet these days is here without self-interest. What is your ulterior motive?
I'm not that well-organized to have an ulterior motive. If I am trying to sell you something, I'll let you know upfront, and if so, it's because it's something I believe in very strongly and by an author/creator I trust. And I'll write a little bit about my experiences with the goods as well.
I'd love to publish a book one day and continue my education in a number of ways. If you'd like to support those endeavors, you can also buy me the digital equivalent of a cup of coffee.
Wait, who are you again?
My name is Emily and I teach music. More specifically, I teach instrumental (band) and choral music on the middle school level at a South Florida public school. I am a career-long union teacher. I believe in the analysis & practice of popular music in the secondary ensemble classroom. I've believed in this for a long time. I am a graduate of UCF & FSU and both institutions supported my music educational worldview.
I am a member of the Association of Popular Music Education, in addition to several other music education organizations. I am so proud to say that as of February 2018, I am a Little Kids Rock teacher. I believe this to be a life-changing organization and you should learn more about it. I take an unconventional approach to teaching, and I'm glad to share some of my best practices. Sometimes they work.
If you're just dying for it, you can read my CV here.
Welcome to my little corner of the world.
*When I say "popular music" I mean that which is generally released for commercial distribution in the 20th century popular music model. All of which was essentially born of jazz and/or rock & roll, which means it is all music born of the African diaspora.
I don't necessarily mean music that is so popular that students will be familiar with it. The most popular entry on this blog as of late has been about The Stranglers' "Golden Brown", which was a British single from the early 1980s. Kids will be weirded out by that, I promise, so you should play it in class as much as possible.