Though I had originally planned to launch this blog today, that plan was conceived before the passing of one of the most successful rebels in 20th century popular music. Prince defied norms of every sort, succeeded in nearly everything he did, and as a result, the outpouring from music lovers has been tremendous. I had a student who was crying in my class on Friday morning as we were discussing the loss (and I showed my kids the video footage of Prince performing at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show).
I also, sadly, did not have an entry ready to go regarding music theory found among Prince songs. I will remedy this quickly.
In the spirit of this blog and any teacher who seeks to connect the academic to the popular music world, I would be remiss if I did not mark the passing of such a legendary artist. My personal favorite way to remember any artist is in the company of the Muppets. This particular TV episode even brings Prince into the classroom.
Rest in Harmony, Prince Rogers Nelson.
(And yes, you must watch this entire thing, because it includes Prince in a cornfield, surrounded by Muppets and an alligator, and wearing what I assume is a foam cowboy hat. Holy moly.)
I'm not crying, you're crying.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: as my students are preparing for their spring concert and learning concepts through the lens of popular music, I discussed vibrato & melisma through the examples of 1990s pop singers today with my chorus. This, of course, led to playing both Whitney Houston's and Dolly Parton's renditions of "I Will Always Love You" and comparing their use of vibrato and melisma, especially within the context of their particular genres. You know, typical Monday when there are too many kids out of class for testing to really rehearse.
The best Parton rendition I found on the YouTubez featured Dolly on the set of a show similar to Hee-Haw. I tried to explain to my students the concept of a country variety show, and then in a flash, I realized I had to show them this video of Prince doing a crazy Southern accent on a fake Muppet Hee-Haw show. There's definitely some exploding brains in there somewhere.
Conclusion: technology is amazing and so are my kids. And so was Prince, and his influence exists in every corner of popular music.