Friday, October 1, 2010

Music as Motivation

Connecting instruction to student interest is a crucial component in motivating students to learn. Music is one way to create that connection and there are many songs that the classroom teacher can use to introduce concepts in all content areas. This post will focus on social studies, sharing some bibliographies that came from a MAMSE conference (Michigan Association of Middle School Educators) many years ago. These songs were shared by Vincent Calcaterra, an educator at L'Anse Creuse Public Schools in Macomb County, Michigan.

Anything You Want-Roy Orbison (Unlimited wants, needs)
Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind-The Lovin' Spoonful (choice, opportunity cost)
The Road Not Taken-Bruce Hornsby and the Range (trade-offs, opportunity cost) talks about the result of choices made by both the singer and object of his disappointment
Paper in Fire-John Mellencamp (trade-offs, choice)
Look Out Any Window- Bruce Hornsby and the Range (externalities, trade-offs) As we seek new products or increased quantities of existing products, our own desire to satisfy our unlimited wants lead to the production of wastes and residues that, themselves, impose costs.
Please, Please Me-The Beatles (utility, exchange, markets, prices)
Baby, You Can Drive My Car-The Beatles (complimentary goods)
Money for Nothin'-Dire Straits (labor, factor markets, exchange)
Workin' for a Livin'-Huey Lewis and the News (labor, factor markets, exchange)
The Way that You Use it-Eric Clapton (productivity, entrepreneurship, risk)
Money-Barrett Strong or The Beatles (money, scarcity, monetary policy)
If I Ever Lose my Faith in You-Sting (money) The value of fiat money is people's confidence or faith. When people loose their faith or confidence in money, its value and usefulness collapse.
M.T.A.-The Kingston Trio (role of government, fiscal policy, representative government, place, movement, individual rights, historical events, freedom of speech, assembly, petition)
Tax Man-The Beatles (fiscal policy, role of government)
Satisfaction-The Rolling Stones (utility)
You Can't Always Get What you Want-The Rolling Stones (scarcity, wants, needs)
Candy Everybody Wants-10,000 Maniacs (supply, markets, demand, wants)
All or Nothing At All-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (scarcity, wants, risks)
Takin' Care of Business-Bachman Turner Overdrive (wants, scarcity, trade-offs)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World-Tears for Fears (wants, scarcity, trade-offs, utility, decision-making) We want it all and are sometimes upset by the decisions we make to get there. The Problem is, there's always a cost.
Shop Around-The Miracles (choice)

My Sweet Lord-George Harrison (freedom of religion)
Amazing Grace-Judy Collins (freedom of religion)
Tom Dooley-The Kingston Trio (justice)
The Times They are A-Changin'-Bob Dylan (representative government, popular sovereignty)
Contract on Love-Stevie Wonder (rule of law)
This Is My Country-The Impressions (equality, pursuit of happiness)
Keep on Pushing-The Impressions (equality, pursuit of happiness, black pride, civil rights)
Amen & People Get Ready-The Impressions (freedom of religion)
Ohio-Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (individual rights)
Freddie's Dead-Curtis Mayfield (justice)
Gangsta's Paradise-Coolio (justice)
Everyday People-Sly and the Family Stone (equality, diversity)
Someday We'll All be Free-Alicia Keys (individual rights, equality)
Abraham, Martin and John-Dion (equality, justice, truth, diversity)
Cuttin' Heads-John Mellencamp (equality, justice)

Dancing in the Streets-Martha and the Vandella's (location, place)
New York State of Mind-Billy Joel (place)
Chicago-Frank Sinatra (place, location)
My City of Ruin-Bruce Springsteen (place)
This Land is Your Land-Pete Seeger (place, location)
Mercy, Mercy Me-Marvin Gaye (human/environment interaction)
Drive My Car-The Beatles (movement)
American Pie-Don McLean (history, chronology, movement, place)

Foreign policy: Washington Bullets-The Clash; Civil War-Guns-n-Roses; Political Science-Randy Newman
The environment: Big Yellow Taxi-Joni Mitchell or Counting Crows; What's Goin' On-Marvin Gaye; Bogusflow-Beck
Homelessness: Man in the Mirror-Michael Jackson; He Call Home-Candlebox
Child Abuse: Luca-Suzanne Vega; What's the Matter Here?-10,000 Maniacs
Social change: At Seventeen-Janis Ian; Revolution-The Beatles; Smells Like Teen Spirit-Nirvana
Apartheid: Biko-Peter Gabriel; Talk to the People and The Waiting-Johnny Clegg and Savuka
Suicide: Richard Cory-Peter, Paul and Mary; Jeremy-Pearl Jam
Native Americans: After the Buffalo are Gone-Buffy St. Marie; Freedom-Rage Against the Machine

The Battle of New Orleans, Sink the Bismark-Johnny Horton
Auld Lang Syne from Kenny G's "Faith" album
Route 66-Nat King Cole
Alamo-Marty Robbins
The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti and Joe Hill-Joan Baez
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald-Gordon Lightfoot
Allentown-Billy Joel
Youngstown-Bruce Springsteen
Wind of Change-Scorpion
Yellow Rose of Texas-Mitch Miller

So those are the ones included in Mr. Calcaterra's list. I would also add a few:

We Didn't Start the Fire-Billy Joel
Sweet Home Alabama-Lynrd Skynrd
Sunday, Bloody Sunday-U2
Pride in the Name of Love-U2
(Can you sense my love of anything U2? So many of their songs deal with issues of social justice.)
The album Deisel and Dust-Midnight Oil (struggles of the Australian Aborigines)

What songs do you use to connect content to student interest?

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