Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blatant Pandering (Music)

I am liking the more trenchant discussion of pedagogy we've got going on with some of the other threads. Per my usual, though, I'm going to lower the bar and give you a (partial) list of the songs I've played before the Intro to Everything class this semester. The request for this initially came from a very KeenFlake. These are mostly available as music videos on youtube. Use as you will. Two valuable musical resources for me have been the blog "Africa Is A Country" and the website "Mideast Tunes"

1. Zola, "Ibutho" (

2. Pype, "Champion"

3. Angelique Kidjo and Joss Stone, "Gimme Shelter"
(nb: The video version of this is actually about Darfur and I'm a bit uncomfortable with how it fits into stereotypes about Starvistan and its neighbors, but I heart Ms. Kidjo bigtime.)

4. Lucky Dube, "Prisoner"

5. Femi Kuti, "Beng Beng Beng"

6. Fela Kuti, "Teacher Don't Teach Me No Nonsense"

7. Pitbull, "Crazy" and "Calle Ocho"

8. Ntando and Nhlanhla

9. The Rolling Stones, "No Satisfaction"

10. Vusi Mahlasela, "Thula Mama" and "When You Come Back"

11. Miriam Makeba, "Qongqothwane"

12. Wasis Diop (vars. live recordings)

13. Dave Matthews with Vusi Mahlasela, "Everyday"

14. "I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing" (Coke song), 1970s version

15. Mirage Town, "Harfe Man"

16. Checkpoint 303, "Streets of Ramallah" (Palestinian Electronica)

17. Charlie Parker, "Yardbird Suite"

18. Sam and Dave, "Hold On, I'm Comin'"

19. Papa Wemba, "Ye Te Oh" and "Wake Up" (the latter w. Koffi Olomide)

20. Mafikizolo, "Kwela"

21. U2, "Where the Streets Have No Name," (live version from Slane Castle, what are we listening for? The Edge's harmony. Excellent, you've been paying attention.)

22. K'naan "Wavin' Flag" (Spanish version)

23. Shakira and Freshly Ground "Waka-Waka" (Spanish version)

24. Kanda Bongo Man, "Lela-Lela"

25. Small Island Pride, various (through the Smithsonian Sound Archive)

26. Tinashe, "Zambezi" (Reports that it was "stuck in my head, like, ALL DAY!")

27. Tarkan, various.


  1. I don't usually play music before classes, but I am currently fantasizing about playing "Cryin' Like a Bitch" by Godsmack before my class tomorrow night which is full of the biggest bunch of whiners!

  2. > "Cryin' Like a Bitch" by Godsmack

    How about, "You've Got Another Thing Coming," by Judas Priest? ;-)

  3. We don't need no education.
    We don't need no thought control.
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
    Teachers, leave the kids alone.

  4. Day 1 of my FroshComp this year I played "Book Report(Peter Rabbit)" from _You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown_. It's a little long, but they often recognize themselves in the characters.

  5. I have the hardest time not breaking into Riffraff's solo from Rocky Horror at the beginning of each new class. You know - "I'm your new commander, you now are my prisoners, we return to Transylvania - prepare the transit BEEEAAAMM ..."

  6. This may sound completely fucking crazy, but in class I just teach Business Ethics. I don't play CD or show movies.

    I must be a fucking idiot.

    Turn it up, Black Dog!!!!

  7. My colleague in Sociology opens every 75 minute lecture with a 3-4 minute rock song that captures the theme of the lesson that day. So, when they cover sexual violence and domestic abuse, she starts the day with Sting's "I'll be watching you" or Rihanna's new song "Love the Way you Lie." Then she talks about why that song captures the theme and it provides a launching point into lecture.

    She offers a single point EC for students who come across pop songs connected to themes in the class. They have to write 300 words on why the song captures which theme. And it's one point out of 1000 points. Negligent, right? But the 18 year old kids really respond to it. They submit songs, complete with lyrical analysis and references to the reading, in droves. And it gives everyone a few minutes to stop talking, get your books out, etc, and listen to the lyrics trying to guess what today's topic might be. Once the music stops, she smoothly begins lecture without those normal beginning-of-class sounds, stragglers, or shuffling.

  8. Merely Academic...that's hilarious. We do listen to "Sweet Transvestite" sometimes when I do gender stuff. But now I'll be channeling my inner Magenta more often...

    Academic Monkey...I've definitely found the music helps smoothly start lectures. It goes off, they're ready to pay attention, and they're curious about what they've just seen/heard.

    Tim...Business students usually get why business is important (it makes you money). That's obvious from the start. My students seem to need a little bit of help thinking about how what I teach is relevant to them, and the music helps.

  9. Since B-students are the biggest cheaters on campus, Tim probably needs every moment of class time for his ethics lessons.

  10. I'm highly offended at the attacks on B-School students. There's no question that Surly Temple's comments are against the rules Fab has posted, and I expect the comment to be deleted immediately. I don't think the rules should be flexible and only used against those who tell the truth.

    Thank you.

  11. @BlackDawg - Happy Halloween, first of all (as usual, I'm eating all the darned candy myself, because young children are too terrified to knock on my front door). You and I are in quasi-related disciplines, from what I can gather. But I don't know how I would use music at the beginning of my version of the Intro to Everything class without complete chaos breaking out. I'm not sure I'd ever get them to settle down. But I have thought about it, because there are certainly subject areas where it would make sense.

    How about, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If you Wanna Rock 'n Roll)" (AC/DC)? I mean, it worked for Jack Black. Why isn't real life like the School of Rock?

  12. Tim (not Jim): if business ethics is your gig, you may want to consider showing a documentary or two. May I suggest WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR and Sut Jhally's ADVERTISING AND THE END OF THE WORLD? Since we all spend far more time visually engaged than (print)textually engaged, your students may pick up an ethics truth via a video source that they'd struggle with otherwise...

  13. TNJ, it ain't slander if it's true. Biz majors cheat more than students in other majors.

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  15. (edit for spelling)

    Okay...Prof Snugglebunny. I play the music as the kiddos are filtering in, and maybe into the first two or three minutes of the class. Then I turn the lights down slightly (or up slightly, depending on what we're doing). I've come to think of it as being Pavlovian at this point. It seems to work best with my super-big lecture classes and less well, for some reason, with my smaller classes. I guess the smaller classes are less passive and are not standing by for mind control?

    Tim, I hope that you didn't read my comment as an attack, but more as a statement of my experience with students and my own classes in business. I knew what I was getting. It was like calculus. I am taking this class to learn how to run a business better, and I'm taking this class to learn how to calculate the area under the curve and that kind of stuff. With some disciplines, it's a bit of a mystery for students as to why they are there...often they take it because it "sounds cool" or because it's required.

  16. In one of my classes (off the main campus), I get usually get there very early. So, I turn on the AV stuff and pipe in a classical/nuevo flamenco guitar-oriented station that I created in Slacker. Seems to sooth the folks as they come in... prior to handing back their weekly essays!

  17. I don't think music adds anything to the class, to be honest, but I'm a stick in the mud who'd rather listen to my own music on my own time than be subjected to pop music or someone else's idea of good tunes. However, I'm a too-serious grad student, not a fun-loving youngster.

  18. I would play industrial music like Throbbing Gristle or Laibach* and the harsher the track the better; at the very least it should wake up the little trolls!


    * I'm talking pre-"Jesus Christ Superstars", Warsaw Pact-era Laibach, not the crap "subversive" Eurodisco outfit they are now. Similarly with Throbbing Gristle I would never play "AB/7A" or any of their smoother-sounding electronica; it would be stuff like "Subhuman."

  19. Henry Rollins Band - 'Liar'. Also definitely wakes up the kids before class.

  20. For the record, since you mentioned "Spem in Alium," I've listened to it about twenty times. It's pretty incredible.


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