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Akira
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jonnybfbi
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« on: July 03, 2008, 03:11:43 AM »

So I got a job teaching at a summer camp in Tokyo. I'll be teaching elementary and high school students for four weeks in August. The high school program is meant to be English immersion, so the students learn music, art, and science all in English. Thanks to my time at NYU studying composition and clarinet, I am the music guy.

Here is where I would like some advice from the community. I will have about two hours a day of music with these kids, which is a lot of time over a month. The first hour is listening/lecture and theory, then the second hour will usually be singing, composition, performance, and other fun stuff. For the listening section, I need to make a list of dozens of songs to demonstrate various aspects of music theory.

Which is why this thread is for music nerds. I want some suggestions for interesting music that can teach high school and elementary students. Since I have total freedom, I can pick whatever I want. However musically, I am not an expert on every genre, and diversity is extremely important. Most Japanese school kids have crappy taste, listening to boy bands, idols, or bland J-pop. If I make the list all by myself, it'll be nothing but obscure string quartets by Shostakovich, Dave Brubeck, and old reggae songs. (my folks are Jamaican). My real weakness is rock/metal/techno.

HIGH SCHOOL

I need a few songs for each topic. Some ideas are below, but this list is far from complete; I haven't even decided on every topic, so you can suggest some new ones.

How music creates images - Themes from Superman and Batman
Melody - Mozart, Mozart, and some more Mozart
Harmony - Besides Brahms, "It's in His Kiss" by Betty Everett, or maybe something by the Pipettes.
Tempo and Time - "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
Intervals - I and V "Song Against Sex" by Neutral Milk Hotel
Intervals - I, IV and V - "Date with the Night" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Pressure Drop" by Toots and the Maytals. Honestly, this could millions of songs. I just need some variety.
Relative Minor - "Crazy" by Gnarls Barley
Minor IV (the sad chord) - "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera, any Disney song, etc.
Vocal and Instrumental Texture - **Just need a variety of singers and orchestrations here** Deerhoof, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Bob Marley, random J-Pop singer, intense metal singer, etc.
Modulation - The Theme from "Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers" (I'm...having some trouble with this one outside of classical music)
Circle of Fifths - "I Want You Back" by the Jackson Five
Modes - "So What" or "In a Silent Way" by Miles Davis
Whole Tone Scale - "Cvalda" by Bjork, some Debussy
Chromatics - "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin
12 Bar Blues / Progression (big topic) - "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Halley & the Comets, "Cinderella Rockefella" by Esther & Abi Ofarim, "We are Going to be Friends" by The White Stripes, again, millions of possible songs
Lyrics - (This will be a whole day. I need about ten songs. Could be a good spot for rap.) "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five / "I Can" by Nas
Visuals and Music - ***Suggestions for interesting music videos. I almost never watch TV and I don't have time to check stuff out online. I have no idea what's out there these days. I liked "Thriller," "It's Oh so Quiet" by Bjork, "

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - They will be doing much more simple stuff. I have to teach them mostly in Japanese since their English level is so low. Really, they'll just be listening and drawing and playing games. Any suggestions from some trippy songs for kids aged 5 - 10? I was thinking of doing nothing but Radiohead and "Never Gonna Give you Up," but that might be cruel.

If you can recommend some songs and suggest what they can be used to teach, I would be pleased as punch. I will sample them or download them later to see if they work. In return, I'll post some pictures/funny stories when the camp is over.

If I do well, I may get a full-time gig next fall teaching music, which is the next best thing to being a full-time writer/editor/translator/video game designer/not high school English teacher, which I am now. Thanks in advance.
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D-Rider
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2008, 09:32:28 AM »

For harmony, you'd be crazy not to use an early Queen song of some sort.  They're pretty much all multi-tracked odes to third interval harmony, whether it be vocals or guitar.  "March of the Black Queen" or "Bohemian Rhapsody" are two obvious choices.

Pretty much every early rock song has a I-IV-V chord progression.  You should just pull shit off this big-ass list.  Several of those would work for your twelve bar blues topics as well.

Being RPGFan's metal expert, I could probably name a dozen songs to fit each of your categories, but I don't have time now. :P  If you want to use some metal tunes, then I can at least give you a short rundown of what defines metal:

-It's riff-based
-It makes heavy use of pedal points/pedal tones
-It's almost exclusively written in either minor or chromatic keys
-It gets more use out of tritones that any other form of popular music
-It tends to make use of Aeolian and Phyrgian modes, with the occasional Dorian; the other modes are a little too sharp and happy to get much use in metal

If any of those things sound like something you'd be interested in exploring, then congratulations on opening the floodgates. :P
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Akira
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jonnybfbi
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2008, 07:43:56 PM »

Thanks for the response. I plan to use "Bohemian Rhapsody" actually, though more as an example of composition structure since it is has such defined sections - intro, theme, solo, operetta, etc. But it totally works for harmony of course. That huge list you posted is great too; I have many of those songs on my computer, but I never considered them because I can't remember every song I have all the time.

The issue I have with metal and rock in general is that I really don't even know what definies one genre or another. I try not to worry too much about labels, but I would hate to play like, Blackflag or Metallica or something and find out they aren't considered "Metal" or "Hardcore" or whatever they call them these days.

I didn't know that metal uses so many different modes. Can you throw some examples at me? Artists or songs. I have some days off coming up, so now is a good time to start checking stuff out.
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2008, 09:22:40 PM »

You'll find Aeolian and Phrygian stuff all over the place, even if you just go and grab random cds from the metal aisle.  Those modes are what make the genre what it is.  A few bands off the top of my head are Iron Maiden, early Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and so on and so forth.  The trick is not so much finding songs as it is to decide which ones to use. :P
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2008, 10:51:33 PM »

For Elementary school, I'd say play them some Pink Floyd from Piper At The Gates of Dawn or some of the solo Syd Barrett stuff. Some of it is quite catchy and cute and I think they'd like it.

I don't mean stuff like Interstellar Overdrive either. I mean like Scarecrow or Bike from Piper or Octopus from Madcap Laughs.
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dalucifer0
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 11:10:36 PM »

Pick some m-flo or RIP Slyme songs. I'm sure the Japanese kids would eat that shit up.
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