from August 30, 2011 MENC comment – Using popular music examples to introduce classical music to kids
Sometimes the best way to reach students in public school music classes who have never really been exposed to the beauty of classical music is to approach them on their level. Folk music used to be “their level” and we should definitely expose children to this wealth of Americana and, for that matter, world folk music as well. But if we start with what kids know—the popular music kids love to sing and dance to and they know some of these lyrics by heart–then we have a basis for introducing folk, jazz and classical music to them. We can easily discuss instrumentation, meter, rhythm, melody, form, harmony, conducting, dynamics, form of a popular piece of music,scales, modes using the familiar popular song as a model. Then it is up to us, the music educators, to seek out a classical piece of music that will captivate our audience and sound similar to the popular piece in some way and not be intimidating to these kids but absolutely be eye- opening (or should I say—ear opening).