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Love Always Shines Everytime: Remember to Smile

Posted on 2011.07.15 at 18:07
Current Music: つきあかり の みちしるべ ~stereopony
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My students never cease to impress me. Not that I am never moved by what they do, but this time I actually cried. Technically they are only "mine" until the 8th grade, but as far as I'm concerned they are always mine. I like to follow up and make sure things are going okay for them, even if I don't talk to them directly. I happen to be going to both of the high schools that have the majority of my former students next year. I've been concerned about one of them because their director has had to deal with a lot recently and I don't want the flame to go out in that program because those are my kids up there. So I asked them if there was music they wanted to study this year.

Two requested The Show Goes On by Lupe Fiasco. I always listen to the music first, just to make sure the message is appropriate although I've never had to say no thankfully. Since it's high school I'm less concerned about words, but since we don't play with words it does make it a little easier. (Not that I would pick a piece that dropped F-bombs left and right.) Here are the lyrics that made me cry, specifically the ones in bold:

One in the air for the people that ain’t here
Two in the air for the father that’s there
Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto
Four for the kids who don’t wanna be there
None for the n-ggas trying to hold them back
Five in the air for the teacher not scared to tell those kids thats living in the ghetto that the n-ggas holdin back that the World is theirs!
Yeah yeah, the World is yours, I was once that little boy
Terrified of the World
Now I’m on a World tour

I will give up everything, even start a world war
For these ghettos girls and boys im rapping round’ the World for!
Africa to New York, Haiti then I detour, Oakland out to Auckland
Gaza Strip to Detroit, say hip-hop only destroy
Tell em’ look at me, boy!
I hope your son don’t have a gun and that would be a D-boy

I'm sure that's not why they like the song--they like it because it's about overcoming all that's around you; about doing better anyway; about not letting others hold you back; and about achieving your dreams. I read up on the artist's bio and was impressed. He decided he wanted there to be content in his rap music not just popularity. He wanted to return to why he had started rapping in the first place. I think he has, and I am grateful the youth has more music with content to listen to--music that tells them they can rather than sex, drugs, or violence. Music should be an inspiration and support for them to achieve their dreams, whether their dreams are in music or something else.

This will take some working around their current Orchestra Director, but I think it will be fine. She would be hesitant to arrange a piece or perform it, but I'm not and I think as long as I'm pushing her she will do it. A lot of teachers are so out of touch with their students, which I don't think is a bad thing in and of itself. However, we must be willing to reach into their lives if we want to draw forth who they are to become. You cannot really influence or guide if you only talk at someone. You have to reach them on a deeper level if you want to affect their actual thinking, not just their behavior. A lot of teacher's don't seem to get that.

I only hope I have been able to inspire them on some level. Even if I haven't, I'm still happy they have found inspiration in such a positive message.

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