Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brief Interlude

Sorry this post is still not about newspapers (or houses, or haikus), because that post is a joint Gus/Jon production and we need to finish it before we can put it up. Get excited!

Anyway, this happened after class today:

Student: Can you tell me some songs?
Me: What type of songs?
Student: Good sad songs for singing.

[I've said before that I don't understand my students' taste in music. What am I supposed to recommend for "sad songs for singing" from my iTunes? "Needle in the Hay"? "I See a Darkness"? "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"?]

Me: Can you give me some examples?
Student: Like "Nothing's Going to Change My Love For You."
Me: Pardon?
Student: "Nothing's Going to Change My Love For You." By Westlife?

[aficionados will recall that this is the second mention of Westlife on this blog. I have never heard a song by Westlife, but I feel comfortable assuming that they are awful.]

Me: I don't know that song.
Student: How about [unintelligible].
Me: Uh, no, I don't know that one either.
Student (pityingly): I guess you don't like music.
Me: No, I just don't usually listen to...sad songs for singing. I guess I like happy music.
Student: Like "Complicated"? Avril Lavigne?
Me: Ha! Yeah, exactly.
Student: Oh.
Beat.
Me: Oh, no, I was joking. I don't listen to that either.
Student smiles and backs away.

Talking about music with students is always a losing proposition. One of Gus's students gave him a CD for teachers' day and said that it was a collection of essential Chinese songs that we should listen to if we want to understand Chinese culture, "just like how when we first learn English we need to listen to 'Lemon Tree'." "Lemon Tree"?? The single by the German pop band Fool's Garden that came out when I was seven which I just looked up now and have never heard in my entire life? Have I been missing the key to American culture, all this time?

Play us off, keyboard cat Avril: