Introduction: How to teach a student? More than show them the language or ‘bore them to death’ with repetitive vocabulary. Inspire them to learn it! This is my best advice. Here’s one topic covered, “Dirty Music” and one’s student curiosity and how to drive them to enhance their English abilities. Read the letter below…
Topic: Music to better learn English
Dear Katie (a dedication):
Don’t think I haven’t noticed you and your quiet silence. You are bright-young lady with a lovely smile and charming, with quick wit and intellect.
More than knowing English understand the depths of the language and its culture. Many people in China study English for more than 10 years and still don’t understand the intricacies of it! What better way to know a culture than through its series, music, food or people. Here’s is one way of finding-out and getting curious… This is a theme of deep interest and one to get you excited…
Now about the topic, “Dirty Songs”, you can find lots of these topics and explanations throughout the Internet. The one I like to use is Wikipedia.org. Not always I believe in Wikipedia, but I would dare say 70 to 80 percent of it is factual. When researching, you should try to find at least three references [with no more than 10 years] to back up a theme, this is called, proof. Because it should hold close enough to a reference in an electronic-encyclopedia, newspaper or book source, etc. Also, what you can do is search or research the internet on the meanings of these songs. Many Chinese sing these songs without having the proper knowledge of what do the mean.
For example, like the student that sung to me in class, “I want your sex” by George Michael and didn’t understand what she was singing about. Or in the other case, those that sing the song by Katy Perry, “I Kissed the Girl”; this is song that clearly makes a statement in favour of lesbianism or bisexuality. More than learning English, it’s about research techniques that are not properly taught in China. Then, after you learnt a song–if you still would like to continue singing, well, that’s your choice! Below are some suggestions for music you can check during your summer break…
If you enjoy rap, there is a white rapper called “Eminem”. His songs are extremely controversial. You can check the videos, “Slim Shady” and “Stan”. I believe [the latter] they have in China and it’s with the beautiful British singer, Dido, she sings lovely and romantic music.
You also have the “Bloodhound Gang”, there video is not dirty at all. Actually, they are in dog suits dancing around the streets of Paris, France. But it’s their song, “Bad Touch” that is dirty. Be careful when listening!
You have Warrant, “Cherry Pie” or Soft Cell’s controversial 1980s hit, “Tainted Love”; which does refer explicitly to a female’s privates. Or there is the music of Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing”; with Marvin he always got straight to the point. This latter song is more romantic and soulful.
You got also the strong-soulful rhythms of Robbie Williams, with a song like, “Feel”. Or the band, “Queen” with Freddie Mercury, this rock band sang more about tackling social problems, etc.
You have an array of music to choose from. And before you choose, you can do the following: first you listen, then if you like, try to research and understand ‘what’s the song’ about and then, if you want, learn how to sing it! Because music is China is still traditionally-soft and with silly-teeny pop romanticism. It doesn’t create waves as of yet!
This is the lesson for today.
Enjoy and my best wishes at heart… Your parents have a daughter they should be proud of!
29th May, 2015
Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China