Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Fun activity with your favorite song

Lately, I've been reading a book called, Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts - and Life, written by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts, and published in 2014.

I've adapted a fun activity/lesson from the book for you to try here, one involving your favorite song. If you have more than one favorite song in mind, great! That just means more practice - and more fun! The song or songs you have in mind must have lyrics for this activity, though. They can't be instrumentals. Come, let's dive in.

First, you'll need paper and a pen or pencil.

Next, think about your favorite song. Feel free to pull it up on your computer/listening device, if you'd like, but this isn't necessary. As you think about/listen to this song, what's coming to mind? What is the song about? What message, or messages, is the singer trying to convey? What images do you have? Jot this all down, whatever comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers.

After you've completed these steps, look for the written lyrics to the song online. Print them off, if you can. Otherwise, have them up on your device's screen.

Read the lyrics. And don't just quickly scan them over. Really spend some time with them. It's important to examine them closely.

Now, jot down what the lyrics appear to be saying. What is the song about? What message, or messages, is the song trying to convey? What images do you have? Write it all down. Again, there are no right or wrong answers here.

Finally, look at what you wrote down the first time (after thinking about/listening to the song), and then take a look at what you wrote down the second time (after a close examination of the song's lyrics). Compare and contrast in a third writing. Synthesize and reflect. Are there any major differences between the first two writings that stand out? Any similarities? Any new ideas that emerged in your second writing after a close reading of the lyrics?

There are several main takeaways here. First, it's easy to form preconceived notions about something without really diving into the available evidence. Now, in many cases throughout life, forming preconceived notions about something without truly examining evidence may, thankfully, prove to be relatively harmless. But in other cases, it goes without saying, this can certainly be very dangerous or even fatal, for ourselves and for others.

In this instance, fortunately, we just happen to be considering a favorite song of ours, and the preconceived notions we're trying to break here may simply be differences in moods. For example, coming into this activity, perhaps you've always identified your favorite song with a joyful occasion. Maybe this song causes you to think about your favorite vacation spot, or a love interest, or what you believe was a more care-free time in your life. After going through this exercise, though, perhaps you now realize, after truly listening to the lyrics through reading them, the song doesn't have much to do at all with happiness. And vice-versa - maybe a song that you've always associated with a more unpleasant or complex time, place, or event in your life, it turns out, is actually a little sunnier in its outlook after a deeper examination of it. If the song tells of a story, maybe you realize now that you had a completely different interpretation of that story before engaging in this exercise.

Lastly, we're further enhancing a number of skills with this fun activity, and you may not even be aware of it. We're working on our listening, writing/communication, reading, and critical thinking/reflection skills. We're building new connections in our minds, and creating new meanings and understandings.

The next time you listen to that favorite song of yours, don't be surprised if you find yourself thinking about it differently after this activity!

Happy Learning,

Mr. Robertson

Feel free to share your favorite song and thoughts after completing this exercise in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this activity, check out this other exercise involving your favorite video game

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