Teacher: Try to figure out why these three songs are grouped together?
(Teacher projects lyrics onto projection screen & plays songs)
- Pusher Man by Curtis Mayfield,
- Free Man In Paris by Joni Mitchell
- Lonely At The Top by Randy Newman
Student 1: They’re in the same key?
Student 2: They’re all about people on drugs.
Teacher: How did you get that?
Student 2: Just a wild guess.
Teacher: Listen a little harder please and tell me what’s similar?
Student 3: They happen in different cities.
Teacher: Maybe … but still not what I was trying to point you to hear in this course. It’s about songwriting remember?
Student 4: The songwriter isn’t the actual person telling the story.
Teacher: Then what are they
Teacher: Right. They’re someone else.
Teacher: Because you can do anything you want in a song. Because it allows you to say something in a different way than if you are saying it as yourself. Because maybe they’re bored with the usual ways they write? Let’s make an assignment – write something from a character’s point of view.
Student 6: That’s too hard.
Teacher: That’s too hard?
Student 6: I always write from my point of view.
Teacher: Then that’s a reason to try this.
Student 6: I only know myself.
Teacher: Take someone else you know. You think I’m unfair sometimes right?
Student 6: You’re always unfair.
Teacher: Thanks, okay write a song as though you’re me being the unfair person I am.
Student 6: Do I get a bad mark if I make you look bad?
(insert Planet of the Apes soundtrack while teacher ponders answer)