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Old 06-12-2019, 09:10 PM
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Whooooaaaaaa Listen To The Music

While driving home from work today, I was listening to music on the radio. Just tapping away on the steering wheel to The Doobie Brothers when I realized that a lot of music I like, I was taught to sing in music class in elementary school during the 70s, when much of it was current, or more current anyway for some of it.

Thinking back, what I learned over time about my music teacher was that he; taught 2 days a week at my school and 2 days a week at another school, he directed a school choir at my school, that one year he managed to work a deal with The Carpenters to cut a version of "Sing" with the choir as backing vocals for their next album. He actually got them to come to Boise to give a concert at my school, but it was sort of close to the end for Karen and they cancelled the night of the concert because she "wasn't well" not sure about the album recording. He taught piano lessons on the side and played guitar in a band sometimes.

Without him, my music appreciation would certainly be different and it seems like music teachers are just that, teachers teaching some sort of music curriculum these days, but I might be wrong.

What about you all? What was your early music education and teacher like? What do you think about how music is taught to younger kids today compared to when you were in school?
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:24 PM
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My first four years of school were in a Catholic school and, frankly, music education was a joke. Every Friday afternoon, the class had to sing a religious song. And that was it. Public school music education was much, MUCH better. I was tight with my Junior/Senior High music teachers well into my thirties.

I have no idea what current music ed is like.
Old 06-12-2019, 09:28 PM
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I went to Catholic school K-12, and we had good musical education, at least in my opinion, from K-8. Not much at the high school level. We didn't do many religious songs, though. I remember mostly learning Beach Boys songs and Tom Lehrer tunes, of all things, in music class. Oh, and Top 40 songs, as well. While I was in elementary school, I had two different music teachers, and both were my piano teachers, as well. So the fact that I play music today is very much because of their instruction.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-12-2019 at 09:29 PM.
Old 06-13-2019, 08:50 AM
Barkis is Willin' is offline
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What I remember from elementary music is listening to George Gershwin and banging wooden blocks together. And having to play the recorder in 3rd or 4th grade. I wouldn't say it was very worthwhile. I think the main purpose was to be a break for the homeroom teacher.
Old 06-13-2019, 09:05 AM
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I remember more of junior high and high school music classes than I do of grade school classes (although the grade school classes were where I learned most of the traditional Christmas carols and patriot songs, like America the Beautiful). I remember the junior high school teacher telling us about the parts of a song, including the chorus and the riff (the bit that's repeated throughout the song). And to teach us about opera, she introduced us to The Who's Tommy. This was all in the days before CDs, so we were working with cassette and reel-to-reel tape and records. One set of lessons was on making sound effects, where we worked with reel-to-reel tape and learned how to cut and splice tape.

I think there were grade school lessons in grade school on the parts of an orchestra, perhaps involving listening to Peter and the Wolf, and we each were given a recorder to play. It was a cheap plastic one, but I still had it for years after. (And now I have a friend from college who is more seriously into music, particularly older music and he plays in a recorder ensemble, but I've never heard him play.)
Old 06-13-2019, 09:12 AM
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I learned a lot of folk music and heard a great number of pieces of classical music in school, as well as Civil War era songs and songs of the Gay 90s. My school system had three music teachers, which was strange for a small town. My grandson just graduated high school without knowing what Greensleeves is.
Old 06-13-2019, 09:25 AM
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In elementary school, we had a “piano lady” that wheeled a piano into each classroom for an hour a week, passed out songbooks,and led the class in song. It was mostly traditional songs, that’s the best term I can come up with. Camptown Races. London Bridge is Falling Down. Frere Jacques. Barnacle Bill.
The last one I remember most vividly as many of us already knew the dirty version “ It’s me and my crew, we came for a screw, said Barnacle Bill the Sailor” and we giggled through the clean version.

There were optional band and chorus activities for those who were interested. I tried a few but nothing stuck. I lack innate musical ability.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 06-13-2019 at 09:28 AM.
Old 06-13-2019, 09:39 AM
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Wow your elementary school music class sounds exceptional, DorkVader!

I loved my elementary school music class. We learned all manner of folk music. I still remember the lyrics to a lot of the folk songs, 30 years later. And of course we learned a lot of Christmas music. We had to play bells or little electric organs for our music playing tests. We never did recorders, thank god.

Middle school and high school band was absolutely fantastic. I won't go into detail, I don't want to make anyone upset about how inadequate their band programs were
Old 06-13-2019, 09:47 AM
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^ Zipper, if there's a picture on the Internet of you in a marching band uniform, I will find it!
Old 06-13-2019, 09:54 AM
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In elementary school I "joined" the chorus because it allowed you to miss some classes. I lip-synced the entire time. The one or two times I was asked to sing solo, I used "I have a cold" as an excuse.
Old 06-13-2019, 09:55 AM
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We sung in a choir at my tiny primary school, for a concert that the regional schools put on each year. I remember a few of those songs but they don't particularly stick in my memory in a positive way, it was a bit of a trial for me.

Later in High School we had a series of music teachers (my school was out in the country and had a very rapid turnover of teachers who couldn't hack it) and they each had a different focus on either instruments or singing or whatever, and none of it stuck for me. Consequently I am not much of a fan of music generally, and aside from occasionally dipping back into some pop culture touchstones of the era, I tend not to listen to music much.
Old 06-13-2019, 11:36 AM
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Elementary school in central IA, early 70s. Music teacher was, in retrospect, a bit of a hippie, so we were getting a lot of current folksy stuff--Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Peter Paul & Mary, etc. The one I remember best was "One Tin Soldier" from a movie, "Billy Jack" that none of our parents would let us go see!
Old 06-13-2019, 11:46 AM
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I think I've shared these here before; my middle school teacher was rumored to have been a former Playboy Playmate. She did have a lovely figure She also appeared to be braless (or she wore peek-a-boo bras). I don't remember enough to know if she was a "good" teacher but I assume she must have been since we all enjoyed the class. She also taught us hand bell ringing.

My middle school band teacher was awesome. Looking back I can't think of anything more torturous than trying to teach a bunch of 10 years olds the basics of music. Also, she would play records of whatever song we were learning and repeat the lyrics while tapping out the tempo. It was quite an experience when we were playing songs from A Chorus Line

" Tits . .and ASS! OrcheSTRA and BAL CON EE!"
Old 06-13-2019, 12:33 PM
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Grade school we got mostly folk songs - "Frere Jacques", the Erie Canal song (which I will still sing & get earwormed if I see the phrase "low bridge"), etc. And "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Home on the Range", because, Texas. Plus some sort of Christmas music for the Christmas show. I was really annoyed because I had to duo "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth", as the other kid and I were the only ones with our front teeth missing. I was annoyed because I could pronounce the "th" sound perfectly fine, TYVM

In addition to those, we got "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing". That should pretty much date me, huh?
Old 06-13-2019, 12:40 PM
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I still remember Sister Ann, our strict nun music teacher in 5th grade wearing her habit and pumping her fist while counting quarter beats to a vinyl recording of Cheap Trick's Way of the World.
Old 06-13-2019, 05:19 PM
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I two stories about my elementary school music teacher.
In one grade, maybe 5th, he had us learn to "sing" You Light Up My Life in sign language. We did nothing else in music class for half the year, then he invited the local news crew over to watch us perform it. We all decided afterward the whole thing was a setup to get himself on TV.

The other was a grade or two earlier we were singing When Johnny Comes Marching Home and it got to the line "And we will all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home" and the whole class (being kids) lip synced the word gay except the teacher, so he basically sang a one word solo on the word gay. It was not planned, it just happened and we thought it was hilarious. Of course he was not amused and the whole class got in trouble.
Old 06-13-2019, 05:48 PM
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In grade 7, during art class, our teacher encouraged us to bring in our own albums to share. I recall bringing in some Elton John and KISS.
He also shared his stuff like Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Kris Kristopherson, and even Janis Joplin.
I appreciate him to this day: Mr. Hart.
Old 06-13-2019, 07:03 PM
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"Jesus Christ Superstar" came out when I was in seventh grade and we had a choice of choir, band, or music class. It was the first year for the vivacious music teacher and we spent at least a month going through the songs one by one. It was a good eye opener for my young ears, and contributed greatly to learning how to really listen to music.
Old 06-13-2019, 07:15 PM
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Daddy had us all in piano lessons fromnearly on. I can play exactly 2 songs on the piano. One is chopsticks. My sibs all play piano, a couple are really good. A good number are in Music professionally. I can't sing worth a flip so I took music appreciation in stead of chior. I was in a church based choir. But I faked it.
Old 06-13-2019, 07:57 PM
installLSC is offline
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What was with 70s elementary school teachers and the Carpenters? Not only do I remember our teacher getting us to sing "Sing", but she also used the Carpenters album "Close To You" to teach us melody. The only other things I remember from elementary school music class are using ribbed rhythm sticks and the folk song "Erie Canal".
Old 06-13-2019, 08:27 PM
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I grew up in the 70s in Texas, which meant in my public school music class we mostly covered religious and patriotic songs.
Old 06-13-2019, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Wow your elementary school music class sounds exceptional, DorkVader!
Looking back, I now know that it was. At the time, if I did think about it, I probably just figured every music teacher was like that. I wish I could thank that man for the positive influence he had on me, but I found out tonight talking about it with my parents that cancer took him in the mid 1980s
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:35 PM
Personal is offline
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In sixth grade choir I recall learning the theme to Laverne and Shirley. We won a couple of choir competitions with other schools with that.

In seventh grade we took music appreciation for nine weeks, and the teacher spent at least two weeks parsing The Devil Went Down to Georgia (radio friendly version). Taught us quite a bit about the song's structure both instrumentally and lyrically.
Old 06-13-2019, 11:16 PM
hogarth is offline
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The pop songs I remember singing in elementary school music class are "Queen of Hearts", "Fly Little White Dove Fly", "Delta Dawn" and "One Tin Soldier".

Also, in Grade 3 we used to sing the Sister Janet Mead version of The Lord's Prayer every morning. Our teacher (who had hair like Crystal Gayle) would play the guitar as accompaniment.
Old 06-14-2019, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
I still remember Sister Ann, our strict nun music teacher in 5th grade wearing her habit and pumping her fist while counting quarter beats to a vinyl recording of Cheap Trick's Way of the World.
This sounds very surrealistic, are you sure this "memory" was not part of an acid trip? Or perhaps a dream you had while dozing through a screening of This is Spinal Tap?

Last edited by Temporary Name; 06-14-2019 at 12:03 AM.
Old 06-14-2019, 07:26 AM
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In my Catholic grammar school in 7th grade we had a nun who taught music class without ever playing any music!.

It's one thing to learn in detail about Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, but to learn it without ever hearing the music is just weird.

That wasn't the only piece she talked about, but it's the only one I can recall.
Who is the Calypso Singer that rides Pegasus?
Harry Bellerophonte
Old 06-14-2019, 08:33 AM
CelticKnot is offline
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Since I never spent more than 2 years in any one school, my music education was rather eclectic but forgettable. I remember singing "Feeling Groovy," signing Barry Manilow's "One Voice Singing in the Darkness" (or whatever the title is), learning various folk songs, songs and at least one scene from musicals, enough guitar to know my arms are way too short to play one, and obligatory band. I started on clarinet, switched to oboe, and the world rejoiced when we moved to a school district with no music curriculum. Marching band made high school bearable; I was a silk and my best friend was in the rifles. I sang in the choir in high school, college, and church, but had no ambitions to do anything else.

But I married a music teacher, and we get paid to perform Celtic and Renaissance music together. I suspect every music teacher I ever had would die laughing.
Old 06-14-2019, 06:36 PM
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If you were lucky enough to attend school in the Langley School District in Canada in the late 70's, you might have been able to cut an album, despite your music teacher having no background in musical education.

From the wiki article:
Originally Posted by Hans Fenger
I knew virtually nothing about conventional music education, and didn't know how to teach singing. Above all, I knew nothing of what children's music was supposed to be. But the kids had a grasp of what they liked: emotion, drama, and making music as a group. Whether the results were good, bad, in tune or out was no big deal -- they had élan. This was not the way music was traditionally taught. But then I never liked conventional 'children's music,' which is condescending and ignores the reality of children's lives, which can be dark and scary. These children hated 'cute.' They cherished songs that evoked loneliness and sadness
The albums were unknown for twenty five years, but most of the songs are now available on YouTube.

A rousing and well arranged "Help Me Rhonda"

A haunting solo on "Desperado"
Old 06-14-2019, 10:20 PM
Poysyn is offline
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In elementary, we learned the recorder (Au Clair De La Lune) and ukelele. My favourite song we sang was “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”.

In high school, we put on a musical, I auditioned (I did for every play and usually got a pretty big role). I thought due to my lack of singing experience I may miss out, but I did not. My character, a very Long Island accented woman named De-bor-rah, wore leopard pattern bodysuits, black minis and sang a jazzy dance tune about getting drunk.

Super fun!
Old 06-15-2019, 10:41 AM
Elendil's Heir is offline
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I still remember Mrs. Serafy, my music teacher at North Elementary. She loved music and she loved her kids. It was in her classroom that I first heard Handel's Water Music, which I still listen to now and again, and danced the Hukilau, a Hawaiian dance.
Old 06-15-2019, 12:35 PM
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I also was in elementary school in the 70's and we had an awesome music program for K-6th grades. We mostly sang religious and folk songs (Baptist school). The number one thing I remember is learning to read music. We learned all the notes (whole, half, quarter, etc) and how many beats to hold each one for. We learned how to follow the choir director's directions when she was conducting us with their hands (not sure if that's the right phrase).

Later we learned the staff, where all the notes are (on the line or in the spaces), treble and base clefs. We learned about sharps, flats, time signatures, etc. Just basically everything you would need to pick up a piece of sheet music and pretty much sing it. A lot of us also took piano lessons at the same time so knowing how to read music really came in handy.

In all, it was pretty cool. I always enjoyed music class.
Old 06-15-2019, 01:17 PM
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I remember Mrs. Wolf (and she sort of looked like one) trying to teach me to play the flute in 4th grade. She didn't play the flute herself and it was quite frustrating. But she was very, very good in getting the basics into us.

Yes, our band teacher played us JCS as well.

Finally...pedant alert! It's "Carpenters," not "The Carpenters." Richard has made this very clear on several occasions.


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