A Brief History of "Listening Friday"

I began teaching in January of 2007.  One of the earliest difficulties I had with teaching was Fridays.  I found out quickly that due to the inherent proximity to the weekend, no one wanted to do anything that even remotely resembled work.  Myself included.  However, as an aspiring, young music educator, I felt compelled to make the day useful (or at the very least not unproductive).  Another issue I had with my students is that many of them listened to absolutely terrible music.

Those were the best days of my life...

Finding this behavior to be counterproductive to my imparting them with the desired musical knowledge, I began scheming.  I tried haphazardly playing music for them and forcing them to listen with mixed results.  I found that most of the time they would find this activity less than desirable and make requests that I put on "Lil' Wayne" or let them read "Twilight".  

I was failing.  

One day, it dawned on me: Friday is a colossal waste of time for everyone.  I was sitting in a faculty meeting (which coincidentally is also a colossal waste of time for everyone) while we were being lectured on the fact that most of our children can't write a sentence without using emoticons.  We were being told that as teachers we were required to change that by taking valuable class time that was supposed to be devoted to something useful (like actually teaching our subject) and instead use that time to make our students write anemic essays on uninspired prompts.  

Suddenly, I saw an opportunity to solve my problems of nonproductive Friday's, vapid musical tastes, and banal writing from the children of America.  

It was simple, it was fresh, and it would work.  

I presented it thusly, "Listening Friday" is a time where we listen to short excerpts of music (I've found that two bits around 5 minutes each is the maximum your average high school kid will endure) and then write about them.  Sometimes I prepared questions, or I asked for a drawing or comic, sometimes I just said, "Go!".  Some kids invariably just did the minimum, and sometimes lower.

In case you can't decipher: The song in the begaining was boring Then it got intense as it raise
Much lower.

Yet, every so often I'd find a gem in their responses or make a connection with a kid where they might explore the music they heard further.  Sometimes, they would end up looking for it far beyond the walls of my classroom.  That's where I felt I did the most good.

This blog will be an extension of that classroom activity, because the more I did Listening Friday, the more I too was inclined to discover new and different music to use and share with my kids.  I also felt compelled to share it with my friends (musical and otherwise) through annoying posts on Facebook and the like.  There is so much wonderful music in the world, and it is such a uniquely human experience- to not share it would be an injustice.  

Therefore, I intend to use this site as a platform to share my musical knowledge and hopefully learn a few things as well.  I will, as the title suggests, update this regularly on Friday's and I encourage you to read through and share it.  Particularly if you are a music educator!  I will write in a school-appropriate manner (though I bear no personal responsibility for any detrimental effects to your students).  It is my hope that this site will become a catalog of some fine music and music history as it develops.  

Most of the time I will try to find some sort of publicly accessible source (e.g. YouTube) for the music of the week, but sometimes I will also give recommendations to recordings that I like (or that I have heard are great).  For Brevard music teachers, you have access to Naxos, which will help.  For everyone else, spending a dollar on music at iTunes or Amazon won't kill you.  I do not condone the illegal downloading of music as a point of interest. 

See you Friday.