Foreigner and Shakopee High School Choir collaborate to try to discover what love is

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Photo by foreigner.com
Do we really know what love is? Is it large amounts of chocolate? Is it a little fat guy with wings and an arrow? Is it my healthy, safe obsession with Jessica Alba? Or how about the love of music and live performance from a high school choir in Shakopee?

On Friday night, the classic American band Foreigner -- who have sold over 80 million records worldwide -- is playing to a sold-out Mystic Lake Casino Showroom, and they asked for a little help on one of their biggest hits, "I Want to Know What Love Is," the famous '80s power ballad that has been covered by such artists as Wynonna Judd and Mariah Carey over the years. They enlisted 25 juniors and seniors from the Shakopee High School Concert Stage Choir, directed by 26-year-vet Mike Kovic. How and why did this happen?

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Using the Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" to teach allegory

Categories: Music Class
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Tyler Flory is a teacher at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. His Music Class column ties together his job and his music fandom in a neat little package.

Teaching allegory to high school students is difficult. It is much easier when the lessons of stories are found within the pages itself instead of digging into outside events. As readers, we are always connecting text with the outside world and our own lives, but when we approach allegories, we have to give the author's intent greater weight. Our minds don't always want to stretch like that, so when I start teaching 9th graders about allegory I start small and a bit weird. I start with "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by the Flaming Lips.

See Also:
Radiohead's "Exit Music (For a Film)" as a Romeo and Juliet teaching tool
On using Wilco and Billy Bragg's Mermaid Avenue to teach Of Mice and Men
Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is the greatest simile in rock 'n' roll


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Radiohead's "Exit Music (For a Film)" as a Romeo and Juliet teaching tool

Categories: Music Class

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Tyler Flory is a teacher at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. His Music Class column ties together his job and his music fandom in a neat little package.

A staple of 9th grade English is reading Shakespeare. He is arguably the greatest playwright who has ever lived, and his legend continues to grow even though he died 400 years ago. It has taken me awhile to appreciate his ability to develop meaningful characters and to twist a plot. Even though his complete works are free and only a click away, it's a rare bird who spends an afternoon reading Richard III. The only thing I remember from reading Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade are a few scenes from Shakespeare in Love and the giant purple textbook the play was in.

I teach Romeo and Juliet at the end of the 3rd quarter, a time when everyone is waiting for the snow to melt. Tensions are rising the among students just as they are rising between the Capulets and the Montagues. Most of my students have never read anything by Shakespeare. This is most likely the hardest text they will come across in their academic year and the anxiety that they have about their final test is high. I try to ease this tension with Radiohead*.

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On using Wilco and Billy Bragg's Mermaid Avenue to teach Of Mice and Men

Categories: Music Class
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Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy, Woody Guthrie, and John Steinbeck all in one lesson plan.
Tyler Flory is a teacher at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. His Music Class column ties together his job and his music fandom in a neat little package.

I use music in my classroom to lower the stress level and to change the mood. During the previous two weeks, my students had quite a bit of work for English class. They were reading, annotating, completing quizzes, writing journal entries, and taking notes on commas. They needed a short-ish break.

So I called upon Woody Guthrie, and then Wilco and Billy Bragg's interpretations of Guthrie. We had just finished John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men. As we read, we focused on George and Lennie, their American Dream, Steinbeck's play-like structure, and his use of imagery. My class was ready to think of the book as a whole instead of the sum of its parts, and contrast the novel with Guthrie's lyrics.

See Also:
Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is the greatest simile in rock 'n' roll

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Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is the greatest simile in rock 'n' roll

bd_like_a_rolling_stone.jpg

Tyler Flory is a teacher at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. His Music Class column ties together his job and his music fandom in a neat little package.

"I believe [Bob Dylan's] 'Like a Rolling Stone' is the greatest rock and roll simile of all time," I state to my 4th block 9th Grade English class at Main Street School of Performing Arts.

"True. Very true," one student says.

"Amen," proclaims another.

The quest to find the greatest rock 'n' roll simile of all time is essential to me. As an English teacher, I have to teach literary terms and I am fortunate enough to have students with a solid understanding of the arts. This allows me to bring music, film, and dance into the classroom on a regular basis.

See Also:
Review: Bob Dylan at Xcel Energy Center, 11/7/12
Five underrated Bob Dylan songs from oft-forgotten albums


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