We all have those few songs that continue to power us up. You know, that one song that makes you feel like you are 17 years old all over again? Or, the song that always calms you within one stanza? How about the playlist you listen to when you exercise or when you are on a long drive?
Behind each of those power songs is a team of powerful artists – the lyricists, the instrumentalists, the editors, the voice coaches, to name a few. Those are the writers and we, as the listeners, are the readers. As we listen, we interpret and connect in ways unique to us as individuals.
Once a week, my 4th graders and I listen and explore a new song as we begin our morning meeting. In doing so, we are meeting artists of all ages from around the world. Learning about the lead vocalist and the lyricist fuels wonder and curiosity as a class and as individuals. Our power songs include:
- “Home” , Phillip Phillips
- “Lean on Me”, Bill Withers
- “Here Comes the Sun”, The Beatles
- “ABC”, Jackson Five
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Eva Cassidy
- “Celebration”, Kool and the Gang
Two months into the school year, my students are messaging me to “check out” songs that they would like to feature in our room. This has lead to close reading of lyrics and, ultimately, conversations related to theme, culture, race, history and perspective. Our power songs are the ones that continue to serve as both energizers and soothers after we listen, learn and feel them many times over.
My students’ comments include:
- Awww. That’s what my mom sings to me when I have trouble going to sleep.
- Phillip who? Can you write that name down on a post-it note?
- I never knew that was the word in that song. I’m not listening to that anymore.
- I thought that (another artist) sang that. Wait? When was that song first written?
- That’s from the movie (title)!