Friday, July 3, 2009

Stay Hip, Part 1

Today, for no other reason than my own personal enjoyment, and because I could wedge it into the quite broad curriculum of the course, I conducted an irony-soaked hipster experiment for the ages.

My classes had gotten stagnant, and I wanted to spice things up a little (this story is not going where you think it's going).

I came to Thailand with only one CD--a mix entitled "Don't Judge Me," given to me by Molly Slots. The mix has songs that would be considered, in non-Brooklyn parts of America, "hipster music." And so for two of my sections today, I took advantage of the broad curriculum, and the CD player/speaker set in each university room, and I told my students that today's topic was "experimental music."

What is experimental music?

"Crazy." "Weird." "New." "Not popular."

Those were my words. How else do you describe experimental music? Also, how would you describe indie music to a group of second-year English students who failed their first year course?

Anyway, I had them make a list, from "Song 1" to "Song 8" (Song 2 was not Blur, if that's what you were thinking).

They had to answer two questions: Did you like the song? Why or why not? Here is a list of the songs I used:

I played 2 minutes 30 seconds of each song, writing only the name of the recording artist on the board next to the number of a song. I didn't dance, smile, bob my head, tap my foot, anything that could sway them.

The experiment owes a lot to Breakfast at Sullimay's, yes (old people reviewing new indie music). But this is more authentic, I think, because they were doing this for what might have been a grade and to impress their wise and handsome teacher*.

*(A student signed off an email to me with the signature line: "Have sweet dreams tonight my handsome teacher!")

Soooo...what do you think the most popular song was? The least popular?

To be continued, pending data analysis....

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