From Pink to Justin Timberlake; A guide to connect current music trends with your curriculum.

Over 111 million people from around the world tuned into Super Bowl 52 to watch the historic game unfold between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. You can bet that many of those viewers were your very own students. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage your students and challenge them to view the musical performances critically.  Here are some helpful ways to connect the performances to your curriculum.

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Pink, National Anthem

  1. The show must go on. Pink was suffering from the flu this week. Despite the severity of the illness, Pink sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  Immediately before singing, she took out a cough drop, which she took to twitter to clarify that “it was a throat lozenge “.
  1. Vocal Health. Pink stopped smoking regularly and her voice has improved dramatically over the years. Demonstrate to the students the progress that she has made by showing them old clips of her singing.  Discuss the differences and why a healthier instrument will allow for sustainability.
  1. Who sang it better? Whitney, Mariah, Pink, Christina, or Rene Fleming? Have the students listen to each recording and engage in a critical discussion on preference.  It will also allow you access to their particular taste so that you can better program for them

Justin Timberlake, Half Time Show

  1. Prince who? Prince came from Minnesota and therefore it was absolutely necessary to honor Prince. Expose your students to Prince’s funk, R&B, and rock style.  This 8-time Grammy Award winner is one of America’s best-selling artists for a reason and this performance may have been the first time your students have ever heard of him.
  1. Justin Timberlake who? The poor kid that JT tried to get a selfie with, clearly had phone issues. This created a wave of new memes showing the kid frantically googling “who is Justin”.  Justin’s amazing success from NSYNC to Solo Artist deserves a look.  Ask your students these questions: how did he manage to maintain staying power?  Did NSYNC push music boundaries? How did Justin’s music progress throughout the years?
  1. Marching Band Relevance.  The University of Minnesota’s Marching Band joined Justin on the big stage with a wonderful rendition of “Suit & Tie.”  Explain to your students how the concept of college marching bands started in America.  This can lead the conversation to American Composers like John Philip Sousa.
  1.  Justin Timberlake has outlasted his fellow bubble gum counterparts that came out during the late 90’s like Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, and fellow NSYNC’er JC Chasez.  He did so by altering his style to a more edgy R&B feel. His success has garnered him the nickname “Prince of Pop.”  His rise to stardom is a result of discipline and artistry.

A way to stay relevant with your students is to make deliberate connections between your curriculum and what is happening now.  As educators, we commit ourselves to being lifetime learners and learning what is important to our students is necessary for long-term success.  While you may not prefer Justin Timberlake’s music, engaging your students in discussions will validate your commitment to their acquisition of knowledge.