The idea that we should teach Stormzy in schools rather than Mozart. It’s unlikely that British schoolchildren will have an inadequate exposure to the popular beat combo these days so the idea that they should and must have the music pointed out to them is absurd. But perhaps they should still be taught it, in order to gain their attention?
There being nothing wrong with coopting popular culture to get the little snotmachines to pay attention, obviously. One summer Mother was teaching English as a foreign language to the usual long holiday class of varied European teens. That summer of the Joshua Tree when the two singles were simply everywhere, paying for The Edge’s castle. So, tape the songs, transcsribe the lyrics, haveaclasssingalong, why not?
A one, two three four:
Anna steeeeeeeel, have nut fund whaddam lurkin’ far
etc. Why not? Still and steel are not cognates, lurk and look are and so on.
But this is to use pop culture as a teaching aid, something different from teaching pop culture. On that second, to reach back to the wisdom of Bernard Levin. If you’ve not read his old essays you really should. Entirely the best journalist – weird, obsessive and all to boot – of his generation.
One of his important concepts was “The Sieve of History”. Mozart was indeed the pop star of his age. The music survives in a manner Salieri’s does not because that accumulated experience of the centuries tells us that it is better. The millions upon millions who came before us acting as that filter. If we’re to consider the pop music of the 1960s then sure, Paul McCartney’s a good bet to survive – his music that is – but we’ll really know in 50 years’ time. Herman’s Hermits have already been caught in the sieve of course. Neil Diamond’s got a chance.
Which brings us to Myleene Klass:
Stormzy should be taught in schools instead of Mozart to prevent pupils from being excluded, a charity study said. Youth Music, a national charity endorsed by the musician and presenter Myleene Klass, is calling for an “urgent transformation” of the music curriculum. It said that schools need to “shake up” the way music is taught and exchange classical music for grime, hip-hop and electro, with help from music industries.
My opinion of Ms. Klass is that she’s the lady “would attend a letter opening if the cameras were there” was referring to. But here she’s just wrong.
To use Stormzy, or anyone else the anklebiters pay attention to, as a teaching aid, sure, why not? To teach it, no, what actually are you going to teach about it?