Music & Identity

This past week, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Noa Daniel for the Personal Playlist Podcast on VoicEd. I was asked to identify 3 songs to share: one that held a nostalgic value; one that gave a sense of identity; and one that motivates me. Even though Noa was kind enough to give me a lot of notice, it was difficult for me to find the right songs. When I did, it was amazing how they spoke to different aspect of me and had me thinking about how music is such a powerful tool for allowing us to be able to express our identities and sometimes say things that we have difficulty expressing. I started wondering how something like this might impact my students.

This year, our school was selected to participate in tdsbCREATES which is a program that connects local artists to classrooms in our board in order to shine a light on the Arts and careers in the Arts. Our Artist is a musician who has worked with schools to create the 10-minute musical. This year’s theme is Narratives of NOW – it’s about you, it’s about the world, it’s about time! Immediately, I thought about current issues in the world around us and how students have been speaking up to be able to create change. I also thought about the fact that change usually comes when we identify with a specific issue and so we have started to look at identity and how we might be able to use music to express our own identities and in our understanding of others around us. Today, students had the chance to use a Padlet to be able to add their thoughts on identity after having some time to consider for themselves by making notes in their journals. Many students said that identity is something that we can’t change and is a part of us and that our identities are what makes us unique. They determined that parts of your identity could be based on gender, sexual orientation, race, background, religion and family status. We came to the conclusion that there are many facets to our identities and that there are no two people that can have exact identities because they may also be impacted by lived experiences. It was such a deep discussion and sadly, we had to cut it short for recess.

Thinking about the work that we are about to do with our artist and my recent experience with Noa, my next step might be to get students to consider a song that speaks to their identity and to share the lyrics with us. I think we’ve gotten to the point in our class where we have a sense of respect for one another so that the sharing of songs may be valued and may help us to grow in our understanding of one another. I would be interested in seeing what songs resonate with them and the reasons why. I would also be interested in unpacking the lyrics – considering we will be writing our own for our musical – and seeing how lyrics to a song speak specifically to areas of identity.

I always feel as though I end my blog posts asking you to stay tuned but please do! Next month we will be getting deep into our tdsbCREATES project and I will be blogging about our progress.

Interested in hearing my personal playlist? Check it out this Monday, April 2nd, 2018 at 8:00am and at 7:30pm.

Screenshot 2018-03-29 at 4.27.28 PM

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Updated: March 29, 2018 — 7:39 pm

The Author

Arianna Lambert

I'm a grade 4/5 Teacher in the Toronto District School Board who loves integrating technology and mindfulness in the classroom. Through inquiry and Entrepreneurial Thinking, I work with students who are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities while looking at ways to make the world an even better place. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of co-facilitating the STE(A)M Certificate Course for Junior Teachers in our board. For the last 2 years, I have been fortunate to co-moderate #tdsbEd, Twitter chats for educators in the TDSB. Through conversations on trends in Education from STEAM to Mindfulness, it has become an online community of educators dedicated to improving their practice to ensure greater student success, well-being and achievement.

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