Low Tech Tuesday: Learning With Lyrics

Learning with lyrics

We, at Funderstanding, are huge fans of indie rock. We share the same passion for bands like Wilco, Sufjan Stevens or Real Estate. Sure, we love the guitar, bass and drums. We love the atmosphere these bands are dipping us into… but we also love the lyrics.

Why You Should Talk About Music And Lyrics To Your Kids

We don’t need to list all the reasons that make music so important; we all know we couldn’t live without it. As Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” But what about the importance of educating your kids to and with music?

We all remember what our parents listened to. Instead of just turning on the radio and making me listen to the terrible music so often played, they chose to make me listen to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and all sorts of different bands. I think that growing up listening to creative bands instead of regular pop music made me more musically curious and educated.

For example, “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see” is a great line in the Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields Forever. For me, it speaks about the feeling you have when you just want to close your eyes and make everything go away. It also speaks about how I sometimes think that the only way of being completely happy is not to be see what is around us.

Music is such a great legacy you can leave to your kids. You have the choice, do you want to make them grow up with Justin Bieber or Bob Dylan? (In truth, they actually won’t have the choice of listening to Justin Bieber or not since he’s everywhere…) Music not only feeds the soul, it can also serve as an education tool and a great way to create memories with your kids.

“Y’all don’t want to hear me, you just want to dance” is a great line in Hey Ya by Outkast. It’s so true: what is the percentage of people who actually listen to the lyrics and try to make a sense of them? Probably very little. However, song lyrics are so important. Here’s why:

– they are today’s poetry;
– you can make your own interpretation out of them. Usually, the better the lyrics are, the more meanings they have;
– once you “get” the lyrics of a song, your relationship with the song and the band goes to a whole different level.

We love RapGenius, a website you can use to debate a song’s meaning. You just highlight a part of a song’s lyrics you like and write how you understand it. Want to give it a try? Try it with Imagine by John Lennon.

3 games you can make with lyrics

There are a lot of games you can make with songs lyrics. We are sure you can come up with your own game, but here are a few we like:

1 – Interpret lyrics

A good lyrics game is to compare interpretations of a song’s meaning. Remember, this is Low Tech Tuesday, so what you want to do is to print lyrics of good songs, each participant gets one sheet of paper, and write down your interpretation of the song. Maybe relate it to a past experience, or a dream you had. Then, share your interpretation with your family. You will see that you have very different interpretations of songs… or maybe not! Pick songs that elevate your mind, what about Blowin In The Wind?

2 – Turn lyrics into visuals

Lyrics are words that can easily be turned into visuals. That is why we love music videos, we love to see the words depicted in images. What about making a short video on the lyrics of a song both you and your kids like? Or what about drawing them?

3 – Create your own lyrics

Think your kids and you could do a better job on writing Like A Rolling Stone’s lyrics? Why not, maybe you can! The game is to write your own lyrics for a song, and share it with the family.

What about you? What are your favorite lyrics, how do you like to play with them?