Home August 2014 I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

Tucked into the folds of my overeducated brain is a wealth of information. And by “wealth,” I mean that millions of dollars were spent ensuring certain facts would be permanently lodged in my noggin.
For instance, I happen to be in possession of the knowledge that the McDonald’s Big Mac consists of two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. I also know that Oscar Meyer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A.
Useful information tends to elude me: I’ve taken 15 CPR classes, none have stuck. But, thanks to a lifelong diet of insidious jingles, I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, because Band-Aid’s stuck on me.
If the World Cup’s marketing blitz is a bellwether, things are about to get much more crowded in my noodle. During the record-breaking, world-captivating soccer games, advertisers launched a new and improved way to take up residence in our malleable minds: full-length pop song commercials.
The games introduced us to Shakira’s Activia-flavored “La La La,” a five-minute commercial for headphones set to “Jungle” by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors, and the addictive Coca-Cola song “The World Is Ours.”
The only way I can think to counteract what is likely to be a new era of pop-songs-as-commercials is for educators to start paying attention to why these songs work. Your mind is a sponge, and a ubiquitous ad seeps right in (you might say, you’re soaking in it). People who study this sort of thing call these highly effective bits of songs “earworms.”
If advertisers can earworm useless information into our brains, think of what we could learn from real knowledge set to song.
We’ve seen it work in Judaism. You might not know what you’re saying when you’re reciting the Amidah, but you know to raise yourself on your toes when you hear “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh.” There is no reason it couldn’t work in the classroom.
Let’s replace high school history classes with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” sing-alongs! Condense all of our knowledge of space and time into a three-minute ditty (by 30 Seconds to Mars?). Sure, our school systems would create a nation lacking in critical- thinking skills, but we’d more than make up for it in sheer volume of permanent knowledge. (Your future surgeon is not likely to forget that the “Leg bone’s connected to the knee bone.”)
In fact, maybe in the future, the term “school” won’t even be used anymore. Instead, we’ll drop our kids off at buildings bearing slogans and catchphrases.
My kid’s an honors student at “Got Education?”

After a 10-year career as a newspaper reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, Mayrav Saar left to try her hand at child rearing and freelance writing.

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