Find a song that has been recorded by several artists (at least 4) over the past 30-60 years (or re-recorded/re-mixed in a new style by the same artist). Listen to each version of the song and take notes about the style. Style includes sounds, vocal delivery, pacing, beat, structure, and lyrics. YouTube is a good place to begin your search, because their website also links related songs.
Questions to get you started:
Analyze the multiple interpretations of this song.
What differences do you see or hear?
What instruments are used in each version?
How is it sung?
Have any words changed from the original version?
What differences exist in how the songs are played and sung?
Has the structure of the song changed?
Evaluate how each version interprets the original song.
What effect do these differences have on the listener?
Is this new version better or worse than the original?
How well does each version reflect the time in which it was recorded?
Is this new version a tribute to the original in some way?
Would you pay money for this song?
Summarize your notes and findings in 2-3 pages. Write complete sentences, use correct spelling and grammar.
Irondale High School
Teaching poetry is about helping students find a love of words and language. This can be difficult when students don’t find the themes of love, death, eternity, and the human condition all that inspiring. Instead of giving them these overwhelming subjects to write about, I often use simple tricks to get them to find their own set of words, images, and ideas. Then, getting them to think about these ideas and images in new ways isn’t such a great leap. The simple poem below will spark their creative energy and result in poetry.
1) List about 15-20 gerund/noun pairs.
a) eating dinner
b) mowing grass
c) writing messages
d) playing hockey
–and so forth…
2) Mix the gerund/noun pairs in interesting ways.
Ex. playing hockey and eating dinner
might be reconstructed to be either playing
dinner or eating hockey.
3) Write down images that show what each new pair might look like, sound like, taste like, etc. Include images that SHOW/DESCRIBE the pair in action.
Ex: the puck is chocolate, the ice is ice cream, the
sticks are pretzels, players are hungry for a goal, the
skaters can taste a victory…
4) Use all the senses and imagine the possibilities.
5) Make the poem 20 lines long or more.
6) After you’ve written the poem, add a title that captures the reader’s attention and describes or adds to the ideas in the poem.
7) If art is of interest, draw pictures to accompany this poem.
Learn more about Scott Hall on our Contributors page