This is the last week of piano lessons. I thought I’d be a slightly modern teacher and send each student home with a simple arrangement of a current song, just to establish the fact that I am still young and hip and “totally rad.” (Wait, is totally rad a good thing? Cuz I’m not quite sure.) My first problem, I don’t know any songs that are currently popular as I don’t tend to gravitate towards those stations on the radio. So what does any red-blooded American piano teacher do when they need to know something nowadays? They google it! And, thus, I googled “current pop hits 2016.” (That may be the only place you see the words “thus” and “google” used in the same sentence.)
I found a list. Some singer’s names I even recognized. (Even dinosaurs know who Justin Bieber is, for pity’s sake.) The songs were all foreign to me, so I did a little listening and a bit of lyric-reading.
I now need to pour bleach into my ears.
Song #1 has words including “I’m sending pic after picture, I’mma get you fired.” OK, I know what kind of pictures she’s sending. Nope, that song won’t do. Let’s try song #2: “I’m a real big baller cause I made a million dollars and I spend it on girls and shoes.” Well, not the exact ideas I want to send a child home with over the summer. Next, please! “If you like the way you look that much, oh baby, you should go and love yourself.” Ummmm . . . no. Not that one either. There’s a song called “Pillow Talk” but don’t be fooled, it’s NOT the Doris Day version. Scroll down some more . . . oh, here’s one . . “Let It Go.” Whoops, not the one from Frozen . . . but it actually starts out kind of sweet and then SKKKIIIIIID . . . . “From nervous touch and getting drunk . . ” Nope, nope, nope. Can’t use that one.
Perhaps the icing on the raunchy-lyric cake came at my next discovery. . . Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman.” (Isn’t she a nice gal from just down highway 95 from me, down Boca way?) I’m not sure why this song in particular rankled me more than the others. But she says things like “All girls wanna be like that, bad girls underneath like that.” Seriously? First of all, I don’t agree. Secondly, do we really want to give this message to all the teenage boys out there? When we tell our kids that “No means no” and then wink and say, “but actually all girls want to be ‘bad’ so go ahead, she really wants you to.” Are we really still in this place?? Little girls (and little boys) are soaking up this music like little dry Bounty paper towels and they are dangerous messages . . . maybe the song title really does fit. But when did we go from Carol King feeling like a “Natural Woman” to this celebration of being a “dangerous” one? God help us.
One of my girls came with a note from her mom – her grandpa had requested she learn how to play “Autumn Leaves” and “The Exodus Song.” Thank you, Grandpa. I could hand those out with nary a care.
No current songs for the rest of my kiddos. I may hear 10 versions of Fur Elise come September, but as I always say, “You can never have too much Beethoven.” I think that officially puts me out of the running as “Coolest Piano Teacher.”
And that’s totally fine with me.