It was sad to hear the news that Robin Gibb had passed away at the weekend, succumbing to the cancer and related illnesses that had affected him recently. As part of the Bee Gees, his influence on music in the latter quarter of the 20th century cannot be underestimated or dismissed with several commentators and contemporaries saying they are second only to The Beatles.
Last night we sat and watched the excellent “One Night Only” on the Bio channel, a recording of a ’97 Vegas concert featuring most of their big hits. I was pleased to see that my 15-year old daughter was aware of some of their music and actually knew some of the tunes.
But that just made me think… if kids are taught art, English literature and similar at school then shouldn’t there also be space somewhere for learning to appreciate music and to at least give them a bit of an appetite for the legacy of music instead of the plastic pop and manufactured “celebrities” that they idolise.
Why not teach some of the main classical pieces? Introduce them to blues and jazz, take them through the history of Rock’n’Roll and pop music. Teach them to understand the cultural significances, the lyrical and music complexities and beauty, the lives that led to the great songs and symphonies.
Why not have lessons listening to Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Abba, Nirvana, the Specials, Dylan and more. Put the music into context within history and help them to learn history in that way, by associating music to events. Let the music tell the story.
And, you never know, it may just be that legends will live on and that a new generation of musicians will rise up and compose the next great songs to inspire a generation whilst having a greater understanding of world history and social changes.