Why 'protest music' lessons in 2020 must be different
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
I've been seeing a lot of teachers posting on Facebook, asking for 'protest music' to do with their students. Some of the replies comments have included 'Imagine' by John Lennon, 'American Idiot' by Green Day and 'Where Is The Love' by the Black Eyed Peas. Many are sharing Amnesty International's pdf on protest songs featuring Kate Tempest and Joan Baez. While these songs and resources have their place, now is not the time.
It's frankly inexcusable to ignore the #BlackLivesMatter movement and simply talk about generic 'protest music'.
First of all, music teachers need to recognise the time that we are living in. It's not enough to just talk about 'protest music'. If wasn't ok before 2020, it's definitely not ok now. Let's be specific and intentional in our actions. Musicians have written 'protest music' about everything from LGBTQ+ rights, various international wars, Partition, Apartheid and the Grenfell disaster. Right now, in 2020 we are talking abo