World Series and Critical Pedagogy

It is World Series time, and I am thinking about ways I might connect the World Series to my music lessons.  The World Series embodies broad concepts of loyalty, spirit, community, and motivation; any of these concepts could provide the umbrella for a variety of Critical Pedagogy music lessons.  In addition, there is the metaphorical connection of the “team” with the “ensemble”.  There are numerous parallels to be drawn between music and baseball, so I hope that you are not teaching rondo form when the world is glued to the World Series.  Many of you teach in Phillies’ and Yankees’ territory, so to “honor the students’ world” you should consider using the World Series to bridge the gap between the way students engage with music outside of the classroom to the musical experiences you plan for students in the classroom. 

There is a particular excerpt of a song from Charlie Brown that is particularly well-suited for Critical Pedagogy.  Lucy is the captain a baseball team that includes boys, girls, and dogs.  This musical excerpt deals with self-esteem issues, reflective journaling (now known as “blogging”), issues of cooperation within a team, as well as the positive—or not—impact of a motivating leader.  To find the Charlie Brown clip, follow this link to YouTube.  If you are blocked from YouTube on school computers, there are online programs that convert YouTube videos into downloadable files on your computer.

  • P.D.Q. Bach has a spoof of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony written for orchestra and commentators.  This is available on the CD “The Wurst of P.D.Q. Bach.” 
  • Abbot and Costello’s famous “Who’s On First?” routine is available on a CD entitled “Baseball’s Greatest Hits” that is available from amazon.com.  “Who’s On First?” can also be found on YouTube. 
  • Baseball sheet music from the 19th and early 20th centuries are available for download at http://www.amaranthpublishing.com/ballgame.htm#sheet
  • Heart from Damn Yankees is a scene that can be found in many interpretations on YouTube.  This scene, rendered by your students, could be an excellent step for “creating the experience” or “problematizing.”

However in-depth or broad your lesson will be, do not let the World Series go by because it is not in your curriculum.  As Lapine wrote in his musical “Sunday in the Park with George” –CONNECT!