Musical Interlude

By Anthony Rebora — March 06, 2010 1 min read
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Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning conference, New York.

Nancy Flanagan will probably be disappointed in me but I was only able to catch the tail end of Bobby McFerrin’s session here, though I did get to see him do a brilliant 3-minute rendition of all of the Wizard of Oz. Let’s see Arne Duncan or Linda Darling Hammond top that. ...

Before that, during the Q&A session, someone asked McFerrin what he thinks the music that today’s young people listen to tells us about our time. His response was surprisingly pessimistic, I thought, given his typically upbeat personality. “I have a problem with music that isn’t redeeming,” he said, adding that he dislikes lyrics that are “misogynist, violent, negative, pushy, or bossy.” That brought a round of applause from the educator-filled ballroom.

And in case you’re looking for things to download, someone else asked McFerrin to name his five favorite musical artists. He said the question was unfair because there were so many but he did go ahead and name Mozart, Gershwin, Paul Robeson (particularly on an album of spirituals called “Deep River”), Weather Report, and Miles Davis (with special mention of “Sketches of Spain”).

He also made a little girl in the audience laugh very, very hard by honking his nose like a trumpet. Pretty “redeeming” stuff there ...

I’ll have more shortly, or tomorrow at latest, on America’s math-teaching crisis. I’ll also see if I can figure out what Queen Latifah is up to.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.