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Would you let student learn a pop song with swearing in?


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#1 funkiepiano

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 15:22

I like it when my students suggest pop songs they'd like to learn on the piano. However a 12yo girl I teach at school has just asked for "Thank u next" by Ariana Grande for next term. I don't want to appear an old fogey, and I know she's playing not singing it, but I'm going to have to say no to her because of the lyrics, & suggest another Ariana song instead! Do you agree?
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#2 tulip21

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 16:36

No. Absolutely not. I consider swear words to be a negative influence on students. Nor do I wish students to promote that type of language. The nly exception is if they want to learn the tune (ONLY the tune, no lyrics) for some purpose.
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#3 fsharpminor

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 19:17

Certainly not with such a strong word repeated in the lyrics. 


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#4 jpiano

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 19:39

No, I wouldn't. I'd probably look for a version minus lyrics.


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#5 Aquarelle

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 20:05

Even if the lyrics are not printed in the version being used they are probably in the pupil's head as she plays. My answer would be a firm "No" but I would explain my reasons.


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#6 jpiano

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 22:52

Even if the lyrics are not printed in the version being used they are probably in the pupil's head as she plays. My answer would be a firm "No" but I would explain my reasons.

Yes, I did wonder about that too, Aquarelle. I did say no about a song (can't remember which one now) a while back which had a highly misogynistic video and words and I did explain why.


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#7 ma non troppo

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 00:47

Swearing doesn't offend me when used in an adult context. I actually think it has its uses. However, we are bound by convention and I would be worried teaching this song that I would be laying myself open to accusations. That would be the main reason I wouldn't teach it. I actually think that after a certain age children need to be taught about profanity and so they can use or not use it at choice in an informed way and assess the suitability or not of the situation.

But does it offend me? No. I may be mis quoting someone here, but to me it falls in the gutter, but for some it falls on their heads.
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#8 zwhe

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 07:26

Perhaps you could use film ratings as a guide - that word would make it a 15, so not suitable for a 12 year old. I know children younger than 12 actually use the word, but I think it is important for them to learn when swearing is not appropriate so they don't start to use it all the time.


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#9 Dorcas

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 09:01

I don't know the song, and am not going to rush off and look it up on youtube.  Some lyrics are just headache material.  In the past, I have got into trouble over song lyrics, and even if you rewrite a clean version, the trouble still follows!


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#10 Aquarelle

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 09:22

I had a parent who talked to me about what her child was learning in her school music  lessons. she described the song they were singing as being of "an extreme vulgarity." The next term she removed her child from that school and sent her, at considerable expense and some inconvenience to a a private school with what she felt were the correct values.


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#11 Sautillé

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 15:57

No, sometimes you have to play the adult.
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#12 barry-clari

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:02

If the song has a well known clean version (I.e. the lyrics have been changed and said version is played regularly on the radio), then yes, I don’t see a problem.
The Ariana Grande in question - its so-called ‘clean’ version just has the offending words bleached out : there is little doubt a bad word is being hidden. Steer clear.
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#13 chraze1

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:36

Hi, I've not posted for a while! Happy new Year!
I would re-direct the pupil to the youtube tutorials (falling block style) that are always available for pop songs and tell them to learn it in their own time. I find that often they learn a little bit - maybe the chorus and by that time, the next pop song has been churned out by the industry, which the pupil turns their attention to!
I encourage some pop songs but only those that transfer well to piano. A lot of them sound awful on solo piano and only really work because of the huge production (synth, drums, bass line etc) that is propping up a poor melody!
Would film music not be an option for your student?
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#14 DMC

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:50

Anyone offended by swear words perhaps ought not to read the works of Chaucer. 


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#15 ma non troppo

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:31

Having listened to the song in question now, I am more offended by the poor standard of song writing than the swear words. Of all the music to learn in the world, I would think this would be a long way down my list of priorities - it wouldn't even lend itself to the piano.
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