Multiplication, Music, and Math For Kids

Isn’t it funny how some children struggle with their homework, but yet know every word to the latest rap song?

Granted, not all rap music is immoral or violent. In fact some of it is devoted to such positive goals as education, discouraging drug abuse, and solving social ills. But inoffensive lyrics may very well be the exception, not the rule.

Yes, much of rap music nowadays appears to send a message of rebellion, violence, anger, racism, and sexual prowess. Parents are often shocked at just how graphic and sexually explicit some of the rap videos are. Can they really affect the way some children behave?

According to one study of 500 college students, “violent music lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and feelings.” According to another recent study, “teens who spend more time watching the sex and violence depicted in … ‘gangsta’ rap music videos are more likely to practice these behaviors in real life.” This study of over 500 girls revealed that heavy viewers of gangsta videos were more likely to hit a teacher, get arrested, and have multiple sexual partners.

A well known British writer stated, The way to destroy a society is to debauch the children and that is being done with a vengeance today. If children are able to learn these things, then obviously they can also start to learn reading, writing, and math.

As parents, We know that success in school doesn’t come easily for all children. Some time ago experts have discovered the simple secret to success in learning and that is fun.

When children are having fun – they learn faster. So if you can incorporate education into the music they already listen to, this just might be a positive step forward to raising a more respectable human being in the future.

Images of Black Women in Music Videos Harkens Back to Hottentot

At this year’s Essence Music Festival songstress Jill Scott, and others, addressed a panel concerning the media’s portrayal of black women in popular music and videos. I was thrilled to see the attention given to this topic. Such a platform is long overdue.

The promotion of black women as body parts with a particular emphasis on the buttocks has a painful place in our history. In 1810, Saarjite Baartman (also known as Sarah), a Khosian woman, was taken from South Africa to Europe to be publicly displayed because of her steatopygia, or enlarged buttocks. Known as “The Hottentot Venus,” she was exhibited naked in a cage for more than five years. After Saarjite’s death, her genitals were removed and dissected as European scientists sought to understand the “primitive sexual appetite” of African women.

Black women’s thrusting, vibrating buttocks are the primary object in many of today’s videos. These videos perpetuate the continued assault on the sexual integrity of black women’s bodies. It is not simply the depiction of black women as big booty, scantily clad, gyrating, voiceless sex toys. But, there is little to counter these images anywhere else in the media. Consider the role that garnered actor Halle Berry an Academy Award. It involved an animalistic sex scene suggesting something primitive about the sexuality of black women.

I’m led to wonder about the impact upon black girls absorbing these images.
Although a link has long been suspected between sexually charged images in the media and the socio-emotional development of adolescent girls, empirical evidence is beginning to establish a correlation. And as you may assume, black girls don’t fare well.

A study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health found that black girls who view more rap videos are more likely to get in trouble with the law, take drugs and become infected with sexually transmitted diseases. “We can see there is some link, some association,” says study co-author Gina Wingood, an associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education at Emory University in Atlanta.

Whether or not we want to believe these assertions, the statistics regarding the sexual health of black girls are troubling. A survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found 32.7% of sexually experienced black girls aged 15-19 reported having 2 or more male partners in the last year. Research done by Girls Inc., showed that among black girls between the ages of 12-18 tested for sexually transmitted diseases, 25% tested positive for at least one STD, with chlamydia and gonorrhea most prevalent. Although black girls made up about 15% of all U.S. girls between the ages 13 and 19, they accounted for 72% of all HIV cases reported among young women. Many rap videos heavily promote sex without consequences. We can see the results are devastating.

Growing up as a girl in the 1970′s, the potential for women seemed enormous. Black women were part of changing history and left a formidable legacy. Recently, Oprah broadcasted her Legend’s Ball honoring great black women in media, music, and the civil rights movement. The legends were women I grew up watching–women like Diahann Carroll, Gladys Knight, Nancy Wilson, Cecily Tyson, Dorothy Height, Coretta Scott King, and Maya Angelou just to name a few. These women were dignified, graceful, and commanded respect. They were (and still are) beautiful black women, courageous and strong. As a girl, whenever I saw these women a sense of pride welled up inside of me and still does today. Who can black girls turn to today for such inspiration?

As a society, we must ask ourselves several questions. Do we care about the type of women girls grow up to become? Is their public image worth defending? Is their sexual integrity worth protecting? There was a period in our history during which black men risked lynching if they attempted to protect their women from the sexual assault of other men. I am perplexed by the silence of black men as black women are publicly degraded and sexually exploited. We are in need of a new sexual revolution, one which restores the dignity of black women. A revolution is needed that will transform black women from “baby mamas,” “chicken heads,” and “‘hos” to self-respecting wives and mothers (preferably in that order.)

While I applaud the Essence Music Festival for providing a platform to discuss the portrayal of black women in popular media, it is essential that we take action that will begin to make a difference. Getting the media to present balanced images of our women is imperative. But, we must also do some work on ourselves. By challenging every attempt to exploit the sexuality of black women and girls by men in our community we can create safer, healthier spaces for girls to grow up. And girls must be taught media literacy so that they can deconstruct the images they are absorbing.

As an advocate, consultant, and educator, I have worked on behalf of girls for more than a decade. I love girls. They are beautiful, caring, resilient, and strong. But, over the years I have seen girls struggle to grow up in a society that fails to protect them at every level. The rate of sexual harassment of girls in their own neighborhoods and schools is extremely high. Black girls face extraordinary incidents of sexual abuse at the hands of a relative or close family associate. Many of these girls end up involved in the juvenile justice system, the focal point of much of my work. Because of their traumatic sexual histories, girls in the juvenile justice system are easily lured into the sex industry. Pimps disguised as video producers seek them out as easy prey.

The troubling reality is that many of these girls are mothers of more than one child. What will their children grow up to become? Can they pass on to their children the love they didn’t experience? To change the trajectory of the lives of these girls, we need to begin with restoring their sense of value and worth. I have heard girls speak of making self-destructive choices because they believed they didn’t deserve any better. They saw their lives as worthless. As I mentor these girls, I tell them that they are valuable and have tremendous worth. And that it is not dependent on anything other than the fact that God made them wonderful. As I read to them from the book of Psalms, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well,” they are amazed. If we want to begin to transform the lives of girls, we as a community must demonstrate our belief that their lives are worthy by showing that we care enough to take action on their behalf.

I felt hopeful and relieved when a group of courageous women at Spelman College organized a boycott of Nelly, known for his misogynistic lyrics and music videos that demean black women. Our communities need more of that kind of organizing and action. We must keep the momentum going and begin to turn the tide. A future generation of healthy wives and mothers depends on it. The Hottentot Venus is a tragic part of the history of black women. Doing nothing about the present day assault on the public image of black women stands to be just as tragic.

Music Teaching – Making it More Interactive and Innovative

Music teaching is fun – such a very rewarding and challenging experience, a noble and inspiring profession, and most of all, a very fulfilling passion. Most music teachers would agree with me if I say that music teaching is more than a profession – it is a passion and a commitment that we need to fulfill both to earn for a living and of course, make life worth living.

Here are some useful tips on how we can make music teaching more fun, exciting and innovative:

Create a very supportive classroom climate.

Students learn best within cohesive and caring learning communities. As a music teacher, you have to be very versatile and flexible enough on how you can encourage and motivate your students not just to attend his or her classes and sessions with you but most of all, learn, understand, enjoy and love music. A cohesive and supportive learning community helps music teacher to make the learning process more effective and much away from boredom and school anxieties. We, music educators shall be the role models of an individual with a positive and cheerful disposition, friendliness, emotional maturity, sincerity, and affection towards our students both as individuals and as learners.

Providing more avenues for the learners to acquire, adopt and apply.

Give the learners more and more opportunities to learn music and make it their craft, hobby or passion. By doing this, there would be higher chances where they can learn and enjoy music at the fullest. Based from many researches and studies of education experts, students learn more when most of the available time is allocated to curriculum-related activities and the classroom management system that emphasize long-term learning and maximum acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Use innovative strategies and lots of interactive classroom activities.

The use of technology inside the classroom as well as the integration of other multimedia music teaching techniques such as the use of audio-visual tools, power point presentation projected over the LCD, Internet, web research, blogging, video demos, video uploading, and a lot more.

Another great way to go is to use music teacher software that can help you find the most reliable and effective resources online. Without overspending and taking much of your time, effort and resources, these web-based programs can actually provide you with the kind of professional music teaching assistance that you have been looking for quite some time.

Let them learn their ways to a more effective and efficient music learning.

Music teaching has to be dynamic and creative. Sometimes music teachers need to animate, reinvent and experiment more and more strategies that our students will surely enjoy, appreciate and love. We use collaborative learning because we believe it helps students learn more effectively, many of us also place a high premium on teaching strategies that go beyond mere mastery of content and ideas as it also promotes a larger educational agenda, one that encompasses several intertwined rationales.

So what are you waiting for? This is indeed the right time to take your music teaching experience to the next level. Whatever reasons you have in mind, such need or eagerness to strive for the best is good enough to jumpstart a better, brighter and a more positive music teaching career. Enjoy music teaching and always have fun with the students.

Music teaching can be more interactive and innovative with this software for music teachers. – Earl Marsden