Music is a very powerful tool. One song can change our mood or make a moment more magical. June was African-American Music Appreciation Month and The ESL School at NYFA’s Level 5 students found new favorite songs and reflected on America’s observance of the incredible musical contributions of African Americans.
The students listened to a variety of music genres: blues, jazz, hip hop, and gospel to name a few. Let’s see what they had to say about last month’s observance:
Ethan Miao chose Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and he remarked,
“I used to study dance by following stars on TV when I was a child, and I had a dream that I would become a famous dancer at that time. Therefore, Michael Jackson was a teacher for me.”
When asked his thoughts on the United States’ African-American Music Appreciation Month, Ethan responded,
“I think a lot of quarrels or discrimination originate from a lack of understanding of culture. Overall, I believe that music has the ability to help people deal with challenges. America is a melting pot which includes a great number of ethnic groups. As a result, there would be a lot of cultural conflict, so holding a music appreciation month could fuse those cultures well.”
Vova, an Advanced student from Russia added,
“Sonny Rollins (a legendary American jazz saxophonist) was right when he said, ‘Music can help people overcome their differences.’ Let’s remember Ray Charles, whose concerts were attended by all ethnic groups in the USA. Every person in this country can get a chance. This chance doesn’t depend on skin color or social status. In my opinion, the existence of this chance makes America great.”
Tina Feng commented on the power of music when she said,
“Music is like people’s mental healthcare; it could heal from the inside. Music can transcend language as well — not only English speakers, but people from all around the world are influenced by African-American music.”
Another Level 5 student, Kari, reflected on the importance of music in her childhood,
“When I was a child, I didn’t speak English at all, but I listened to a lot of music from the USA. When I watched a clip of Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette,’ pictures from the past flashed in front of my eyes.”
Next time you listen to your favorite song, think about the meaning behind the words and the purpose of the lyrics. Everyone and their art deserve appreciation. Remember that listening to music is a fun way to help you learn about culture and language!