I am a music lover.
Growing up in dance has trained my ear in different ways. For example, I have perfect pitch-which not many people know about. I can tell when someone has altered a song by an “octave” – or in other words a whole 8 notes higher or lower. It makes a HUGE difference to me. Especially with Disney songs! But to others, it sounds almost the same. Some people in dance even used to look at me weird. When I was in school I took Choir. Once I was in high school, I figured it out. Then my teachers were in trouble! Lol! I remember in our Vocal Jazz group I would sometimes freak out if we weren’t singing in the right octave. I would feel weird, and feel totally off. For anyone else who has this, they know how I feel. I know, it sounds crazy….but trust me it’s real!
Loads of people listen to music; that’s how iPods were invented! In today’s world, our iPhones are made to have music while some other brands don’t always do music-in a good way that is. Music helps you escape or feel better. It helps others get exercise or go to sleep even.
As I stated earlier, I like all kinds of music. I am also mature enough to handle bad words or suggestive phrases in today’s pop genre. Literally almost every song you hear on the radio-even with beeped out words- is talking about sex, break ups or drugs. Even Taylor Swift talks about sex or break ups in her new album. And the kids love her!! So do I…. Look at Miley Cyrus; Wrecking Ball doesn’t sound bad but don’t let a kid watch the music video. Oh wait, they probably already did…. They also listened to the song #SELFIE, 50 times. Explain how that one doesn’t talk about sex, sexting, drinking or smoking…
Let me tell you a story about my other job. I think I’ve found some music haters out there…..
I teach at a dance studio & have been a dancer my entire life. Music speaks to me in different ways. And it’s true when dancers tell you they aren’t always listening to the words. I do more now as an adult but I don’t let it hinder my ability to use a song. ANY song.
So the new dance season just started. I now have a bomb Jazz Funk class! It’s basically hip hop mixed with your basic jumps & turns. Oh, and you can get away with dancing to ANY genre of music. I had a teacher from L.A. who taught me that when I was 15. He came to us every week to teach hip hop. However, he’d always say, “I don’t care what they say, I’m teaching Jazz Funk. This is what I like.” I loved it! We discovered how you can pick beats out of every kind of song-fast or slow- and pop to it. So now that I have this class, I wanted to start it off right. I have to play the right songs otherwise I’ll be the joke of the teachers. The class is for ages 12+ and can be seen as a little more sensual/sexy. I’m not talking as bad as burlesque dancers- no! No stripper poles or even chairs. Just more booty shakin’ than your normal hip hop class- which is taught by a guy at our studio. Nothing wrong with that either! But your rarely see a hip hop teacher who wants to shake their butt. They prefer to teach the pop, lock & grooving. I’m good at that too but I love Jazz Funk. Anyways….
I was warming the girls up and a song came on by Katy Perry. The iPod was on shuffle and I knew when it came on I’d hear about it later… The song starts out with these words: ” You make me feel like I’m losing my virginity!”
That is the ONLY time she uses the word virginity. There aren’t even ANY cuss words in it! Not the F-word, sh*t, or even balls. And she doesn’t say the word “sex” either. She may be insinuating the song is about sex but she doesn’t say it bluntly. I got this song when I was 17 from her album Teenage Dream. Let me remind you of that lovely album cover…
The song that came on was Hummingbird Heartbeat. We’ve all heard worse! 1 minute into the song, my boss came in to tell me that some moms in the lobby were complaining. These moms were not parents of the girls I was teaching. They were parents of a group of kids in the other room-ages 3-7. That room included my 7 year old sister. I understand if it came on and those girls were in my class. But they weren’t and it wasn’t blasting loud! It didn’t help the one of the dancers in my class sang out the phrase. But hey, she was having fun! I can’t deny her that right. I don’t write the music! It just happens. I’m sorry if I offended anyone due to religion or how they want to raise their kid. But really!?! There was NO BAD WORD! I know they most likely didn’t hear it because they were doing their class in the other room with other, louder music. We are all adults, so act like one!
I’ve learned the best reaction for kids & music phrases is to just not react. Now, I’m not saying to play Kanye for babies. No, I wouldn’t dare. And for the younger hip hop class I teach I don’t have this song even on the playlist. Do I look stupid? Yeah… I don’t. As I stated earlier, most songs carry the subliminal message of sex. Lady Gaga’s music is MOSTLY that. But if I play a song and I realize that I forgot to buy the clean version, I don’t say anything if the bad word surfaces. Once I get home, I get the right version and nobody knows a thing. I know-from experience- that the kids aren’t listening for that word anyways! Not to mention the word in question is a big word which they haven’t heard before, right?? One of my bosses has played a song that said “Bitch” in it twice!! Blaring loud through the entire place! And I’m the one in trouble?! It’s not my fault the walls to each room don’t go all the way up to the ceiling. That’s just how they made the place. If you had a guest choreographer teaching your child & they played a song with a bad word in it, would you complain? No, because the child is experiencing what it’s like to learn from famous professionals! All teachers should be treated the same way, famous or not.
I’ve even taught at a real school recently and as long as I had no bad cuss words, I was ok. I did play Micheal Jackson 98% of the time. Hey, he’s the king. What better way to learn hip hop, right?! Im not bashing the studio I teach in; they gave me my first job and I’ve stuck with it. I do love it but I also need to be able to teach older kids & feel a little more free once in a while. I’m only 22! I’m not 38+ teaching and dying for retirement. I’m doing this because I love to dance. I want more kids to feel what I did growing up. That’s why I’m still here. My mom- who basically renewed her dance “mom status” once my sister started company- never complained about the songs we used or even warmed up to. She heard the words but stayed quiet; didn’t draw attention to it. If my Nana ever said anything about some songs I would always say this: “Don’t worry Nana, I don’t listen to the words anyways.”
Hmm.. Didn’t I say that somewhere earlier??
To the moms who never complain or have older kids and have gotten used to it: I LOVE YOU! You trust us as teachers & human beings to teach your children a skill & the right way to handle things; calmly, collectively, & with a clear head. I learned the most from dance myself. Once I was older, I noticed more yes. Did I draw attention to it? No. And I’m pretty sure most teachers liked the fact that I was quiet & didn’t complain about their music choice.
To the new dance moms who’ve watched the show Dance Moms too seriously: You have to trust people to teach your child. The classroom/dance floor is our home; don’t make us hate being there. I mean this in the kindest regards possible. My kids understand how we teach and that’s all we need. We love them too! I doubt any teacher would want to mess up a child’s life just because of a song. Let’s be real: Music won’t do that to them. Life doesn’t go right at times but that’s life! In terms of dance, I’m gonna quote Footloose here; a movie we all love & understand…
” Ecclesiastes assures us… that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh… and a time to weep. A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”- Ren to City Council
Now is your child’s time to learn. Don’t stress them out about it or take dance away. Dancing is a celebration & so is music. Let them listen -within reason- to what they want. But don’t hate on the teachers who try to teach them about music or dance. There are things we can control that’s true. But things happen and there’s nothing you really can do about them. It’ll happen sometime. But trust us to do our job. It’s not to teach them bad words, it’s to teach them about music. And accidents happen. We are only humans…..
Thanks for reading! Love you all!
* All photos from Google or my close friend.