I had the amazing honor of being asked to be on Noa Daniel’s Personal Playlist Podcast (BTW, notice I didn’t say “recently”. Because this post is 4 months past due. Because I’m awful). While Noa is a phenomenal and inspiring educator (if you doubt me, check out Episode 23 of my show with her), her show isn’t really about education.
Noa’s show is about using music to tell who you are. The way she goes about this is by asking you to pick out three songs. The first song should be nostalgic, the second is one that is part of your identity or you identify with, and the third is one that motivates you.
As I tell Noa in the episode, picking my three songs was a true struggle. I grew up in a house of music, all kinds of music. My dad was a band director/music teacher all through my childhood, and we constantly had music playing. I was also in band myself, playing the trumpet all through middle and high school, and I even started college as a music education major (though it didn’t stick).
With that in mind, identifying just three songs that showed the breadth of my love of music, and how important it is to me, while also showing who I am as a person and my beliefs, was tremendously difficult. Noa and I have been trying to schedule this for well over a month, and that whole time I have been deliberating and struggling with this choice.
If you’d like to the whole episode, please checkout my P3 with Noa. You can click play below. If you’d prefer to read some of my thoughts, and maybe a little more than I said on the podcast, read on!
Nostalgic Song: The Saga Begins by Weird Al Yankovic
Weird Al maybe hokey or silly, but I really adore his spirit and style. He is the embodiment of not taking yourself, or anything, too seriously. When I first heard a Weird Al song as a kid, I thought it was the greatest thing of all time. I laughed so hard my ribs hurt. And back in those days (man, I sound old), you couldn’t fall into the YouTube hole and hear his entire catalog, so I had one tape that someone had made and it only had one song of Weird Al’s. Play, rewind, wait, play, rewind…
But it was this song, The Saga Begins, that really made me truly fall in love. I was (and am) a HUGE Star Wars fan. I read book after book in the extended universe throughout my middle school years, and couldn’t get enough (Corran Horn is the best Star Wars character ever even though he doesn’t exist anymore!). Combining the silly parody of Weird Al with a universe I was so immersed in really set this thing in stone for me.
To this day, I try to embody that funny and relaxed approach to my life. I try not to take things too seriously, whether it is a problem at work, something difficult in my life, or even a mistake I made that is causing me more problems, I laugh it off and move on. Fix the problem when you can, find a solution, act on it, and keep going.
Connection Song: Stay Together For The Kids by Blink-182
One of the things I thought about when picking out songs was the albums that were on repeat during my life. Blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was an album that never really stopped playing for me. I enjoyed every song on that LP, knew every word from start to finish. To this day, if I hear a song from that album on the radio, I will immediately start singing the song that was next when it ends.
This song in particular though had a powerful connection for me. Like I said in the show, this is one of the first songs I can think of that I really felt spoke my life. As a child in a broken home, this felt real. And I bring those connections forward into my son’s life (who has divorced parents), and remembering the struggle my students go through.
What really spoke to me for this song though is the power of music even now. In the episode with Noa, I got truly personal. I make a point pretty regularly to separate my personal life from who I am online. Not excessively so, but still, somethings are just for me, they aren’t relevant to education or my blog. With Noa, talking about this song, I had said a ton about my personal life before I even realized it. Music is so personal it makes sense that my discussion about it has that power.
Hype Song: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
I feel that Bohemian Rhapsody is a song that needs no explanation. If I think of songs that inspire me, there are lot that make me feel good, keep me going, and pick me up. But this is the only song I can think of that absolutely requires a physical response. I just have to headbang.
Overall, this was an awesome show to be on. I strongly recommend you checkout the Personal Playlist Podcast with Noa Daniel. She does them with a lot of great guests, and it is so much fun.