Music Television

I missed the morning shows this morning. Okay, I’ll be honest, I miss the morning shows most days. I’m usually overruled in favor of an episode of “Dinosaur Train” after breakfast. But apparently I missed out today on the kick off of the summer concert series on both Today – featuring Rihanna (first on the set list? S&M, which I’ve already written about) – and Good Morning America, where watchers woke up to Lady Gaga arriving on stage via zipline.

So happy together
Television and music have long been partners. Long before “Music Television” aka MTV (you know, back when they actually played music videos), there were glimmers of what was to come … Ed Sullivan and the Beatles, for instance . Television gives artists a platform to reach millions of new fans. And conversely, shows like American Idol have launched dozens of music careers.

Speaking of American Idol
I’ve heard a lot of conversations this week (both in person and online) about the outcome of this season’s American Idol. I’ve also read commentary on the content of this season’s shows, the faith of the two finalists, and the various guest artists’ performances.

Jonathan McKee wrote yesterday about the seemingly split personality of this season – the wholesome images of the two young finalists and the sexually charged performances by guest artists like Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. (His post also includes a note from one of winner’s Scotty McCreery’s youth leaders, giving a little first-person insight into this young mans upbringing and faith.)

I’m not a pop-culture expert, but I honestly can’t think of another television show that has impacted the music industry like American Idol. Maybe “American Bandstand” would rank right up there. (So I guess that makes Ryan Seacrest this generation’s Dick Clark … I included the Wikipedia link for those of you that don’t recognize that name.)

I read this morning that Scotty McCreery’s single “I Love You This Big” is poised to be the 300th song from the American Idol franchise to chart at #1. The numbers are pretty amazing:

Despite the industry-wide decline in album sales, the Idol franchise has sold more than 50 million albums in its 10-year history, and over 250 million downloaded singles from iTunes alone.

Making choices
When we talk about the impact that music has on students, it’s so much bigger than the lyrics of the songs they listen to (although the lyrics definitely matter, as I’ve written about before). Music is more than what your students hear in their headphones. It’s a three dimensional thing, coming at them from all directions. On TV. On their computer. In ads. It’s an integral part of our culture, and avoiding it is impossible.

But making smart choices isn’t.

Obviously I’m not condoning giving up music, and I’m not telling anyone to pitch their TV out the window and never watch another morning show again. Burying our heads in the sand is impossible – and frankly, not what I think Jesus would want us to do. So how do we make wise choices? And teach students to make their own wise choices? Share your ideas in the comments … we’re all in this together!

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