Regardless of the end goal, everyone learns better through a great story. Why not make it fun and interesting at the same time??
Most of the first SongSonnets™ I personally produce focus on various women in history, telling their perhaps not-often-told stories. One of my favorites was the Amelia Earhart SongSonnet™…
Blue Skies : composed by Irving Berlin, there is a verse of this tune that is not often played. The verse speaks to optimism in the face of challenge and I thought it was perfect to kick this particular set off as Amelia was constantly told she couldn’t do it. The tune goes on to speak about how the skies are clearing and things are looking up. We set the stage with this viewpoint from the skies.
Alone Together : composed by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Howard Dietz. I like to introduce this tune as a love song between Amelia and her plane, Electra. All accounts point to her deep love of flying and direct connection to her aircraft and the poet/romantic in me likes to think she was perfectly happy to be stranded on an island with the love of her life.
Never Will I Marry : composed by Frank Loesser and made popular by Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, this tune speaks to Amelia’s refusal to marry her publicist (George Putnam) without a prenup firmly in place. This document made clear that if either of them felt trapped or suffocated or held back professionally in the marriage, they would be free to walk away. I admire this move for both the desire to maintain individuality and forge a lasting partnership and wrote lyrics to a second verse that opens up the tune to the possibility of a partnership that allows freedom to exist as well.
Skylark : composed by Hoagy Charmichael with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. This tune is perfection on its own and within the context of Amelia’s life and disappearance, feels like a dirge. A nod to the mystery of her death, Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia” is tacked on to the end of the song with a haunting, lingering phrase.
This debuted at Rockwood Music Hall back in 2016 with Valerie Farber on vocals, Jamie Reynolds on piano, Matt Aronoff on bass, and Nathan Ellman-Bell on drums.
Highlighting a person’s life and achievements is only one example of an educational SongSonnet™. Weather patterns, mathematical equations, historic events – all could be crafted to tell a unique story across music. What would you like to teach?
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