Teaching Students About George Michael’s Death

On December 25, 2016, the world lost a remarkable talent – George Michael. He was not only a quintessential musician but also an influential figure who made significant contributions to pop culture. As educators, we can use this opportunity to teach our students about the personal, cultural, and historical context behind George Michael’s life and career, helping them understand the longevity of his music and his impact on society.

Understanding George Michael’s Early Life

Begin by giving students an overview of George Michael’s early life as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. Born on June 25, 1963, in East Finchley, London, he grew up in a Cypriot-Greek-British family. Discuss how his family background shaped his outlook and future career in music. Share anecdotes from his childhood that spurred his interest in pop culture and inspired him to follow such a path.

Wham! And the Birth of an Icon

Share the story of how George Michael came to form the band Wham! alongside Andrew Ridgeley. Discuss their breakthrough hit “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and explain how it skyrocketed them to international fame. Teach students about Wham!’s unique blend of pop, dance, and soul music that resonated with audiences worldwide. In addition to their chart-topping hits, emphasize their memorable visual style, influencing both fashion and music video formats.

George Michael as a Solo Artist

Delve into George Michael’s solo career after Wham!’s disbandment in 1986. Explore how he evolved as an artist with successful albums such as “Faith” and “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1”. Analyze his songwriting ability to convey deep emotions through symbolism and powerful lyrics.

LGBTQ+ Advocate and Philanthropic Actions

Discuss George Michael’s openness about his sexuality and how he became an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Share the story of his coming out and how it impacted pop culture during a time when society was less accepting of different sexual orientations. Highlight his philanthropic efforts in fighting the HIV/AIDS crisis and supporting various charities.

Teaching Loss, Appreciation, and Continuance

Conclude the lesson by reflecting on the significance of George Michael’s death to the music and cultural landscape. Encourage students to appreciate his contributions while understanding the loss we all experience when influential figures pass away. Discuss the notion of cultural legacy, inspiring students to carry on aspects of George Michael’s values, such as fighting for human rights.

Final Remarks

Teaching students about George Michael’s life and career provides a valuable opportunity to explore topics such as music history, societal changes, personal growth, LGBTQ+ rights, and philanthropy. By helping students understand the significance of his contributions to pop culture and society at large, we encourage them to develop a well-rounded appreciation for diverse artists who make a lasting impact on our lives.

Choose your Reaction!