Teaching Students About Prince

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, was a musical icon who left an indelible mark on the music world. His music defied traditional genres, blending rock, funk, soul, and R&B to create a sound that was truly unique. While Prince passed away in 2016, his music continues to influence and inspire new generations of musicians. Teaching students about Prince is a great way to expose them to the diverse and innovative sounds of his music, while also exploring the cultural context in which his music was created.

For many students, Prince’s music may be a new discovery. One way to introduce students to Prince is by playing some of his most popular songs, such as “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Kiss.” These songs showcase Prince’s signature sound, which is built on layers of guitars, synths, and drums. As students listen to these songs, encourage them to identify the different elements of the music, such as the instrumentation, harmonies, and lyrics.

Beyond the music itself, Prince’s life and career are rich with interesting stories and cultural significance. Encourage students to research Prince’s background, his rise to fame, and his impact on the music industry. For example, students may be surprised to learn that Prince was a multi-instrumentalist who played guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards on many of his recordings. They may also be interested in learning about the various controversies surrounding his music, such as his battles with record labels over ownership of his music and his sexually explicit lyrics in songs like “Darling Nikki.”

Another way to teach students about Prince is to examine the cultural context in which his music was created. As an African American artist in the 1980s and 1990s, Prince’s music reflects his experiences as a person of color. Students can explore themes in his music related to race, gender, and sexuality, and how these topics intersect with broader cultural issues in the United States and around the world. For example, Prince’s song “Sign o’ the Times” addresses social and political issues such as poverty, drug addiction, and the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Teaching students about Prince can also provide opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration. For example, English classes can analyze Prince’s lyrics and poetry, while dance classes can create choreography to accompany his music. Art classes can explore the bold and colorful visual style of Prince’s album covers and music videos, while social studies classes can examine the historical and cultural contexts in which his music was created.

In short, teaching students about Prince is a fun and engaging way to expose them to new sounds and cultural perspectives. By learning about Prince’s life, career, and music, students can develop a deeper appreciation for the creative power of music and its ability to push boundaries and inspire change.

Choose your Reaction!