Variations on a Classic

Posted by Big Universe on Dec 6, 2011 11:41:33 PM

There are many Cinderella stories. Not just variations within one culture, but variations across cultures. A Christmas Carol has been done over and over again: it's been modernized and humor-ized, remade by Muppets and Mickey alike. Beethoven's Fifth Symphony has even been redone. There's a disco version, a "Snoopy" version done on children's instruments, and a version performed by the Transiberian Orchestra. Many great works have been altered in some way or another to breathe new life into them.

I used to believe that a remake of a great song was not worth my time. Being in the know of 50's rock, I didn't particularly enjoy it when "Sea of Love" was remade in the 80's. I didn't like it when Phil Collin's remade "Groovy Kind of Love." I felt is was too slow and not true to the original. And although I loved other songs by Cheap Trick, their take on "Don't Be Cruel" was just not right. I took pride in knowing and enjoying the originals. But looking back, I can appreciate the art of a remake or a remix. It's in knowing where something comes from that you can truly understand it.

Just yesterday I received my enewsletter from Big Universe and it showed me another remix of something great. It is a version of Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Eve by Robert Frost. I love studying this poem with my class in December. We read the text alone and then with illustrations found in books. I have my students memorize the poem and we even create our own poetry books with our own illustrated interpretations. Now I can add to our repertoire of interpretations.

I think remakes are great really. It's an artist trying to make sense of something wonderful. It allows them to dig deeper into the original and create something new to share. Having an open mind to look at the variety is important. I realize that now. It's fun to share different versions of music to my students as well as literature. Next week, when I introduce this classic poem to my class, we will have one more version to share together. It will click with some and not others, but that is the beauty of art and poetry.

So go - at this time of year you should share this wonderful poem with your class. Make sure to share the original and get your students on Big Universe to see this new version of the classic too!


Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reviews

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