TUNING YOUR RADIO

Brief summary of activity

The activity acts as an icebreaker cause of the mix of music and discussion where extracts from commercial and public music programmes are played to and discussed by training participants.

Aim of the activity

Learn about commercial music radios role in our lives and on the music industry interest in producing and selling music and the listener's expectation of radio music programmes.

Expected Outcomes

• Understanding commercial music radios role in our lives
• Realising of the importance of delivering information on the music tracks we play
• Analysing what makes music relevant to audiences. (is this a kind of mass manipulation? Which influence do social developments have?)
• Reflecting on the music industry interest in producing and selling music and considering whether independent labels have different conventions
• Considering what function does music fulfill in a radio show

infrastructure, setting, resources

playback equipment (laptop, mp3, etc and speakers)

Length

60 minutes

Materials

2 minutes extracts from public and commercial radio music programmes

How the activity should take place

Participants listen to 5 tracks from the local/regional music radio station (actually it’s not necessary to listen to it live –extracts of 2 minutes should be enough)
After each song participants discuss: Does anybody know the song? Who is the band? What year the song was produced? What makes us believe that? Why was this song recorded? What did the artist aim to do by recording the song? Who would play the song in community radio? Why?/Why not? Are there exceptions? The list of questions could be much longer.

Variations

Participants are requested to remix a song from the 70’s or 80’s: How would the song sound today? Which parts of the lyrics are still relevant? Which instruments or production effects would we use today?

Tips for Trainers

The activity gets boring if too many tracks are played. Usually five tracks are more than enough.
Caution! Discussing music can easily become very theoretical and nerdy.
Plus: Music is an emotional topic!
Answers to the questions should be collected on a flip chart to find differences or similarities.

This activity needs no special skills or knowledge. Not suitable for kids.

Analysis and evaluation

Depending on the collection of songs there are various possible focuses:
• Which role does commercial music radios play in our lives?
Very often we know a lot of songs somehow but don’t know the artist neither the name. Is this really a lack of knowledge? Do we miss important information?
• Is there something like modern music? What does it mean? Is there a sound we would call more interesting than others? Is there something like musical Zeitgeist? Or is this a kind of mass manipulation? Which influence do social developments have?
These questions could be a start for a discussion about music genres. Why did electronic music start in the 70’s but became a mass phenomenon in the 90’s with techno? What was HipHop in the 80’s–what is it today? What is the difference between folk songs from the 60’s and the 2000s? Why?
• Why do artists (or companies / or producers) record music? Why do we play music? Which needs do we follow? Is it all about entertainment? Or money / fame? Is there a message?
This discussion can lead into a lecture/talk about the music industry. Do independent labels have different conventions?
• Are there songs that are completely dull, boring or stupid? Which factors make a song look arbitrary, silly or even interesting, new, fascinating?
These questions can lead to a discussion about the use of music. What function does music fulfill in our show?
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