Submitted by Cindy Lester, Campbell, Missouri

Idea posted March 31, 2015

I teach K-12 vocal music, and I find the junior high age students are the hardest to keep on task.

For this lesson, I gave a brief history on Johann Pachelbel, then we discussed the definition of a "canon." I then played Canon in D on the piano, in layers, adding more and more each time so they could get the idea. Many of them recognized the song, and we discussed where it was that they had heard the song before (e.g, movies, commercials, etc.). Then, I played contemporary songs that use Canon in D. "Graduation" by Vitamin C was an obvious choice, but there are many others. (I just Googled it and came up with a long list and picked several that I felt would suit my particular students the best.) They listened for the similarities between the canon and the contemporary songs. Some were easy to hear and others more subtle. We ended the hour by watching "Pachelbel Rant" on YouTube, which they thought was hilarious. WARNING: This video has a few bad words in it, so I looked for a clean version. It still had a few bad words, so I just turned the volume down at those two or three places. Then we discussed why so many artists use Canon in D.

All-in-all it held my large junior high classes' attention.