Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy: A playlist of belonging

Like many teachers this semester, I am teaching in what is called a “hyflex” model, which means that there are students in the “zoom room” at the same time that I have students in the physical space. My classroom for this particular course only holds 8 students (to maintain appropriate physical distance) so there are always more students on the computer than in the room. We are over the midpoint of the semester and even in the best of times, this is the point at which people are tired and yet still have a lot of work to do. And this is not the best of times: an ongoing pandemic, a contentious election cycle, and all the other things that people have going on makes for a lots of possibilities for stress.

Photo by William White on Unsplash

I started class today by inviting students to share a song that is a “go to” for them when they need some peace, or a smile on their face, or a bit of joy. I had several zoom students submit songs in the chat room, and the students in the room shared some as well. I compiled the playlist and posted it on our course Blackboard site so that students could access it. I have heard from several students throughout the day how much they appreciated this. A small change of pace, a chance to connect with peers in a different way, and a gentle reminder from their professor that it is good to stop and reflect on things that bring us joy.

In 1964, Dr. King was invited to write an opening program for the first jazz festival in Berlin. You can read more of the backstory and details at the link below, but in reading this I was struck by Dr. King’s discussion about the power of music. While he was particularly discussing jazz and the blues, I think its relevant for all forms of music:

And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.

(Read More: Martin Luther King Jr. on the Power of Music | https://diffuser.fm/martin-luther-king-jr-on-the-power-of-music/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral)

I see this truth every day: Everybody does long for meaning. Everybody does need to love and be loved. Most everybody I meet would like to clap hands and be happy. I do think everybody longs for faith…even if their faith doesn’t look like mine.

Here is the list of songs that bring my students joy, or at least a smile. Shared willingly in our strange-pandemic-hyflex-classroom. Building community one zoom session at a time.

Still Feel – Half Alive

Dance with Me – Shockley

Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder

Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest

Sunny Days – Allen Stone

Shambala – three dog night

Hozier—any of his music, I love it

Generational Synthetic (demo version) – Beach Fossils

Disney Girls – Beach Boys

Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees

Deep Sea Diver by briston Maroney

Clearly – Grace Vanderwaal

Free to Be Me—Francesca Battistelli

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

Cheesin’ – Cautious Clay, Remi Wolf, others

Its not living (if its not with you) – The 1975

Let it all out – Coin

Reborn – kid cudi

I love you so much-DJ Khaled

Closer to Fine- Indigo Girls

Oh bla di bla da – The Beatles

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