Welcome to the newest edition “of The Why. Why are school students going to be required to study The Beatles?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it gives yours truly a chance to educate the Kanye West crew as well as further avoid answering more embarrassing, personal questions.)
Actually, what the question probably refers to is something happening “across the pond” as they say. Indeed, according to Independent and other sources, it was 48 years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play and come September 2016 next year he will be teaching kids about music too.
The Brit’s biggest exam board, the AQA, is to make The Beatles’ iconic album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a central theme of a “refreshed” GCSE music course. (The General Certificate of Secondary Education is a specific academic qualification given in a specified subject.)
Among other requirements, students will be required to study three tracks off the album: “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, and “Within You Without You”. Students will also be required to study the harmony structure, melody, rhythm and meaning of the lyrics.
Some uninformed folks in the UK are whining about the inclusion of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” because of that old rumor that the song–which includes the letters “LSD”- –refers to drug use even though in Lennon’s last print interview (among other places) he made it clear that despite any potentially drug-influenced imagery the song was inspired by a picture drawn by Julian which featured a friend of Julian’s—a gal named Lucy—in a diamond-filled sky.
Still, the question remains: why are students going to be required to study The Beatles? Seb Ross, the head of AQA’s music department stated: “We’ve chosen The Beatles because John, Paul, Ringo and George helped to define popular music and the iconic Sergeant Pepper album has taken on a life of its own.”
Treasurer of the British Beatles Fan Club, Ernie Sutton believes it is “a great tribute to The Beatles.” He noted that students would be required to study the music of The Beatles because:
“The Beatles changed the face of popular music and song writing in a very short space of time which future musicians benefitted from,” adding that The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album was “ground breaking and influential” and “changed recording techniques for ever.”
Finally, Ed Biggs, writer for ContactMusic, concluded that yet another reason students will now be required to study The Beatles is because Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band “opened up the potential of the studio as another instrument in the creation of pop music.”
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