Genres take form in certain time periods and are often a reflection or reaction to events going on in societies and cultures. Disco is no exception! Disco began to form in the mid-sixties and became really popular in the seventies. It is a genre that, I would say, came about as a reaction to events and perceptions of those decades.
A lot of people associate disco with excess. Hopefully we don’t define the music or culture by this, even as this aspect reflects societal factors. Things to remember, The Vietnam War was in full swing, African Americans were still fighting for their rights as were women and LGBTQ communities. Who wouldn’t want a place to have fun and feel accepted considering all of this?!
Talking about and exploring disco music offers an avenue for introducing children to some of the historical events mentioned above as well as discussions about acceptance and tolerance.
Disco also combined and sampled from different movements, musical styles, and cultures. It had Latin influences, hippy and psychedelic influences, R&B/soul and more. So, once again, it offers a starting point to talk about these subjects. You could also move through history and show how we got to disco (or any music genre).
The most obvious benefit of any genre is music education. Usually there are instruments or attributes that are prominent in certain genres. This allows an avenue for children to take a more indepth look at these instruments, techniques, and attributes.
This site will work through many genres, starting with classical and moving forward in the coming months. However in the coming weeks, since I’ve been working a lot on disco, I will be posting blogs that touch on different aspects of disco music and culture and how to use them to round out music, history, and cultural education for the young student.
We’ll start with this video that spends a day with Mike. It will briefly give children a glimpse into what events caused people to have an attraction to disco music and culture.