College Girl music earbuds

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Dear Reader,

Welcome to another Media Moment! This month, Donna Lowe, of the John E. Robbins Library at Brandon University, shares how she bonds with students and hopes to inspire them by discussing music tastes and introducing them to her own favorites. These stories are meant to help create a village square of commiserating and co-celebrating the many ways media intersect with the lives of children. Please comment and even submit your own ‘Moment’ to share with your fellow readers.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,

The Mediatrician®

Running Dialogue

I work at a university music library, I’m surrounded by twenty-something youth all day long, and I’m a runner. These may seem like disconnected facts, but I’m going to attempt to connect them by saying that they’re all big parts of my regular life. A number of students who use our library know that I’m a pretty serious runner, and occasionally I’ve had conversations with them that unfold something like this:

Student: I’d like to start running, but I think it would be so boring. Isn’t it boring? What do you think about while you run? Do you listen to music?

Me: I definitely listen to music! It’s what keeps me motivated sometimes. The right tune can be the one thing that pushes me those extra blocks when I’m feeling really tired.

Student: Maybe I would run if I was listening to music. What do you listen to? Could you make me a playlist?

And there’s the question that can potentially help me earn my paycheck. Because of course I could make a playlist. I could instantly come up with about 50 songs that get me fired up to start running, that push me to run faster, that inspire me to make it to the top of that big hill, that make me glad just to be alive and moving. And I’d love for others to use my favorite music to take part in one of my favorite pastimes, but the problem here is the word “my.” If I truly want music to inspire and motivate a student–especially to take up a new physical activity–I need to start a dialogue.

Finding out what music a student already loves is a pathway into her artistic world, which then allows me to use my own knowledge to fill in the blanks of “if this/then that” equations in a musical way. It’s a challenge sometimes to find a connection between my own interests and what “the kids” are listening to these days (how exactly do I get an EDM fan to try listening to LCD Soundsystem, Death From Above 1979 or–if I’m really lucky–Brian Eno?), but it’s also good for me–and for them, too, I hope. I keep abreast of popular music trends, get to know where students are creatively, and respectfully discuss their taste in music. Having this information helps me choose my own musical favorites to share with them in hopes of broadening their aural palettes and strengthening our bond. If some of them turn into runners as a result, that will only be a bonus, and I look forward to seeing them, earbuds in, pounding the pavement along with me. I’ll be the one *not* listening to Skrillex.

~ Donna Lowe

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