I gave a talk to a bunch of teenagers the other day. These were high school guys and girls who were at a career day at LCCC where I teach a class in recording music. In two sessions Bret Alexander from the Badlees and I talked our throats sore about how exciting a career working in recording studios could be. These kids had signed up to hear about this. They were out of school on a beautiful day. The College fed them loads of pizza and soft drinks. I have to imagine it was a pretty good day. It had to better than sitting in class in high school.
You wouldn’t have known it by the response we got from most of these future adults.
Now let me say this. I may not be the world’s most dynamic speaker. I do think I can make myself understood and I know that Brett was very interesting to me. I have taught this stuff for a few years and I put as much passion as I could into our little presentation.
To be fair there were a couple of kids who were obviously fascinated by what we had to say. They peppered us with questions and one even had his picture taken in the control room of the studio used to teach the class. So out of about 25 kids, two were really there.
The rest? I couldn’t get a reaction out of them no matter what. This may be a little harsh but there is a line in a Don Henley song called If Dirt Were Dollars. It goes, and I paraphrase just a bit “they just looked at me, uncomprehendingly Like cows at a passing train”. I think I could have told these kids that the building was on fire and there was no exit and they would have just sat there.
It kind of makes me nervous. And on the other hand it makes me feel a bit sad. The impression I get is that it takes a whole lot of stimulation, more than a teacher can give, to get these adolescents engaged.
Quite possibly the only way we are going to reach them is to get all course material put into video game form.
And we wonder why the SAT scores are plummeting.