Jonathan So is a Grade 6 teacher as well as the instructional technology lead and math coach in the Peel District School Board. He went to arts school in that region and now he teaches there. Jonathan is the father of three children and a person of many talents, especially when it comes to music as I disovered through The Personal Playlist Podcast interview (link to come). Jonathan believes in creativity, exploration and inquiry, and his P3 certainly reflects that.
For Jonathan, “It’s more about the melodies and the music and the imagery that’s kind of created with it all more than the actual lyrics behind things.” When introducing his nostalgic song, he reflects back to when he and 16 and the song was first recommended by his band teacher. His teacher introduced it to him saying, “You’ve got to learn some fusion rock, hard core jazz stuff…” Jonathan played first trumpet in his jazz band and brings it out for Remembrance Day assemblies or for fun. Even though people may perceive this to be an easy instrument because there are only three keys, Jonathan shares that,” For every combination there’s seven different notes than you can play.” This song celebrates the band’s horn section. The song, I learned, has been controversial in terms of the meaning of its lyrics and has even been banned in some places. However you interpret the lyrics, it’s a powerful tune that is often played as the band’s finally. Here is 24 or 6 to 4 by Chicago:
As we began discussing his identity song, I learned some aca-tastic things about Mr. So. Did you know that he was in a barbershop quartet? One of his best friends had been in one for a long time so, when Jonathan was 20, he sang bass in that group for a year. He even sang with one of his superintendents whose wife was his principal. His friend continues to be in this group and is part of Ontario championship quartet. There is a distinct difference in this version of his identity song choice than the title track from the movie of the same name. Like the Pentatonix, Rockapela is an acapella group who may be best known as the house band for the 90’s PBS children’s geography game show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? This version of the song reflects Jonathan’s identity because it shows the power of relationships. With the challenges of mental health and the isolation in the teaching profession that can often leave you feeling alone in your “four walls”, Jonathan relies on his colleagues and PLN, and they can rely on him. He said, “No matter what, I’m by my friends.” Here is Stand By Me sung by Rockapella:
Jonathan likes music in layers, and his final song choice is not exception. While I was surprised by his choice for this aspect of the task, Jonathan refers to this song as one that makes him happy. This third song is called a motivational or pick-me-up song, but I will add his descriptor with the addition of forget-about-everything-song, which he also mentioned in his lead-up. This song compels the listener from the great introductory riff and then brings out the ever-lovable cowbell. As he mentioned this, we simultaneously alluded to the hilarious SNL skit on the instrument (see below). After some research, it turns out my
comment about the origin of the name of the band was way off, so here is an article about David Clayton Thomas that gives some more background. Here’s Blood Sweat and Tears with Spinning Wheel:
When I first heard about the TEDxKicthenerED talks, I knew I wanted to go. I love being inspired by passionate educators, and I am acquainted with several of the presenters. Now that I had interviewed Jonathan, I was looking forward, even more, to cheering him and the others on a TEDx. Jonathan was amazing, and I will be blogging about my incredible experience in Kitchener after I post this. If you want to connect with Jonathan, you can find him on Twitter or check out his site.
Source: Noa Daniel