Duplicating the Langley Music Project for Today

I read about the Langley Music School Project (LMSP) a few years ago from Signal to Noise, an obscure music magazine that I used to subscribe to. The LMSP was basically a 1979 recording of elementary aged students singing pop songs of the 70s. While the singing may not have been so great, I was surprised by how effective it could be, in spite of limited musical chops.

I ran across some of the recordings on youtube recently, and I thought this is the type of project I wouldn’t mind replicating now–except doing it with songs from the 80s or later. I’m going to use this thread to post some potential songs and the way I envision the kids performing it. But first, here’s a clip of one of the performances from the LMSP:

Here a few that may be more effective:

One thought on “Duplicating the Langley Music Project for Today

  1. Here are some thoughts on the criteria for the songs I would choose. First, I don’t think the tempos of the songs can be too fast, unless they are sung by a soloist. The melody probably shouldn’t be super fast, either. Second, I would lean towards songs that are not too difficult to sing in terms of the high notes and jumping octaves or other things like that. Third, I’m looking for songs that could pack an emotional punch–particularly when paired with the sound of children’s voices. On a related note, I think parents hearing their children sing songs that they grew up would really have a strong emotional impact, drawing on nostalgia.

    Oh, to be more specific about a song with an emotional punch, I’m thinking of songs that convey triumphant, elation, or longing or some haunting feeling. I think children singingly earnestly can add another dimension to these type of songs.

    With that in mind, here are some songs that came to mind:

    “We Are the World” (various)
    “Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
    “In the Air Tonight” (Phil Collins)
    “Wonderwall” (Oasis)
    “All Star” (Smash Mouth)
    “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (Crowded House)
    “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (Simple Minds)
    “Heart and Soul” (T’Pau)
    “Africa” (Toto)
    “Take On Me” (A-Ha)
    “Kyrie” or “Broken Wings” (Mister Mister)
    “Karma Chameleon” (The Culture Club)
    “I Love Rock n’ Roll” (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
    “Hold Me Now” (Thompson Twins)
    “Wind Behind My Wings” (Bette Midler)
    “You Got It All” (The Jets)
    “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” (REO Speedwagon)
    “I Want to Know What Love Is” (Foreigner)
    “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (Bonnie Tyler)
    “Angel” or “Adia” (Sara McLaughlin)
    “Drive” (The Cars)
    “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” (Corey Hart)
    “Missing You” (John Waite)
    “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)
    “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics)
    “Purple Rain” or “When Doves Cry” (Prince)
    “Breakout” (Swing Out Sister)
    “Fireworks” (Katy Perry)

    I’d like some rockin’, aggressive songs:

    “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana)
    “We’re Not Going to Take It (Twisted Sister)
    “Fight for Your Right” (The Beastie Boys)
    “Parents Just Don’t Understand (The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
    “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell)
    “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (The Clash)
    “Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd)
    “Another One Bites the Dust” (Queen)

    Some of the songs above might be problematic, but I would love to see the kids just let alone their emotions and aggression. I especially would love to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” On another note, I don’t really care for “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” but I think it would work. “Brick” might also not be a great choice because the song already uses child singers.

    Something by:

    Gloria Estefan
    Hall and Oates (Haven’t found one yet.)
    Journey (“Don’t Stop Believing”)
    Bill Joel (I like “Second Wind”, but somehow I don’t think it would sound good sung by a choir/group.)

    (I’d like to have more R&B and rap songs in there.)

    Some songs that didn’t make it:

    Bon Jovi’s two hits. The choruses would sound good, I think, but I don’t think the verses would work well.

    I would like to hear EWF’s “That’s the Way of the World” but I think it would be too hard, and some parts may not work so well. (That’s a 70’s song, too, but it would sound cool I think, if you could make it work.)

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