Some creative teachers are using the hot cultural phenom of American Idol to teach music. ABC's World News Tonight had this story featuring a music teacher, Evan Tobias, whose Catalysts & Connections blog we have frequented regularly.
Thirty-five million people watch "American Idol" every week none more intently than Evan Tobias' fifth and sixth graders at Willow Grove Middle School in New York state.
Watched in living rooms across the country, the reality show that churns out new pop stars and sets ratings records is required viewing. And it turns out that "Idol" is also a smash hit in music class.
Tobias' students aren't watching to see who gets eliminated or whether Paula is speaking to Simon. They're learning how to analyze music.
"I don't think that I normally thought to include a reality TV show in the classroom," Tobias said. "But because this was directly related to music, and it was directly related to the issues that we'd been talking about, it made sense to bring it in."
In a recent survey done by the National Association for Music Education, 80 percent of music teachers said they are using the nation's number-one TV show to teach.
At Plainfield Elementary School in Nazareth, Pa., the second graders take turns playing contestants and judges.
"It gets them excited about music," said Sarah Wallace, music teacher at Plainfield Elementary. "I had record numbers this year in the chorus, and I'm sure that that has something to do with it."