From Anchorman to The Wizard of Oz and ABBA to Zepplin: An

Report
Making the Dismal Science
Less Dismal: An Economic
SONG and Dance
Incorporating Music into the
Economics Classroom
Brian O’Roark – Robert Morris University
What’s all the fuss about?
 AC-DC
the economists
 Money Talks
Music for Econ – lives!

Now housed on CriticalCommons.org. No
passwords required.
 Songs are played from the CC server
 Choose high quality or standard and enjoy.
 Seems to work better with Firefox
Creating a Classroom Community
Becker and Watts (2006) – encourage the
discipline to “teach economics in as many ways
as possible”
 Music creates a classroom community where
students share a common experience -- this
makes students want to come to class!
 What are the costs/benefits?



I play the animations before class begins and
synchronize the start of the class with the end of the
music.
This creates a welcoming environment that is also rich
in content.
Fair Use Debate
 Key
questions of court look at whether
economic harm occurs to copyright holder
 Fair Use is a user’s right
 Supreme Court views this as a way to
keep copyrights from violating the First
Amendment
 Courts use the rule of reason to
determine fair use
 Did you transform the media?
 Is what was taken appropriate
No worries!
 There
is very little chance you will
actually get sued.
 Cease and Desist is the preferred path.
 No cases against educators brought by
an American media company.
Getting Started
I
am not technically gifted
 I don’t teach with Power Point
 Specific software isn’t necessary
 I fancy myself as a director not an actor
 This involves a degree of creativity
 A good presentation is NOT all
economics
A few tips from:
it your own – have fun insert
yourself in the song.
 Song choice is everything
 Make
Molasses to Rum to Slaves – Bad
Money Talks – Good
How do students benefit?
 Seeing
economics in action
 Apply it themselves – making music
together
 Semester review
 End of semester XC
Q1. Do you feel that playing music animations before
class starts adds to the educational environment?


Really great way to kick start
the class. Makes me think
and ask questions. Also
gives the music more
meaning that it used to!
I definitely think the music
adds to the educational
environment. It helps to
think about economic
principles in scenarios other
than a graph on a slide that
we can't really relate to. It
helps to bring the learning
full circle.
Question 1 Response
Statistics
Positive
(285)
Lukewarm
(4)
Negative
(2)
Q2. Do you always pay attention to the
economic explanations in the animations?

I do because they are a nice way
to break up a large amount of
information. Relating economics
to everyday life helps me to
better understand the concepts.

No, not always. If I really like the
song anyway I will definitely pay
attention to the economic
explanations but if I do not like
the song I will usually just listen.
Question 2 Response
Statistics
Most of the Time (224)

I try to do my best. Sometimes
when the songs are really fast
it's more difficult to finish reading
everything, but I always try.
Some of the Time (50)
Never (19)
Q3. Do you feel that playing music animations before
class adds to the social environment of class (i.e.
creates a more relaxed atmosphere)?

I think it does create a more
relaxed atmosphere, especially
when it's a popular song that
most students know.

Yes, I actually met two really
good friends by just conversing
about the song that was on.

It makes the class more current
and interactive.

A little bit. I think it shows that
the professor isn't gung-ho on
strict, boring lectures.

no, it makes people talk louder
(and its too early in the day!)
Question 3 Response
Statistics
Positive (289)
Lukewarm (3)
Negative (2)
50 Years of Economic Songs:
From the Beatles to
MacElmore
Brian O’Roark – Robert Morris University
Dirk Mateer – University of Arizona
Kim Holder – University of West Georgia
Q&A
 Suggestions
for new songs?
 This
has been talked about on websites
and blogs, but if there’s an education
center who could help promote this, or a
publisher???
 Any
comments?

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