By G.P. Avants
I wanted to share with you a fun project that I used in my classroom to get my high school students writing while trying to use something they seem all love, music. If was a fun idea that my daughter found on Spotify. Someone had created a playlist for Star Wars character, Kylo Ren. They did not use Star War music rather music that defined his character, emotional state, or aspects about his life. There was a wide selection of music on that Spotify playlist.
So, I thought since I teach an English Media class my not give it a shot. I had my students chose a character that was fictional or real, life or dead and do a musical tribute or biography using music. I challenged them to use a variety of music, with lyrics or instrumental, clean as possible and just for fun throw in a Beatles song.
What I have below is a first draft I did in order to share my character from my novel, Chronolocity: A Fistful of Chrontons. Since I also teach digital marketing and advertising, I told them that maybe I would use this lesson as a way to promote my book when the time comes. So, here it is. This is the first draft. Next time I will show you the completed project. If you are a teacher and looking for a fun lesson that will allow you students to use their creative writing, research, creative, problem-solving, rationale and organization skills, maybe it will help.
For you teachers, you can get your students to write that multi-paragraph essay this way. I used the sandwich method from Step-Up-to Writing as a base with an opening, body and a closing paragraph. Its one big sandwich but you can build an essay anyway you slice it, right?
Oh, and just for fun, my principal shared with me Pixton.( https://www.pixton.com ) It allowed me to create a cartoon version of Levy Roarke, the main character from my novel. You will see a fun comic in the later entry which opens up a great avenue to bring your characters alike.
Levy Mozes Roarke is a thirteen year old inventor who is trying to make history and save his family from losing everything they have. He never dreamed he would initiate a time war that might very well decide the fate of us all. The truth is no matter how this story turns out not one will ever look at history the same.
I made this playlist on Spotify to describe Levy Roarke’s character, emotions, and journey through time. Each song was carefully picked because I wanted my audience to better understand Levy and connect with him and his story. All of these songs used in the playlist are sited and used only to describe my character for our audience to better understand his character.
Song #1 Superman by Five for Fighting
When we first meet Levy he is struggling with being the hero his family needs. Levy and his dad have both played the hero and if hasn’t always turned out so great. There is a line in the song that says, It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive/ Even heroes have the right to bleed/I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede/ Even heroes have the right to dream/ And it’s not easy to be me. Levy and his family are living with his dad’s attempt to save another person, but he lost his job doing it.
Song # 2 Girl of My Dreams by Brandon Heath
Levy is rather shy especially when it comes to girls. That is when he clams up and doesn’t know what to say. But meeting Elise Quinonez face-to-face changed all of that. The song talks about seeing your dreams come true in a relationship, but the real people come out. “We spend some nights just eating ice cream and watching Netflix,” reminds me that love exists in the ordinary moments of life. One of Levy’s dreams was to meet the right person someday. Could Elise be the one he has been looking for?
Song #3 What Faith Can Do by Kutless
Being more logical and left-brained, the idea of having faith doesn’t always compute with Levy’s computer-like mind. He doesn’t even like listening to his emotional side. So, as Levy is put in numerous situations where he has to use faith and this becomes an issue that he has to decide how to face. A line in this song really breaks down Levy’s thoughts: “It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard/ Impossible is not a word/It’s just a reason for someone not to try.”
Song #4 Enterprising Young Men by Michael Giacchino
evy Roarke is not your typical thirteen year old boy. He always has ideas brewing in his curly head 247. This is good and bad especially when it keeps him awake at night. When I listen to this song, from Star Trek I think of Levy boldly going on his own journey to change the world. Even though he feels like he has the worst luck in the world, fails at so many inventions, and runs from his real destiny the future knows he will make us mark on history.
Song#5 Stuff We did (Theme from UP) Michael Giacchino
Two people who heavily influenced his young life are his Grandpa and Grandpa Heiter. They are two Holocaust survivors who always were a part of Levy’s life. After his Grandpa’s death, Levy feels like he has lost his biggest encouragement in the world. This song from the movie UP, makes me think of the life his grandparents must have had and the influence they still make in Levy’s life.
Song #6 Let it Go by Chaos and the Calm
Along Levy’s journey through time, he meets historical figures in the form of their younger, more impressionable selves. One such person is Annie Oakley. Though only able to communicate with Morse Code and never seeing each other’s faces they bond as friends. Levy does confide in her and share his real struggles in his life. If Annie knew the lyrics from this song, I think she would have found a way to share them with Levy. “So come on, let it go/ Just let it be/ Why don’t you be you/ And I’ll be me/ Everything that’s broke/Leave it to the breeze/ Why don’t you be you/ And I’ll be me.
Song #7 Little Talks by Monsters and Men
During Levy’s adventure in time, he meets H & E. They are a pair of time travelers who have come to prepare him for future events. His world is spun upside down as he is recruited by them to help correct history which is being subtly augmented. Little Talks reminds me of the life of a nerd or creative. They think and act differently than others, but without them the world would never be the same. H knows how to talk to Levy as a fellow out-of-the-box thinker and she does her best to encourage his sense of being a hero. After their little pep talk with Levy he has a lot to think about moving forward in his life.
Song #8 Holding Out for a Hero Bonnie Tyler
Everyone is looking for someone to bite the bullet and have Levy stop avoiding his destiny. Being a hero is in his blood, but when someone calls him one it makes his anger boil. When the song says, “I’m holding out for a hero/ ‘til the end of the night/ He’s gotta be strong/ and he’s gotta be fast/ and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight/ I think that scares Levy. He knows he is not of these, but still feels the burning in his heart to do the right thing in the way he is meant to be the hero that all of history needs.
Song #9 Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold
I stumbled upon this great 70’s song that is really a tribute to friendship. Levy Roake may or may not realize the impact he makes on people. He seems to make friends wherever he goes. During his time in the past, he befriends Tom Edison, Junior (Martin Luther King Junior) and a very quiet boy named Albert. Even though it might affect the timeline they all risk becoming friends in order to protect the future.
Song #10 Meant to Be by J. J. Keller
In an odd turn of events, Levy meets one of his favorite female heroes, Annie Oakley. Something about her brave courageous spirit, her determination, and overcoming difficult circumstances really touches. You could say Levy has a historical crush on Annie. The song, Meant to Be talks about two people who are perfect for each other and it’s a sweet thing to witness. Even though they both understand each other, love the same things, and sort of complete each other, they are both separated by more than a century. Their friendship could be disastrous for the timeline as we know it. So, this song is actually the opposite of what they both wish could happen.
Song #11 Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver
Everyone has their own learning style. Some are very visual, others learn by hearing, some by communicating with people. Others like Levy Roarke are tactile learners. What is that you might ask? They are people who learn with their hands, who understand things better when they can hold, touch, or his senses to experience things Levy uses this skill to invent, create and discover the world with his two hands. In this song, John Denver uses very descriptive language to help the listener understand his love for nature. He shared lystics like these: All my memories gather ‘round her/ Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water/ dark and dusty, painted on the sky/ misty moonshine, teardrop in my eye/. Levy may not care for nature as he does for technology, but he would understand this descriptive language.
Song #12 Pure Imagination by Gene Wilder
This may very well be the song that inspired me as a writer to create the character of Levy. He and Willy Wonka are both dreamers who are passionate about seeing their dreams come true. If you want to see paradise/ simply look around a view it/ anything you want to, do it/ want to change the world? / There’s nothing to it. Levy’s future goal is to have his own creative company and learning about others’ dreams becoming reality inspires him to not give up when it gets difficult.
Song #13 The BreakUp Song by Francesca Battestelli
One HUGE obstacle that Levy faces is fear. He is worried, even at a young age that he might miss his opportunity to have his invention make him famous. Little did he know that it would propel him into a time war and that he would have to choose a side. In this song, the singer is telling fear to leave her life, just like breaking up a bad relationship. She chooses faith over fear. The question is after all he knows about the past, the present and a glimpse into the future, while Levy chooses faith over fear?
Song #14 If We’re Honest by Francesca Battestelli
Levy keeps a lot of secrets, worries and troubles to himself. He isn’t sure who he can trust and confide in. But what he gets is a real taste of real honest truth in the time traveling Henna. She has a way of helping Levy build his trust back and not be so fearful. I could see Henna singing this stanza from the song: Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine/ ‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides/ And mercy’s waiting on the other side/ If we’re honest/ If we’re honest.
Song #15 Dream Small by Josh Wilson
Levy comes to realize that his big plans might take time to come true. Instead of taking giant steps, maybe it’s the day-by-day situations that bring about success. Maybe the dream is ready, but the dreamer needs to grow into their role. Dream small/don’t buy the lie you have to do it all/ Just let Jesus use you where you are/ one day at a time/. After Levy’s trip through time, he is beginning to see what makes a real hero, how a dream really develops, and what faith in the real issues of life looks like.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Levy Roarke and his life. His story could be wrapped up in these lines from Pure Imagination: There is no life I know/ to compare with pure imagination/ Living there you’ll be free/ if you truly wish to be. To me that means there is a childhood wonder and faith that we should never let fade. Like Levy, let go of the fear that hinders you and hold on tight to the dreams burn bright inside you.
Watch Levy Roarke make history at Chronolocityhq.com