Dum-Dums and Smarties: What You Need

Dum-Dums and Smarties: What You Need

For the seventeen years I taught high school English, I handed out Dum-Dums and Smarties on test days.  I learned this from psychologist and model teacher Dr. Peggy Forsythe on the day of our first test in a memorable educational psychology class.  How many I handed out is anybody’s guess.  I remember a student noticing that you could save Dum-Dum labels and earn prizes.  He said, “Jeez, Campbell.  You could save for a year and get, like, a car or something.”

I left public education for many reasons: mostly personal.  I miss the dynamics of the classroom and the energy of teens.  I promised myself that Gigspots.com would serve young people and provide them with opportunities to have fun and satisfy their curiosities.  I am about to launch an internship program at York College and hope to expand it to my alma mater, Millersville University.

But really it’s about the music.  I worry that young people aren’t getting enough chances to connect with live music.  Downloading songs and sharing playlists cannot compare to sharing a concert experience with friends.  I created Gigspots to help young people (and the young at heart) find concerts and destinations that they could enjoy and afford.  I’m finding plenty of bands, destinations and discounts.  What I need is feedback.  I know what I like.  I need to know what you like.  Are we still connected?

Begin by Liking my Gigspots Facebook page.  When I post something you like, Like it.  When you hear a band you think is great, post a link on my page and Share generously.  Name the bands you want to see and I will move mountains to get a local show set up.  Please visit my website to check the concert calendar and watch some of the over 500 videos posted on my YouTube channel.  I need your visits, clicks, comments, Likes and Shares.

I can’t get Adele, Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters or Jay Z to play for you.  Yet.  But I can get Kayla Kroh, Sarah Blacker, Lovebettie, Face for Radio, Bruzer Wyatt and dozens more.  Never heard of them?  You never heard of Adele five years ago either.

I was glad to hand out all that candy.  I was happy to attend your sporting events, plays, concerts, musicals, recitals and galleries.  I wrote your letters of recommendation, coached you, tutored you and lent an ear when you needed to talk.  You loved sharing your music and discussing your interests in my classroom.  I’m still listening and still trying to serve you.  I need your feedback.

If you are not a former student, I need your feedback too.  While I was serving our posterity in the classroom, I surely missed some good stuff.  Share it with me and I will share it with them.  We can all teach and learn together.  Music makes fear go away!

Happy Birthday Gigspots!

My site was launched April 18, 2011.  I am very proud of how it looks now and how it has grown.  I hope you have enjoyed the show and I thank everyone who has helped me, encouraged me and offered constructive criticism.  It has been a wonderful learning experience and I feel more confident that I can help you find great music experiences.

I’m a pack rat by nature.  I get it from my mom who lived through the Depression and has never thrown away anything.  I also belong to an art group: The Airy Hill School.  I can’t paint or sculpt like those guys but I make a mean collage.  Here’s a view of my office wall.  I can’t describe how much fun it’s been to see all these shows and meet all these people.  I will tag everybody I can but count on me adding more later!

stubs and fliers

Thanks for the shows!

Why Music?

I have turned my hand at many trades and worked some crusty jobs.  I went to college and got an English degree and taught high school English for 17 years.  When I quit the classroom last June, many people wanted to know what I planned to do.  “I want to promote music and culture,” I would say.  I got a lot of funny looks and plenty of, “You’ll never make any money” comments.  Saying, “Money isn’t everything” didn’t seem to help.

I chose to teach because I wanted to serve my country and help young people the way my best teachers helped me.  I miss my students but I don’t miss the emphasis on standardization.  We are not all the same and no amount of testing will ever convince me otherwise.  I still want to serve young people and the young at heart. I came to realize that music is the common denominator; it reaches everyone on some level.  Maybe music will help us find a way to national unity.  People my age will remember a song by The Youngbloods that asked us to, “C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get it together, try and love one another right now.”

I worry about the standardization in music brought about by a handful of corporations owning the majority of radio stations in the country.  Radio used to be so democratic.  Listen to any radio station during their “all-request” hour and you will get the idea.  It was a community bonded and strengthened by music.  College radio still gets it right.  And there are no commercials, only public service announcements.

I love college radio and WXPN (88.5/88.7fm) from U.Penn in Philly is a brilliant example of how vibrant a music community can look and sound.  I also listen to WIXQ (91.7fm) from my alma mater, Millersville U., and to WFNM (89.1fm) from Franklin and Marshall College.  When I travel north along the river from Harrisburg, it’s WQSU (88.9fm) from Susquehanna U. in Selinsgrove.  In Pittsburgh, it’s WYEP (91.3fm).  You will hear music you know and songs/bands you have never heard.  It’s ok.  Four years ago, nobody around here or anywhere had heard of Adele.  I heard her first on WXPN.  Yes, you can stream any of these stations.

In an earlier blog, I talked about the great irony of Gigspots: using social media to get people away from their computers.  It’s not that computers are bad.  But using social media is not socializing.  Studying linguistics for my degree, I learned that only 30% of a message is actually contained in the words you use.  The other 70% comes from body language, tone of voice, eye contact, facial expression and a host of other factors that do not come through a computer.  Have you ever sent someone a text/message/email and had your intended message completely misunderstood?  Of course you have.

America, we need to socialize more.  And nothing draws a crowd, or unifies a crowd, like music.  C’mon, people…