Last month, Bob Dylan became the first singer/songwriter to win a Nobel Prize in Literature. Dylan’s career has spanned more than 5 decades and crossed multiple musical genres. His lyrics run the range from romantic to political and have had a major influence on other artists, including Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, and even the Beatles.
Dylan influenced more than just the musical world. His song, Blowin’ in the Wind became the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights movement, he was the impetus behind Farm Aid, a major benefit concert to help farmers and their families, and his soulful lyrics were the stepping stones that led many young people towards poets like Rimbaud, Verlaine, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti.
Despite the tremendous impact that Dylan has had on American history, his Nobel Prize win has come under criticism. Traditionally the Literature Award has been given to novelists. Many question the importance of song lyrics in literature.
As educators, we understand the heavy influence that music has on our students. Music has a way of reaching even the most reluctant readers. Lyrics such as Dylan’s can open up students’ minds to diverse perspectives and make them understand cultural and political narratives different than their own, as well as lead them towards other great works of literature.
To learn more about Bob Dylan and other icons of rock n roll, check out the Teacher’s Academy course on Rock History. The Teacher’s Academy is a proud provider of online professional development courses for teachers. Our classes are affordable and convenient. Check out our catalog to find a course that is right for you.