Most weeks in Assembly, members of Wenona’s Student Leadership Team share their youthful insights and advice with their younger peers. This week’s message comes from Student Representative Council Prefect, Maya.
Growing up in my household there would always be music. Its benefits extend far beyond some great tunes – music can offer powerful insights into how to live a good life.
I would like to take the opportunity here to share some of the things I have learned from a range of my favourite songs.
Let’s start with Get Up, Stand Up. Bob Marley’s 1973 hit inspires me with lyrics that are so poignant that they are among the biggest Human Rights anthems of our generation. ‘Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights / Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!’ Because if you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody else will.
Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 disco hit, I Will Survive is another favourite. Nothing dismisses heartbreak and disappointment like this classic track. ‘I will survive / Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive / I’ve got all my life to live / I’ve got all my love to give / I will survive’. Initially a female empowerment anthem about moving on after a bad relationship, in later years it has taken on other meanings for anyone looking to overcome difficult situations.
Gotye’s 2006 song Learnalilgivinanlovin is pure joy. It powerfully states that the world would be a better place if we could just learn to give and love unconditionally. The best piece of advice in this song is: ‘Don't give away your self-respect cause if it's all you got left the rest really don't matter now anyway honey. But give away love. And give it for free. No strings attached, just don't ask for it back.’
The 2007 hit Nobody’s Perfect by Hannah Montana is a reminder that everybody makes mistakes and experiences bad days – ‘Nobody is perfect, you live, and you learn it’. We all need to take time out to remember that we are all human and we all make mistakes, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we fail but rather learn and grow from it. Failure is not a tattoo but rather a bruise - it is only temporary.
What better song to listen to when you’re feeling defeated than Kelly Clarkson’s 2012 hit Stronger? ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger / Stand a little taller. Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter’. This catchy song and its positive vibe are perfect for many of the challenging obstacles life throws our way.
Taylor swift offers us the lesson that whenever someone says something offensive, don’t even pay it attention. As the 2014 song goes: ‘The players gonna play and the haters gonna hate, but I am going to shake it off’. And Selena Gomez was not wrong when she sang ‘kill ’em with kindness’, in her 2015 song.
Another inspiring tune is the 2015 hit Brave by Sara Bareilles. ‘Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave.’ Never be too afraid to say what you want to say – be brave and let the world know how you really feel.
In Baz Luhrmann's Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen) song from 1997, besides the wise advice to wear sunscreen, the lyrics convey a powerful message of walking your own path. It is full of wise anecdotes such as ‘never compare yourself to others’. You are unique and have your own gifts to offer the world. You are bold and beautiful but most of all, you are you, and you have potential: ‘Learn that life isn’t a competition. It’s a journey. Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you are behind, the race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself.’
What you choose to do with the inspiration found in song is up to you. But if there is one thing you take from these reflections, I hope it is this: live for yourselves, unlock your full potential and celebrate your individuality. In the words of Cass Elliott from 1969 and repeated by Paloma Faith in 2019: ‘You gotta make your own kind of music. Sing your own kind of song. Make your own kind of music. Even if nobody else sings along’.
Student Representative Council Prefect