With a background in education (I taught for 5 years) a broad and respected reputation for acting as a youth advocate and a highly converted professional life that sees me facilitate workshops in schools on a weekly basis I am often asked to share my thoughts around youth.
I am regularly asked how best to communicate with and/or relate to 'youth'.
When responding to this question be it to an individual or before a group (such as an educators in-service) my response is either instantly accepted or dismissed.
And beyond that communication either maintained with diligence or ignored.
Should my simplistic advice be ignored it is done so at the peril of that person wanting to connect to - understand - create with - mobilize and/or sell to youth.
MUSIC is the common denominator.
Understand music and you understand youth.
You understand their aural cues.
You appreciate their visual cues.
Their personal culture...views.
Current pop culture.
Current street culture.
The soundtrack to their life.
That is why I believe that anyone who wants to connect with and/or work with young people MUST appreciate the mainstream TOP 10 songs of the day...and have the want to constantly update this knowledge at least every 2 weeks.
Listen to the song, make time to watch the film clip and digest the contents of both.
If you are really interested delve deeper into the various subcultures and genres and create a greater knowledge base.
But please don't turn up your nose and dismiss 'today's music' as rubbish...nonsense. That approach is shallow.
Relating to the youth of today doesn't mean you have to 'like' the music that's being promoted and consumed...but if you want to have genuine influence then you need to be able to appreciate it (on multiple levels)
Thus my advice is - (at the very least) -Know the top ten songs of the day.
Appreciate the total package of each.
Delve further should you want for more knowledge.
And thoughtfully digest all you discover placing current information against historical reference as required.
You're now a mouse click or two away from developing a greater understanding of and connection too 'youth'.