Whether you are strolling across a college campus or just walking down the street, the number of people using headphones or earbuds is staggering. Music holds tremendous importance for young people, and today’s youth constantly seek out new music. In addition, varied music is more accessible than ever before. No longer do people have to go to a record store to purchase music; they simply log on and download whatever they like, and this ease of access has helped create a generation that often seems to live for music. You will quickly see evidence of this dimension of young people’s lives as you progress through the audio activities presented in this chapter. Your participants are likely to be both knowledgeable and passionate about their music!
Ringtones are one of the most popular high-tech means of self-expression today, and this activity uses ringtones as a springboard into a conversation about how and why people express themselves in the ways they do. Groups whose members understand how and why their fellow members express themselves have the potential to grow closer and more accepting of one another.
Prior to the activity, create a list of at least 10 types of ringtones. Possible categories include pop music, boy band music, country music, holiday music, bits of TV or movie dialogue, classical music, college fight songs, love songs, TV or movie theme music, and cartoon character voices. Some participants may also have designated specific ringtones to indicate calls from mom or dad, a significant other, a person they’re not excited to talk to, or an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.
For the activity itself, have participants form teams of about 10 members each, then ask all participants to make sure that their cell phones are turned on. Next, tell them that you are going to call out a category of ringtone. If they have this style of ringtone in their phone, they have to find it, hold up their phone, and play the appropriate ringtone (or music) for everyone. The first two people to play the correct ringtone (or music) each get 1 point for their group. In the end, the group with the most points wins, but please remember that points are a secondary concern during this activity; most participants simply enjoy the opportunity to use their cell phones and share their music with others.