American Culture – Indie Music

Lesson Plan – Indie Music

Indie music in America is gaining in popularity and is an interesting contrast to pop music. If you were to ask an American who the biggest music stars are, they could probably name a few. However, if you asked who the major record labels were, most Americans would have no idea.  While the music may be similar, the styles between indie music and pop music show some interesting contrasts that offer an opportunity to discuss pop culture and counter-cultures.

Performance Objectives
SWBAT compare and contrast pop music with indie music. Using audio/video clips and interviews from, students will compare their knowledge of kpop music to the music of kindie

SWBAT compare and contrast kindie music with American indie music. Using audio/video of American indie bands and music, students will compare their understanding of indie music worldwide.

Youtube videos

Print-out interviews and worksheets based on the website

Before Class
Make sure you have your videos up and ready. This includes the videos from the last part of the lesson.
Have your interviews for the practice printed-out and ready to be distributed to the groups
Have their questionnaires ready as well.
Set up the internet and projector

Warm-up (5-10 min)
Objective: Get students thinking in categorical ways by brainstorming their favorite artists and which record labels they belong to.

Learning Strategy

Teaching Strategy
Small Group work

Task Description
Organize the students into small groups or pairs. In small groups have the students write down the big three record labels in korea. Under each record label, have them write down as many artists or groups they know of. To help them along, provide some visuals (pictures) of famous Korean singers/groups so that the students can at least guess.

After 2-3 minutes, invite the students to write down their lists on the board. If any of the artists from the visuals are left out or not in the right label, you can correct them if you would like or leave it.

Introduction (3 min)
Objective: Students will be introduced to Korean Indie music. The tasks and objectives for the class will be established.

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Lecture, video

Task description
Introduce your class to a Korean indie artist (like milktea

Ask your students if they know which record label Milk Tea goes under? Do they know MilkTea from anywhere? (they did an OST of the song in the link). Introduce to the class the topic of Indie music and the tasks they will complete for that day.

Presentation (20 min)
Objective: Students will compare and contrast Kpop with Kindie music. This will be done by using one music video that was produced for two different audiences (kpop and kindie).

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Lecture, small group work

Task Description
Remind your students of the music video they just saw. Ask them what was different about it? What do music videos usually have in them? (lots of dancing, choreography, special effects,

expensive and exotic costumes). What did the MilkTea video have? (scenery in a park, simple design, normal clothes, no “pretty” or “cutesy” make-up).

Have the students draw a line down a piece of paper. One one side, write “indie music” and on the other “Pop music”. Explain that the class is going to watch the same song again, but a different music video. Ask the students to write down the things that are different about this music video compared to the first. ( )

If needed, show the first video again. Give the students 1 minute after the video to write down their thoughts (in Korean and/or English). Have the students get into groups of 2-4 and talk about what was different between the two videos. After 2-3 minutes, have the students write down 2-3 sentences in English that compare the two videos (The first video was in a park, the second was a Cartoon. In the first video, the singer was dressed more casually, in the second she was dressed-up, cutesy).

 Practice (20 min)

Objective: Students will introduce to the class various Kindie stars by using a hand-out of an interview with a K-indie star. They will read the interview and answer basic questions about it.

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Small Group work

Task Description
Using the website, select several interviews from the “mini-interview” section.

Print out the interviews and give them to the students along with a questionnaire for them to fill out. Have the read the interviews and answer the questions (Note: some of the interviews have Korean and English, for lower level readers, that might be more accessible.) After the groups fill out their questionnaire, they will introduce the artist to the class and then watch a music clip from that artist.

This task will require the teacher to select which interviews to use and also, based on the interviews, which questions to ask. So make sure to prepare these worksheets before hand.

(Example Interview)


I’d been trying to keep track of Lang Lee since learning that she signed with Somoim Records, attempting to read her comics for Your Mind Bookshop, but even so hadn’t really listened to any of her more recent efforts. During my few weeks in Korea this summer I got a fresh copy of her first album in my hands. A few days later my husband and I headed out on a road trip around the country, and though we had plenty of CDs packed we found ourselves returning to 욘욘슨 (Yon Yonson) a number of times. By the second listen it was already a favorite with me and on the second day my husband declared it was destined to become a classic. Curious to learn more about Lang Lee and the work behind the album I approached her with a few questions that were generously rewarded with rich answers.

You’re a musician, illustrator and teacher. How do they all connect to you and each other?

저는 음악을 하고, 일러스트레이터로 일하고, 단편영화를 만들기도 하며 때로 가르치는 일도 하고 있습니다. 제 삶에서 이것들이 진행된 순서는 그림-음악-영화-가르치는 것 입니다. 그림을 그릴 땐 머리와 손을 주로 사용합니다. 저는 종이에 펜, 크레용 때로는 컴퓨터로 그림을 그립니다. 꽤 정적인 일이고, 적은 공간을 사용합니다. 음악을 만들 땐 머리와 양손, 목소리와 박자를 맞추는 몸동작을 씁니다. 흥에 겨우면

춤을 추기도 합니다. 집 안/무대 정도 크기의 공간을 사용합니다. 영화를 만드는 일은 머리는 물론이고 온 몸을 사용해야 합니다. 처음 시나리오 쓰는 과정이 지나면, 이후론 많은 사람들을 만나 대화하고 설득하는 일이기 때문에 움직임의 반경이 아주 큽니다. 가르치는 일은 조금 다른데, 이것은 창조적리고 생산적이라기 보다는 사회에 공헌을 하는 일이라고 느껴집니다. 가르치는 일 외에는 모두 나만의 세계를 창조하는 일입니다. 저는 그림이나, 영화, 음악을 만드는 것으로 스스로 경험한 사회를 재현하고 재해석해 새로운 세계를 보여주려고 합니다. 모두 하나의 목표를 가지고 하는 일이기 때문에 각 장르마다 정신을 분할하여 쓰지는 않지만, 시간은 분할해서 써야 합니다.

I make music and I also do illustrations. I also make short films and these days I started teaching. The drawing came first and then I made songs, and then I shot short films and then through chance teaching jobs came along.

When you draw or paint you only use your hands and your head. It’s a very sedated job. I only use paper, pen and crayons and I sometimes use computers too. The whole process takes up very little space.

When making music you use your head, your hands and your body. Sometimes you dance while you’re actively in the process. You use your whole room when doing this.

When you make a film, you use your whole body as well as your head. Once the scenario is done you meet a lot of people to get the thing going so the physical space you roam about is quite large.

Teaching is quite different. Teaching isn’t as creative or productive but it gives you a sense of ‘giving back’ something to the community.

Apart from teaching, these activities are all something that I do to create a certain world. Through illustration, music and film, I try to recreate the world that I’ve experienced with my own interpretation. And because these are all essentially with the same objective, I do not deliberately divide my mind between different activities. I do however have to divide time to achieve things within these activities.

제가 가장 공을 들이는 일은 영화를 만드는 것입니다. 영화는 창조한 세계를 시각/청각/공감각적으로 가장 확실하게 보여줄 수 있는 일이기 때문입니다. 영화는 또한 만들고 난 후, 관객과 함께 앉아서 감상할 수 있다는 것이 특히 좋습니다. 음악을 공연할 때는 공연하는 것과 감상을 동시에 할 수 없기 때문입니다. 평소 그림을 그리고 음악을 만드는 것이 후에 한 편의 영화를 만드는 데 좋은 연습이 됩니다. 공간세팅, 스토리보드 그리기, 구도 잡기, 색보정, 사운드편집 뿐만 아니라 영화에 쓰일 음악도 스스로 만들 수 있습니다. 저의 정서적인 치유에 가장 도움이 되는 것은 노래를 만드는 일입니다. 그리고 만약 하는 일 중에 하나를 포기해야 한다면 그림을 그리는 것을 포기할 것 입니다. 그림은 제 손목에 너무 많은 무리를 주기 때문입니다.

Where I put my most effort is making films. It’s because it is the form where you can most clearly show people the world you’ve recreated. I also enjoy the fact that you can enjoy your outcome with the audience being seated next to them. One thing that always gets me is that when I play music in front of people, I will never be able to experience my own show as a member of an audience.

Drawing and making music becomes a valuable experience when making films. When you’re doing pre-production artwork or story boards, getting the right angles, getting the sounds and colours right, making nice graphics – it helps. You can also make your own music to your film.

But what comforts me immediately is making songs. If I had to give up one activity of the three, I would give up drawing. It’s bad for my wrist.

Your lyrics all carry somewhat eccentric stories. Where do you find that inspiration?

저는 밤에 잠이 오지 않으면 앉아서 혹은 누워서 하염없이 말을 합니다. 기운이 있으면 기타를 잡고 아무 코드나 치면서 혼잣말을 합니다. 그러다 보면 기타의 반복되는 멜로디에 맞춰 음이 생기고, 내뱉는 말들이 스스로 가사처럼 정리가 되기도 합니다. 제가 잠이 안 올때 주로 하는 말은 연애와 죽음에 관련된

것들입니다. 제겐 이 두 가지가 삶에서 가장 이해가 안 되는 것들입니다. 왜 연애가 잘 되지 않을까? 왜 나는 언젠가 죽어야 되는 걸까?

When I can’t sleep at night, I lay in bed and just talk to my self. I grab my guitar and play any old chord while I talk. After repetition this becomes a song, and the scattered words become lyrics.

그렇게 만든 곡은 ‘이상한 일’, ‘일기’, ‘내가 만약 신이라면’, ‘너의 리듬’ 등이 있습니다. 때때로는 친구에 대해 생각하거나 책이나 영화를 본 것에 대해 생각하고 그것을 혼자 말하다가 노래로 만들기도 합니다. (잘 알지도 못하면서-다자이 오사무<만년>, 하하하-커트 보네거트<고양이 요람>, 욘욘슨-커트 보네거트<제5도살장>, 삐이삐이-영화 <더 코브>)

Perhaps the two most important themes in my life are relationships and death. Why is my relationship going bad? When will I die? These questions I cannot understand. There are also songs where I think about specific friends. There’s also songs that I got the inspiration from books. “Hahaha” was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, and “Yon Yonson” was inspired by Slaughterhouse-Five.

What can you tell us about your work on Yon Yonson?

1번과 2번의 질문에서 알 수 있듯이, 나에게 있어서 음악의 가장 근본적인 목적은 (주로 밤에 나타나는) 나의 정서적 문제들을 잠재우는 것 입니다. 또한 음악은 (영화나 그림과 달리)정규 교육의 과정이 있었던 게 아니었으므로, 그것을 만드는 데 있어서 직업/프로 의식으로 임하지 않았습니다. 녹음을 시작하게 된 계기도 ‘만든 곡을 잊어먹지 않기 위해’ 였고, 후에는 스스로 녹음하고 편집하는 과정에 재미가 붙었던 것 뿐이지, 이것이 어떠한 형태로든 사람들에게 알려질 것이라는 의식을 한 적이 없었습니다. 그렇기 때문에 노래를 녹음하기 시작한 2008년부터 현재까지 동일한 방법으로 녹음을 계속해오고 있습니다.

The reason why I make music is because I want to put to rest my emotional difficulties that I have. It does not feel like it is a job, nor did I never approached it as one.

The reason why I started recording songs was because I didn’t want to forget the songs I wrote. I never was conscious about how this would be heard to the wider audience. Therefore I still record the same way I used to since 2008.

장비는 2006년에 산 맥북 한 대와 그 내장 마이크, 그리고 가라지밴드라는 맥북에 기본으로 깔려있는 프로그램을 사용했습니다. 다른 방식의 녹음경험이 거의 없었기 때문에(스타워즈 컴필레이션에 실린 로쿠차 구다사이를 녹음할 때 외: 친구의 녹음실에서 녹음을 했습니다), 처음 이 앨범에 관한 레이블 미팅을 했을 때 레이블은 데모음원을 듣고 재녹음을 하지 않는게 좋겠다고 말했습니다. 나 이외의 청자를 고려하지 않은 녹음방식, 그 어설프지만 올곧은 혹은 잘 몰라서 순수한 느낌이 좋다고 생각했던 것 같습니다. 솔직히 말하면 아직까지도 음악인으로서의 프로의식이 없는 편입니다. 그것이 앞으로 문제가 될 지도 모르겠다고 생각합니다. <욘욘슨>이 발매된 이후 약간의 프레셔를 느끼고 있습니다. 그동안 꾸준한 노래연습과 기타연습을 하며 음악을 만들어 오지 않았기 때문입니다. 공연의 좋은 퀄리티를 위해 앞으로는 연습을 제때제때 해야하나, 생각하는 것만으로 벌써 압박이 느껴집니다.

I used a 2006 MacBook and it’s internal microphone and GarageBand. I didn’t know how else. When I had my initial meetings with my label, they thought that this had an effect that it sounded more original than amateur, so they didn’t want me to be re-recording these songs.

To be honest, I still don’t have that sense of professional-ness. Perhaps that might become a problem from this point on. I do feel a bit of a pressure now after the release of Yon Yonson. I haven’t been practicing constantly as I perhaps ought to, and it makes me wonder whether I should. Even thinking about it gives me a bit of stress.

With Yon Yonson gathering songs that were all written at least two years ago, do you also have plans to release any more recent music?

나는 2008년 초에 처음 만든 곡인 로쿠차 구다사이 이후로 지금까지 20곡이 넘는 노래를 만들어 놓았습니다. 그중에 어떤 곡을 <욘욘슨>에 실을지는 제작자인 소모임 레코드의 김경모가 결정하도록 했습니다. 그는 나름의 기준으로 13곡을 뽑았는데, ‘비슷비슷한 풍의 곡이 중복되지 않도록’ 유의했던 것 같습니다. 또한 최근에 만든 곡들은 거의 제외시켰습니다. 처음 노래를 만들고 녹음하기 시작한, 제일 어설프고 순수한 곡들을 먼저 내보이고 싶은 이유겠거니 하고 생각합니다. 때문에 개인적으로는 당연히 실릴 줄 알았는데 탈락한 곡들도 있었습니다.

Since 2008 I made about 20 songs. I asked Kyoungmo of Somoim Records to pick the songs that would go onYon Yonson. He laid out the sequence of the songs too. He had a certain rule in doing this, and I think it was so that no two songs were too similar, and also to not have the more recently recorded songs on this album. I think this was because he wanted to put out the early recordings first. There are songs that I thought they would make it on the album but didn’t.

아직 다음 앨범에 관한 이야기를 한 번도 하질 않았기 때문에 어떻게 될지는 모르겠지만. <욘욘슨>에는 실리지 못했지만 공연 때 자주 부르는 곡들, 개인적으로 앨범에 못 실려서 안타까운 곡들이 있기 때문에 만들겠다는 마음만 있으면 뭐든 나오게 할 수는 있을 것 같습니다. 여전히 잠 못 이루는 밤에는 2번에서 설명한 방식으로 노래를 만들어 부르고 있습니다. 이십대 후반이 되어서 인지 지금에 부르는 노래들은 더욱 슬픈 이야기만 담고 있습니다. 로쿠차 구다사이 같은 발랄한 곡은 앞으로 다시는 나오지 않을 것 같습니다.

We haven’t discussed about our next album so I’m not sure what will happen. But there are songs that I sing on stage that didn’t make it on Yon Yonson, and also songs that I do want to put out so, I think we can make it happen in the near future somehow.

I still write songs as how I described earlier. And as I’m getting older the lyrics are getting a little more sadder, so I don’t think there will be something light-hearted as “Rokucha Kudasai” again I’m afraid to say.


1) Yang Lee is a musician, what else does she do besides make music?

2) Where does she find inspiration for her music?

3) How did she first record her music?

4) What are her plans for future music?

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