I do not like Ed Sheeran.
And I blame sweet, innocent children for this.
Now that I’ve written two terrible things, you are probably rushing off to have me arrested or at least unfriend me on Facebook, but please let me explain before you cast judgment.
The situation is frustrating, because I know that there are plenty of reasons why I should like Ed Sheeran. His music is well-crafted and I’ve enjoyed performing some of it. He has inspired lots of my pupils to play the guitar/sing/write their own songs. Along with Ron Weasley, he’s raised the collective self-esteem of the ginger-haired (and some of my closest relatives are ginger). So my head says yes, but my heart says no. As an Ed Sheeran album played in a coffee shop today, I grew increasingly irrational until I knew that it was time to confess my true feelings.
Don’t get me wrong: I am extremely grateful to all the pupils who’ve shared their musical interests with me over the years. I’ve really enjoyed helping them to perform and compose in the style of many different artists. They often produced fantastic music that was a pleasure to experience. With Ed, though, it all went wrong.
1) KS3 prep projects at my last school often included a ‘research an artist of your choice’ task. Over four years, I marked copious rip-offs of the Wikipedia article about Ed Sheeran. Very few pupils actually wrote about his musical influences and output though, so inane details about the Sheeran family tree are clogging up bits of my brain that could be otherwise employed with important things like remembering where I put my car keys.
2) Ed Sheeran sings his songs beautifully. Unfortunately the melodies are often difficult for young singers to carry off, and I’ve witnessed many nervous attempts with inaccurate rhythm and notation. The vocal lines are too exposed to work well unless they are performed fantastically. Adolescents, pay attention; I know Ed speaks directly to your soul, but you’d be better off singing something by one of your other favourite artists.
3) Loop pedals and capos are the must-have accessories for any Sheerio-turned-song-writer. I’ve got nothing against repeating chord progressions, but they rarely equate to GCSE success. Especially if there’s also not much of a tune (See point 2). Frustration increases further when the pupil declares that they don’t know what key it is ‘because I used a capo’. This actually means ‘I have no idea how to write down any part of my composition, at all, ever.’
These events all occurred many times. Basically, it was the musical equivalent of drinking too much. I over-Edded and I can no longer experience Sheeran without extreme side effects. Hopefully I’ll recover with the support of my family and friends, even those who still Sheeran regularly themselves.
Please don’t take it personally, Ed. It’s not you, it’s me – and all the kids who loved you.
PS. Since I have no Sheeran memorabilia to photograph, here’s a completely un-related picture that I took yesterday. I’ve progressed from selfies to doorsies.