Teacher music Q&A: Adam Rowland


Sophie Chappell

“Once a song is mine, nobody can take that away from me. They can take other stuff away, whatever that might be, but that [music] is mine.”

Sophie Chappell, features writer

This series of articles will contain the musical interests of four teachers at KHS: Lisa Hellmich, history teacher, Jason Evans, history teacher, Cindy Kohler, French teacher and Adam Rowland, English teacher. TKC asked about each teacher’s five favorite songs right now as well as their general taste in music. 

Adam Rowland:

Rowland listens to an assortment of music. His taste varies from bands such as Florence + The Machine, to groups like Breaking Benjamin.  His reasons for liking songs change constantly. Sometimes it’s the lyrics, while other times, it is the melody in the song.

Five current favorite songs:

  1. Hunger Strike”- Temple of the Dog
  2. Give Me a Sign”- Breaking Benjamin
  3. -“Cosmic Love”- Florence + The Machine
  4. Cherry Wine”- Hozier
  5. 3 Libras”- A Perfect Circle

Why he likes the songs:

Temple of the Dog: “Hunger Strike”

R: The intro gets me everytime and then there’s this part and it’s kind of cliché, but when Chris Cornell has his solo at the end, [I’m like] that’s it. Some of the lyrics are uncomfortable, but it’s more about the [melody]. I could listen to Chris Cornell sing those notes forever.

Breaking Benjamin: “Give Me a Sign”

R: There’s a point in the song where he breaks. It’s the last stanza, but it’s the chorus. He says, “Give me a sign, there’s something buried in the words.” He presents this dichotomy of light and dark. His light stuff he’s saying to you and then he’s got these demons in his head because he [has] suffered from depression, so when any of those thoughts come out, he screams it. If you listen to the song with that in mind, if there’s any kind of yell, it’s the darker side. If he whispers something, then it’s real. It tells you, look at my lyrics, which is very cool.

Cosmic Love: Florence + The Machine

R: So, Cosmic Love. Anything Florence sings, I can listen to forever. Anytime she sings, she is in the song. She’s been through so much stuff; it’s love and it’s drug addiction; she does it all. [Favorite lyric:] “Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too, so I stayed in the darkness with you.” That’s it. It gives me goose bumps and that’s how I know it’s a good song.

Cherry Wine: Hozier

R: He’s got alliteration going on and the way he does it is so subtle and it’s really good. He blends his emotions with the harshest words and it goes with the song. I respect songwriters who pay attention to that stuff.

3 Libras: A Perfect Circle

R: This song of theirs is not as hard as other ones. For me, it’s the first two lines. And the last two. Well, all of them I like. The end of the song, the repetition, “You don’t, you don’t see me,  you don’t see me at all. By the time he gets to the end, it’s almost like an exhaustion.


TKC: Why is music important to you?

R: It has to do with why I got into teaching English. I felt like I was part of this secret club because you could figure out really old books that nobody knows about, [and] you could go out and find the secrets. Really good songs are like that for me; where I can make them my own and nobody can take that away from [me]. If I’m looking for a root cause, it’s about control and once a song is mine, nobody can take that away from me. They can take other stuff away, whatever that might be, but that [music] is mine.

TKC: When do you listen to music?

R: I would say two different times. Harder [songs], like Breaking Benjamin, I run to or workout to now. Things like Florence are more when I need to feel connected to something else, in a positive way.

TKC: Do you use music to alter your mood?

R: No. Not alter, I would say enhance. If I’m feeling good, then I need something to match that mood. If I’m feeling dark I’m going to sink into it. I hardly ever feel bad and say I need something positive.

TKC: What’s your favorite genre of music?

R: My first instinct would be to say it depends. Breaking Benjamin and Florence and Hozier aren’t necessarily in the same genre but when I look on Pandora and it tells me what I like, it says I like strong voices, so you take Florence and you take Chris Cornell, their vocals are just in your face, so I don’t need to be behind it, I just need strong lyrics.

TKC: Have you had a consistent music taste or has it evolved?

R: “It’s shifted. I have an older sister, so growing up I followed her [music taste]. That’s stayed with me but I’ve gotten softer as I’ve gotten older.”  

TKC: When did you get into music?

R: My junior year of high school. It goes along with when I really started to read.

TKC: Do you share your music with others or do you keep it to yourself?

R: I’m extremely private except [when sharing] with my wife.

TKC:  Do you think you and your students have a similar taste in music?

R: I don’t think so. I don’t jump to automatically hating it because I don’t know it. I get upset when they don’t listen to the lyrics and just the beat. I give credit to the artist because they’re doing what they’re supposed to, they’re getting people to listen to it, but it’s not deep and I want depth.