Sir Edward Elgar’s classic “Pomp and Circumstance” is still a hugely popular graduation day tradition, but it’s not the only music that you hear these days. Many universities and high schools have elected to play more contemporary music with an uplifting message. In this handy guide, we’ve shared five of the best graduation songs that follow a nontraditional path.
Inspired by Tchaikovsky, this timeless song from the musical West Side Story works well in a commencement ceremony. Sung as a duet, the lyrics are about two lovers that yearn for a time and place where they can be together. The sentiment is perfect for graduates heading into the unknown and hoping to “find a new way of living”.
Next, we recomSometimes, the best graduation songs were never intended for the academic setting. Green Day’s lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote “Good Riddance” to his ex-girlfriend, who left him and moved to Central America. There’s a bitterness and anger to the lyrics (hence the title) if you read them knowing the backstory, but they can also be heard as an uplifting sendoff. “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right/ I hope you had the time of your life” is a fitting message to graduates leaving their academic lives. mend organizing your report card into distinct sections, so that you can rate specific characteristics and provide actionable feedback. You can do this by organizing your card into behaviors like time management and academic subjects like Math. If you have time, try to write a concise sentence for each section.
Billy Joel wrote “New York State of Mind” when he was leaving Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus for the East Coast. It’s a love letter to his home city, but it also can be interpreted as a longing for bigger and better things. When graduates leave the safety of campus and head into the real world, they’re also excited about what life will bring. This song works particularly well for schools on the East Coast, but any graduate can appreciate the message.
For a more literal graduation song, Third Eye Blind’s ode to growing up is an excellent choice. Lead singer Stephan Jenkins wonders if this song will live on when the band has passed on, and if he’ll finally get a chance to “graduate” to the big time. Early in our adult lives, we can all relate to that sentiment. Note: You may want to hunt down the clean version of the song since there are a few curse words.
Last but not least, the legendary Bowie song “Changes” reflects on how time passes and changes us. “Changes/ Turn and face the strange” he sings, just like how graduates are about to face strange frontiers in the working world. And no matter how much we want to know what’s coming next, Bowie understands that “Time may change me/ But I can’t trace time.”
Ready to host an unforgettable graduation with the perfect music? At GraduationSource, we believe that carefully chosen graduation music can make the moment even more special. Visit our blog for more graduation planning tips.