Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cultural Connections - Music & Social Studies

My latest poster and a few of my favorite quotes about music and culture:

“We know an age more vividly through its music than through its historians.”                                                                              - Rosanne Ambrose-Brown

“The history of a people is found in its songs.”    
- George Jellinek

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music.”   
                                                                             - Agnes de Mile (1905-93)
"The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.”    - Elliot Eisner in The Arts and the Creation of Mind
I've been working with several sixth grade social studies classes (at different schools) to explore how environment has affected the development of ethnic music and art (a core objective). I play about 40 seconds of various multicultural selections (from a list I've compiled in Spotify) and have students fill in a listening chart, commenting on timbre, repeating melody or rhythm patterns, tempo, dynamics, and style, and then guessing what country or culture the music is from.

Next, as I review and replay about ten seconds of each piece, I show pictures of the ethnic instruments (which I've gathered from the Internet) and discuss the environmental and cultural influences that affected their development. Finally, I reveal the country or culture. Students really enjoy the 'big reveal.' This is a true integration (if you take time for it), as we are able to explore both curricula (music and social studies) and use music vocab in context. 

I've compiled a multicultural listening list in Spotify, and you are welcome to access/follow it. Here's a link: Multicultural . (You can also search for and download these pieces using iTunes, Amazon, etc.) I'm listing some of my favorites selections below.

Information appears in this order: Culture, Track/Title, Artist, Name of Album

India: Indian Summer, The Tigers of Bengal, Indian Raga

China: Chinese Wuhan Erhu, (Chinese Traditional), Chinese Traditional ErhuMusic
Russia: Gari Gari(Brule Brule), Jan Boutouk, Gypsy & Folk Music – Russia
Japan: Yamaji Yamato Ensemble, The Art of the Traditional Japanese Flute & Koto
Africa: African Meditation Music, African Drums, African Tribal Music
Germany: Rosamunde, Die Oberkariner Volksmusikanten, German Polka Party
Egypt/Arabia: Ayoub, Mohamed Maksoud, Oriental Sax – Turkish & Arabic Music
Spain: Punta del Faro, Paco de Lucia, El Flamenco Es…
Tahiti: Bora Bora (Tahitian Drums), The Polynesians, Luau Songs of Hawaii
Ireland: Irish Jigs, Irish and Celtic Music, Irish & Celtic – The Lord of the Dance
Mexico: Ay Jalisco no Te Rajes, Mariachi Mexico, Plaza Garibaldi
America: Shufflin’Blues, Paul Lenart, Acoustic Blues

Do you have any favorite multicultural songs or activities? Please share in the comment box : )

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