Music Across the Planet

For students of 7th to graduate grade.

Objective: students will learn to compare and contrast cultures by analyzing world music.

Intro Set: play similar music from two different cultures and ask students to write descriptions of the cultures based solely on the music.  An easy example of this parity is in Paul Simon's album "Graceland."  The song "That Was Your Mother" has a Cajun feel to it, but it's played by African musicians.  However it fits well with the Afro-centric songs on the same album played by the same musicians.  You can easily trace the roots of American music and compare it to its origins in other culutures.  Blues and rock, for example.  

Discovery: ask the students to share what they wrote and initiate a class discussion.  What did the students think?  Follow up the students' thoughts with actual facts about the music and the cultures.  Give some other examples of music comparison and other cultures.  

Guided practice: set up a few listening stations around the classroom with different cultural music.  Ask students to pick any two listening stations and compare and contrast what they heard there.  Have some reference books available that relate to those cultures.  Students can use these for on-the-spot research.  

CFU: assign students an essay or presentation in which they research two types of cultural music of their own choice.  Compare and contrast and explain what each type of music says about its culture.  

Reflection: how did the lesson go? Use the students projects to help you come up with better examples next time.  This lesson can be constantly improved by the work of students.  Let them know that you're using their work.  It will empower them to know that other students will benefit from their work.