Knowing History and Culture Through Music
Appropriate for grades 5-12
In this course students listen, write, reflect, feel, analyze, and discuss ways in which music provides a window into knowing and understanding world cultures through history and the present day. Students begin with a survey and discussion on the role of music in society, what it provides and why it is important. This leads to making connections between music genres over history and the culture of the time. Principles of music theory and elements of style (genre) are established as tools to “interpret” the music of various cultures. In many respects the course is a new take on a standard “music appreciation” course, examining a wide range of music from native American to ancient folk music to contemporary rock, hip hop and rap. Extended versions of the course introduce the relationship between music and mathematics in history. The course expands students’ awareness of unity within diversity in global cultures, sharpens focus and listening skills, raises sensitivity to cultural nuance, teaches elements of music theory, and often inspires a desire to learn to play a musical instrument.