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10 reasons to teach world music

World music is often dismissed as somehow not being ‘proper music’; it is too alien or too primitive or something that belongs only to hippies who talk about mother Earth and dress up in African sarongs. Whether you believe this or not, world music can be perfect for the classroom, and here are our top 10 reasons to persuade you why this is true:

1. World music has great cross-curricular potential
World music is often tied  strongly into other aspects of society and culture than here in the West, which makes it a great tool for exploring everything from religion and traditional customs to food and the environment.

2. World music is great for developing aural skills
Most world music traditions and techniques are learnt and passed on by ear.

3. Students don’t need to be able to read music
It is particularly inclusive of those who don’t read notation.

4. No need for expensive, authentic instruments to play
It is often quite easy to play world music on whatever instruments you happen to have lying around in your school music cupboard (particularly percussive styles such as samba and African drumming). You don’t need ‘authentic’ instruments to be able to play!

5. Great for beginners and groups
World-music styles are often made up of simple, repetitive patterns that are easy to learn but nonetheless sound really good when played together in a group.

6. World music can be perfect for whole-class ensembles
It is comparatively easy to hand out a set of samba instruments to a class and get them all playing well together by the end of a lesson. You don’t have to worry about forgotten violins or rearranging The Blue Danube to cater for everything from novice recorder players to prodigious electric guitarists and bassoon players.

7. World music is a fantastic way to explore the rest of the world
It can promote understanding and tolerance of other cultures. This is becoming more and more important as our world becomes more interconnected.

8. World music is a ‘living’ tradition
This can in, some ways, make it more relevant and accessible than Mozart or Bach, particularly for students of different cultural backgrounds.

9. World music can help to remind you that there are often more important things than just getting the notes right.
Western music can often lead to a fixation on technical precision, while world music can help to provide a more balanced, relaxed approach to performance.

10. World music is fun, interesting, varied, beautiful and inspiring
It encompasses such a wide range of music that there’s nearly something for everyone within its remit.

Convinced? Then check out the new Teach and Play series of world music resource packs, which provides all of the help and material teachers need to bring African drumming, Balinese gamelan, steel pans and samba to their students.

The Teach and Play series is available now at musicroom.com. 

Check out the YouTube taster clips below taken from the DVD content of the series.

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