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Lessons: Tips For Teaching World-Music On A Budget

Interested in teaching a unit on world-music? What should you ensure is taught in the lessons? How can you teach the unit using classroom instrument substitutions? The author of the Teach & Play series, Mike Simpson, believes there are a couple of areas that you should consider:
Cultural Significance
First, it is important that some cultural background of the genre or piece of music is conveyed. Sadly, all too often children in UK schools do a project on African drumming for example, and learn nothing about the cultural significance of why the piece is played in West Africa, which would determine the instrumentation, tempo, length, structure, and timbre. All the pieces in the Teach & Play series have Background, Info Bank and Cross-Curricular sections which can be used as down-time within your lesson to inform the pupils of the cultural significance of the piece they’re learning. All the rhythms use the Key Words as the mnemonics which help to reinforce the learning.
Instrumentation, classic motifs and Lesson Structure
How do you ensure a piece sounds authentically African, Brazilian or Indonesian whilst using classroom percussion instruments? In addition to ensuring the piece incorporates classic musical elements and motifs of the genre, the selection and balance of instruments within the whole-class workshop will help. There should also be some thought about how the structure of the lesson incorporates students swapping instruments (so everyone gets to play a fair selection of instruments) and when would be appropriate to share the cultural background of the genre or piece. The 3-Stage Teaching Method; say the rhythm, play as body percussion, play on the instrument (initially as one sound and then developing to using all the correct sounds in the phrase) consolidates the learning.  The Teach & Play series guides you how to do all of this in a fun, creative and engaging manner.

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