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Music: A Unit Study

You don't need to be a musician -- maybe you just like music in general -- to study music. There are lots of activities here to explore this topic.

1. Select a favorite piece of music and create a rhythmic accompaniment to go with it. Use a rhythm instrument you have made or select a variety of items that will give you the tone and sound you want. You could audio tape your accompaniment for others to hear.

2. Listen to several music recordings and choose one you feel is suitable for dancing. Create a dance that you can do in time to the music.

3. Learn two singing games and play them with others.

4. Listen to a piece of music and explain what the music 'says' to you. You could create a design or picture with paint, do an interpretation of the music in creative movement, or create a poem that the music inspires.

5. Learn three songs well enough to sing them to a group or to teach them to others..

6. Learn folk songs from five different countries on three different continents. Learn as much as you can about these songs. Create an illustration you feel might go with two of the songs if the songs were being printed for a songbook.

7. Interview a musician or music teacher. Find out why that person chose music as a career. Learn what preparation was necessary and what the person enjoys about her/his career. Write up a career interview with drawings to tell about that career.

8. Find three songs, either recorded or from a music book, that were popular music in another period of history and that tell something about that period. Choose a song of today and explain how it tells a story of today's times.

9. Find out about the life and works of a living composer or performer. Using music and/or music recordings, give a 30-minute program to tell others about that musician.

10. Learn about early singing groups -- minstrels, troubadours, minnesingers, and meistersinger. Sing at least one song from this period and explain about the group, the time, and the country where it was found.

11. Listen to a musical composition that tells a story. Find out all you can about the music and the composer.

12. Listen to and watch an opera or operetta. Listen for the story idea, how much is sung or spoken, what language it is in, how the voices are related to the characters, who the composer was, and when he/she lived. Be able to tell the story of the opera or operetta.

13. Learn to sing a ballad. Dramatize or make a shadowgraph or puppet show about it.

14. Listen to and see a ballet or concert, live or on television (or videotape). Choose several other pieces of music that you feel would be appropriate as dances and create a dance for one of them.

15. Participate in a musical performance using you musical skills.

16. Learn three action songs suitable for young children (e.g., "I'm a Little Tea Pot"). Teach at least one of these songs to a group of children younger than yourself.

17. Do a poster to show the arrangements of instruments in an orchestra. Identify the instruments and the section to which they belong.

18. Make a display or exhibit depicting a famous composer, an era in musical history, or the history of an instrument.

19. Program music is music with a theme or story. Pretend you are selecting the music for a concert for people who like three of the things listed below. Give the name of the music and the composer, and if possible a recording of your selection.

-- The sea or rivers
-- Woods or mountains
-- Fields or meadows
-- Circus or festival
-- Patriotism, parades
-- Elves, leprechauns, or fairies
-- Religious feelings (not just hymns)

20. Choose three pieces of music hear in concerts or on radio, television, or recordings that show the influence or a country outside your native country. These might include dance music from other countries, calypso or other rhythms, or songs in another language. Be ready to explain what these influences are.

Links for Music

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