Your Music, Your Culture
Subjects: Social Studies, Technology
Grade Levels: 6-12
Materials: Computer w/internet access and printer, Windows Movie Maker (optional), Power Point (optional)
Websites: www.youtube.com , www.lyrics.com , and www.google.com
Students will learn about world cultures and their own through music and images the music represents.
This lesson requires some build up to it. Try not to give students too much information on exactly what this lesson is about. Tell students that you are going to take a break from social studies. ¡°Instead, let¡¯s talk about music. Who are the most popular groups right now? What was the last cd you bought? Last mp3 downloaded? Most popular radio station in their city? What type of music does it play? Etc..¡± For homework I will have the students think about their all time favorite songs, choose one, and bring the lyrics to class tomorrow. (Note: tell students they must edit any explicit lyrics) The next day, schedule a trip to the computer lab (have students bring their lyrics) and show a project done on youtube.com were a series of images were put together to make a music video for the song We Didn¡¯t Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Then tell the students to go to www.google.com and click on the image search tab. Together search a couple words like apple, DJ, butterfly, etc. For every word there should be tons of pictures found. Then tell the students too look at their song¡¯s lyrics and think about what images are represented. Give them about ten minutes to search for images and then head back to the room.
Students are to go home and print a minimum of 10 images that are represented in their songs and put them in the proper order. They will have to present their songs and images to the class. (Allow them to bring in the CD if they have it)
They must explain to the class:
1. What this song means to them¡¦why is it their favorite?
2. How does this song represent American culture?
3. Just from hearing the song and seeing the images it represented, what might a person from outside of the United States think about American culture.
You can ask the students after watching all of the presentations, if the presentations did a good job representing their cultur and generation.
I like to follow up this activity by showing music videos from other countries to the students and ask what they can learn about that countries culture by watching the videos. Usually students realize that we are more similar than we are different. You can find tons of videos on youtube.com, just search the nationality and genera. For example: Korean Pop, Japanese Rock, Chinese Hip Hop, German Alternative Rock, etc.
One variation is to have students create their own music video using Windows Movie Maker. It is very simple to use. You just import the MP3 and drag and drop the images along the timeline of the song. You will be able to show the students this in about 10 min.
Another variation is to have them put their images into a Power Point presentation.