Muffin Bottoms [not] Just another WordPress weblog


My Most Recent Gig was Mediocre at Best.

Filed under: Music and Stuff — admin @ 8:17 am

31mar24 — Groton, Conn.,

So I have to admit that this morning’s sunrise Liturgical music did not represent my best guitar work by any stretch.

Between the cold fingers, having my face right in the sheet music to see the first song and not noticing quick enough that everyone was looking for me to lead another song’s last line each verse it felt like an epic fail.
But it seems like overall the service went well for everyone attending.
I’m glad about that at least.

I felt like 2022 and 2023’s guitar work went much better.




Reflection: I guess having an off gig now and then makes a good gig feel extra sweet, right? 



OLD FOLKSINGER – Covers, Parodies & Renditions by Marco Frucht Dedicated to Cathy Moore

Filed under: Music and Stuff — admin @ 8:42 am

1. I Hate a Song (Woody Guthrie) This speech featured many times at the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua voiced in by a guy who sounded just a bit like Studs Terkel. I’m told it was a speech Woody Guthrie gave somewhere, but it might’ve been something he published. Look around the Internet for provenance, the journey itself is worth twice the price.

2. Old Folk Singer (Merle Kessler) Ever heard of “Duck’s Breath Radio Theater”? They were a comedy troupe that began at the University of Iowa in the mid-1970’s but moved to San Francisco. Soon after, they released their first (self-released) album, “Out Of Season”, then moved to performing skits for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”. Eventually, they created and starred in “Dr. Science”, an offshoot of a popular “All Things Considered” skit, which was a parody of scientific TV shows. It was also one of the first shows on a new TV network called “Fox”.

Kessler, who performed under the stage name Ian Sholes in DBRT, and lab assistant Rodney on “Dr. Science”, wrote this as a parody of folk music in general, much in the same way Steve Goodman wrote “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” in the mid-1970’s.

3. How Come (You Do Me Like You Do) (Gene Austin – Roy Bergere) First recorded in 1924 by Marion Harris, this song, written by the vaudeville duo of Austin & Bergere, has become a jazz standard. Over the years, the song has been performed in various styles, such as New Orleans jazz (Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band and Louis Armstrong), straight pop (Teresa Brewer) and lounge (Julie London). Note: Speaking of London’s version, it was produced by her husband, Bobby Troup. Aside from Troup being the writer of “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66”, both he and London became well-known outside of jazz circles through their starring roles on the TV series “Emergency!” as Dixie McCall, RN (London) and Dr. Joe Early (Troup).

4. Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (Traditional; arranged by Frucht) This is a song about arms! Inspired by British sea shanties and Appalachian folk tales, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs released their version in 1951. Though not a “hit” at the time, it soon became a part of their live shows. Of course, it was often played in Folk circles in the early 1960’s. Oddly enough, Buck Owens had a major hit with it in 1971.

The “arms” in the song are the outstretched ones you race to when you come home or meet a loved one. That’s the only “arms race” worth participating in!

5. Completely Different Voiceover; Stacy Wilson

6. Gotham City 501 Blues (arranged by Frucht) Observations from the Summer of 1989. Also, a cautionary tale of not paying heed to laundry labels.

Picture this: Two of the biggest movies in the country are “Batman” and “Honey I Shrunk The Kids”. The Walkman, a personal cassette player, is the preferred means of taking music on the go. Lita Ford duets with Ozzy Osbourne on a song called “Close My Eyes Forever”. Barbie and Ken are, well… Barbie and Ken. After over a hundred years, Levi’s introduces their “501” line of jeans… for women. Neneh Cherry, fresh out of punk band Rip Rig & Panic, has an international hit with “Buffalo Stance” Take all this, blend it together with a bit of humor, and you have a song that captures the summer of ’89 quite well!

7. Mueslix: A Juicy Fruit Commercial Parody (parody lyrics: Frucht) In the late 1980’s, the W. K. Kellogg company introduced a new cereal to its lineup: a whole-grain and fruit cereal called “Mueslix”. The cereal, based on a traditional European whole-grain and fruit dish with the similar name “muesli”, was launched with a $33,000,000 advertising budget. Of course, you can make your own Muesli very easily and cheaply!

Around the same time, Wrigley had a promotion for its Juicy Fruit chewing gum, alongside the Doublemint twins and Spearmint’s “Pure Chewing Satisfaction” (long before it became the title for Lard’s second album). The “catchphrase” used for the commercial, “The taste is gonna move ya!” seems to fit Mueslix/muesli rather than fruit-flavored chewing gum. Here, Marco plays the jingle as it should have been written!

8. Hey Mon (Frucht – Franklin) You may have heard this song before. You probably didn’t know the name of it, but if you’ve ever dealt with MIDI files in any capacity, chances are, you’ve heard it.

Originally composed in the 1980’s, this tune is best known by its more common name, “REGGAE.MID”. I first heard this catchy little tune in the late 1980’s, while Marc and I were stationed at Fort Carson, CO.

Fast forward a couple of years, and “Hey Mon” becomes a part of the PC boom of the 1990’s, due to its inclusion in Creative Labs’ SoundBlaster 16 PCI/ISA sound cards, as part of the driver installation and MIDI demonstration package. The package proves to be a success, and millions of copies of “Hey Mon” are included in the package.

Only one problem, though. Nobody at Creative Labs sought to get permission from Marc to use his song!

9. Telephone Me, Baby (George M. Cohan) First published in 1899, this was among the first songs to celebrate the telephone’s use in romance. Even with the sometimes poor connections and (relatively) high costs of phone calls in those days, nothing stirred one’s soul like hearing your partner’s voice over the miles and miles of copper wire. The first verse of the song mentions mail and wire, meaning postal mail and telegrams. Both were replaced over the years by e-mail and text messaging, but there’s still nothing like a phone call from your loved one.

10. Is This Thing On? Voiceover by Staci Wilson

11. 1979 To the Tune of the Ancient Congregationalist Hymn “Were You There.”

12. Internet Killed the Video Star (music by Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Bruce Woolley; new lyrics by Frucht) As you may know, “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the first music video played on MTV in August 1981, although the song itself was issued two years earlier.

Unwittingly, MTV had opened a “Pandora’s Box” of issues in regard to its use of music videos and promotional films as the main source of its programming. Often, record companies would supply MTV with the videos (free of charge), but despite being shown nationally, few artists saw any reward for their efforts. On the other hand, if you were Michael Jackson or Madonna, you had the power to tell MTV how and when to play your video. But if you were Eye To Eye, Split Enz or Ebn-Ozn, you were lucky if your video got played at 2 AM, if they even played it at all. But, take heart, readers: The Free Design lambasted the MTV-originated ethos of style over substance in 2002 with “The Hook”

When .mp3 became a go-to format for listening to music, the recording industry tried to capitalize on it in the worst way possible: offering obscure music for several dollars per track. I doubt Andre Kostelanetz or Bert Jansch was on many people’s playlists, but that’s what the major labels offered. Unless, you went to the dark side… and used Napster.

As the PC became more and more a multimedia device, an application called RealAudio became one of the first media players to combine audio CD, *.mp3 and internet radio, all in one place. Those who have never heard streaming audio through RealPlayer, consider yourselves lucky. In the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, dial-up internet was still used widely, and attempting to stream live content over a dialup connection was an exercise in frustration. As internet speeds became more robust, so did the quality of streaming audio and video.

Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much over the past 40 years. With the founding of YouTube, videos by major stars sit beside those by new artists. But getting compensated properly remains a challenge. And with audio-only subscription services such as Spotify, Tidal or even Apple Music, the majority of artists are paid in hundredths of a penny per stream. Not a good ecosystem to foster creativity!

13. Burma-Shave (Frucht) Before Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s were even thought of… there was Burma-Shave, one of the first “brushless” shaving lotions. Before, one had to put hot water in a mug containing a cake of shaving soap at the bottom. Using a shaving brush, one stirred the water/soap mixture until the lather was the desired consistency. Burma-Shave, on the other hand, was ready to use, right out of the jar.

In pre-World War II America, the majority of paved highways connecting towns and cities were two lanes. As functional as they were, a major trip would still take several days if not longer. Speed limits of 40 to 50 miles per hour in open country were common, and lower speed limits were in place in more populated areas.

One of the most famous pre-war highways was US Highway 66, or simply “Route 66”. If you drove on Route 66 or any other major road in that time, one could reasonably expect to come across a sequential series of five or six small signs, the first four or five containing one line of a poem, the last sign being the name of the product. Here’s an example:

Shaving brushes / You’ll soon see ’em / On the shelf / In some / Museum / Burma-Shave

The signs certainly propelled the Burma-Shave lotion to major popularity, and became part of the landscape of rural America. Unfortunately, with the rise of the Interstate Highway System, the signs soon disappeared from America’s roadways. And Burma-Shave itself began disappearing from store shelves as well.

Burma-Shave itself may be gone, but the signs continue to live on in American folklore. Roger Miller and Tom Waits paid tribute to the signs in song as well.

14. I Saw Elvis (to the tune of Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite) Considering that if the King were to avail himself to fast food, there is no shortage of options on Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis. Which ones may cause gastric turmoil remain to be seen!

15. Rumble (Acoustic Cover) (Link Wray) If there ever was an instrumental that rocked the world, this is it. But the story of how it got there is no less amazing. Fred Lincoln Wray, Jr. and his family had experienced discrimination due to their Shawnee Indian origins, living in profound poverty. After being in several local bands in Virginia, Wray served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. During his enlistment, he had contracted tuberculosis, which saw him in the hospital for over a year and the loss of one lung. Link knew his days as an occasional vocalist were over, but after hearing Elvis Presley with Scotty Moore’s guitar, and a Creator-inspired vision, Link became a no-nonsense guitar player, refusing to be bound by convention. After his surgery and treatment for TB, his doctors had told him his performing days were over, Link told the doctors, “Well, there’s a mightier power than you that’s gonna tell me I can’t go out and play my music.” Archie Bleyer, head of Cadence Records (the label that released “Rumble”), had demanded Link recut the song at Cadence’s New York studios. Link told Bleyer, ‘Well, you either accept this, or you don’t get it at all–If you don’t want this one, f–k you. I’m not coming to New York.”

Regarded as the first single to use electronically-distorted guitar, Link’s “Rumble” influenced guitarists all over the world, from the British invasion of the 1960’s to today.

Some Songs produced entirely by Marco Frucht.

Others were Engineered by Carl Franklin and Produced by Neil Sheppard
Song list order organized by John Carta
Liner Notes in the Nat Hentoff tradition by Patrick Moore


Almost Famous – A Movie and a Musical and a Way to Be.

Marco Frucht pictured here with Cameron Crowe at Blue Gene’s Pub, National Theater Institute, Waterford, Conn. 18nov23

Corny joke alert:

— So yesterday I met Cameron Crowe
— Oh I know that name, what’s he famous for?
— Almost Famous
— Oh, what’s he almost famous for?

One morning I was telling a 7th grade class about how I used to sell cassettes of my music out of a van while busking on street corners all over the U.S. I found an old 4-track cassette tape the other day with early masters, and a girl raises her hand and says, “what’s a cassette tape?” And a boy goes, “Oh my dad has those, it’s like a VHS tape with the two little spinners but they’re smaller,” and she asks “what’s a VHS tape?” Not picking on her. I polled the class right away and there were only two other children besides that boy and myself. Everyone else had no idea what either of those two old pieces of technology are/were.

Last week Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt were here at the O’Neill reworking their B’way production of Cameron’s movie “Almost Famous.”

It was so neat to meet Cameron and see Tom again. He were here a few years ago workshoping his play “Superhero.”

Even more neat was seeing some of their work as a staged reading with Equity actors and production crew. I have a good feeling about this play and it’s journey back to Broadway and everywhere else it will go. I sure do hope it gets licensed for High School productions and then Little Steven’s group can include it in curriculum, right?


Sharing Lyrics Of My Song Song.

Yes there’s Redundant Song, Hate A Song, Arms Song, Verseless Song, and Song Song.

Of all of them, most are talking about my “Song Song,” lately. So I guess I should paste up lyrics.

I’d always hoped the bots and search engines would do it for me!


Cheers, marco frucht songwriter, guitarist, poet and van driver.

I got a song I wrote today Thought up the music the other day Came with the words and the chorus line

I got a song it goes like this Sounds kinda country with a little bit o’ soul a little too mellow for rock and roll

I got a song I wrote in school Right in the middle of English class Added the music the following day

Here is my chorus line Not too bright but it’s catchy Listen to my chorus line Daddy Addy Oop Op Ay…

I got a song about politics Buerocrats and all them pricks All about how they get their kicks!

I got a song about sour grapes Kinda people who make you hate Just when you feel like callin’ it quits

[ CH ]

I got a song about hating guts Kinda people who drive ya nuts Just when you feel like beatin’ ’em up!

I got a song I’ll sing for you Only if you got a minute or two If you don’t then be on your way

[ CH ]




OK, now what’s Groove Sale? In my tiny but growing revenue stream, the two groups treating me best these days are Tidal and Groove. Thank you, thank you thank you!

Looks like my most popular song in the U.S. is still Frybread but the biggest interest all over the world is for my “Swedish Folk Song.” Neat! And the second hottest song elsewhere around middle Earth kind of amuses and fascinates me.

My “Redundant Song” isn’t even released as a single, just an mp3 and youtube that I put online when I had done a mini-midwest tour supporting GarageBand’s Choozapalooza thingie a couple Presidential elections ago.

(anyone even remember the Garageband page? No, not the recording tools, the website. That and mp3dotCom seemed to go away about the same time Friendster did.)

So “Redundant Song,” I sure do hope people aren’t thinking they found a free mp3 of Green Day’s completely different song of the same title. If they did I hope at least it entertained them and they weren’t too disappointed as they keep searching. hehehe


How & where U can buy my Frybread song. :)

You can buy the song at iTunes and Amazon too but I’ve always made it available lots of places free (pro bono) as well.




Call me crazy, sure. But it’s always been more important to me that I share this story with people all over the world than make a buck or three, but I’m not naive either. Making a buck or two here and there comes in handy when your stomach growls…


Wanting to use some of Mary Amato’s book in my book someday. ;)

Here’s a snippet from my Thesis where I mention Mary Amato’s book “Guitar Notes.” Good stuff!


Maybe with Mary Amato’s permission, excerpts from her Young Adult book Guitar Notes could weave through chapters five through 10 or so giving students a flavor of the very lore of musicianship and musicality from perspectives of a young dreamer or two. She even portrays young adults writing songs throughout the story and occasionally includes verses notated so someone could easily sing and play the melody on a guitar or piano. Once in a while she also includes a guitar chord diagram along with a suggestion such as, “try a Hendrix chord in place of the E7 when you get to the beating part. I think it would sound cool. Here’s the diagram for the chord, which is named after Jimi Hendrix, of course. God of guitar. I’m going to make you some guitar-playing videos and send you the links” (Amato, 2012, p. 139). With all that in mind, doesn’t this book take on a somewhat mixed-media or multimedia art form? Or perhaps a found art of sorts.

Amato, M. (2012). Guitar notes. New York: Egmont USA.



UPDATE: (Can’t believe I left something this crucial out 6 years ago!)

Filed under: Academic,Mundane Or Sublime,Music and Stuff,News,Poetics,Tech — admin @ 4:05 pm

Holy wah. 6 years ago I forgot to include the actual link to the music video of a song so people had to find it on their own.


Lo siento, desculpa me.



So here’s an explication:


The story behind “Chiapaneca,” a song. (Girl From Chiapas) – a Flamenco/Huapango mix.

It is December 22, 1997. A paramilitary group called “Paz y Justicia” rapes and murders dozens of women and children at a prayer meeting in Acteal, Chenalho, Chiapas. One paramilitary chooses to leave. He picks up a little girl, Marcela saving her from harm. But later he is found out in the act of helping her escape to the neighboring village and they hang him after much torture. Aggressively they search for little Marcela but give up after a time. There are other witnesses they weren’t able to kill. Undetected, a young guitarist sits in the bushes; waiting for them to leave. He remembers everything he has seen.


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Track List for Marc Frucht’s Free 2012 Christmas CD

Christmas Rekkid,
a Free CD by Marco Frucht

Track List:

1) Intro Eastern Point Beach
2) Anarcho Jazzm Arch (A March)
3) Old Folksinger
4) Ziggy’s Little Drummer Boy
5) Completely Different
6) Burma Shave
7) Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
8) Bunion
9) How Come (You Do Me Like You Do)
10) It’s Beginning To Look A Lot (Like Xmas)
11) Is This Thing On
12) Chiapaneca
13) Frybread
14) Little Things
15) Swedish Folk Song
16) Manitou
17) Love Me For My Heart
18) Verseless Song

Full description at:

Free CD — Last year’s entire 18 song Christmas record!


Ethnomusicology Museum – 30 Task Cards – Each One Essentially a Lesson Plan…


Classroom Museum

Marc Frucht


Task Card 1





Make an ocarina out of clay.

Several webpages and youtubes give instructions how.

You’ll just need non-toxic clay, paper to put down for neatness and something pointy to make holes with.

As you’re embellishing it you could refer to the book, “Music Before Columbus” to see many instruments that seemed to resemble pan flutes, ocarinas and rattles. Some of these technologies will not have changed much in 40,000 years so you won’t be just imagining it as you complete this that you’re in touch with a process that is quite ancient.


Skill Activity:



Find evidence of musical styles and inspirations that existed in North America prior to the famous Christopher Columbus voyages.

Use primary and secondary sources while attempting to discover what instruments will have been constructed from the resources available in the Americas.

One resource on hand in the classroom is Samuel Marti’s “Music Before Columbus.”

Many of your other primary and secondary sources will have to be found online.

This museum has some other books that might be worth exploring too.







Conduct research for the same evidence of musical instruments and styles in Italy and Spain.

Craft a persuasive essay claiming Italy or Spain influenced America’s music.

Craft another one saying the exact opposite that the Americas influenced Europe.

Support this with deeper evidence than what you’ll find at Wikipedia.

(although Wiki is allowed as a starting point for this exercise.)

For example you will find ancient ocarinas mentioned all over Europe and Asia.

Here’s one in China:

Did China get this from the Americas so very long ago? Or was it the other way around? Perhaps they each came up with this without knowing each other at all. Explore the same possibilities for Spain and the Americas.


[Key Entry Point: Bridging]

[Extra Gardner Intelligences: Existential, Mathematical, Kinesthetic and Spatial]

[Blooms: Creating, Evaluating, Applying, Understanding]


Task Card 2





Enrichment Activity:

What do you already know about the Underground Railroad?

Watch a snippet of Reading Rainbow’s 11th season episode six about slavery in America.

On one sheet of paper write down any new facts that you learned from this video that you did not already know.

Next, include some of the things you already knew afterwards.

Lastly, brainstorm a few things you would like to know more about this topic.

Skill Activity:


Search for evidence of the historical Peg Leg Joe in addition to claims that he never existed in real life, but was just a legend.

A good place you can begin your research is at the following website:

You can also search for the following keywords:


Drinking Gourd

Harriet Tubman

Peg Leg Joe

Underground Railroad


Make your own graphic organizer by drawing a T-Bar down a single sheet of paper. You can label one side Real but the other side Legend, and organize all your evidence to one side or the other.






Are you ready for one of the most unusual but enjoyable short research projects you’ve ever done in your life?


Using the melody from the old folksong “Follow The Drinking Gourd,” write some new lyrics based on this evidence of Peg Leg Joe.

He is only featured in the original song as “The Old Man,” so you can keep calling him that, or call him Peg Leg, Mr. Peg Leg, Mr. Joe, or whatever fits to the beat of the song. It is totally up to you.

There are many versions of this song you can find. You’re welcome to use mine free of charge.

The new lyrics you make will basically become a brand new song. Your exit ticket is to sing the new lyrics or say them somewhat poetically.


[Key Entry Point: Understanding]

[Extra Gardners: Existential, Mathematical, Body/Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Applying, Creating, Evaluating, Understanding]


Task Card 3








Make a short biographical paragraph about your favorite contemporary musical artist.

Find out about an old, dead and nearly forgotten musician and do the same.

Now compare and contrast the two.

This will hit the added “synthesizing” from Bloom’s Taxonomy but it will also have you appreciating where music comes from and where it might go.

Creativity is the limit if you hold strictly to the theories, but it’s the sky when you think about it, and music stretches across all of them and everywhere else.






Skill Activity:



Using Internet tools find out about Rock Star Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen,

Gather information about what he’s been studying, and what school gave him a PHD in Astrophysics.

Compose a small moment story about the astrophysicist who became a rock star.

But replace yourself in as the main character as if you were Brian May.

Essentially you will drop out of college in the middle of your thesis to become a rock star and tour the world and then go back to complete it after your band has already made it.









List one specific thing you want to be when you grow up.

(It’s just fine if it was something different even yesterday or maybe you’ll change tomorrow.)

Try to remember some other things you always wanted to be. There were probably many.

Using just internet searching try to find some ways that you can be at least two more things besides your main choice at the same time.

Create a simple text file listing the 3+ things you want to be when you grow up.

Next to each one list at least two ways it’s possible.

Now in one paragraph or less at the bottom of the same text file, title it “Action Plan,” and simply state how you’re going to become at least three different things when you grow up.


[Extra Gardners: Existential, Intrapersonal]   [Blooms: Creating, Remembering, Understanding]




Task Card 4





Enrichment: (Short Answer Questions.)


Watch Rhiannon Giddens sing “Black Is the Color”

How many musical instruments can you identify.

What musical styles do you think you hear Rhiannon’s band interpreting?

Do you consider this an old song or a new one?

If you’ve ever heard this song before, how is Rhiannon Giddens’ version different and how is it the same?




Skill Activity:


Listen to Storycorps’  “Keeping Family Traditions Alive.”

Write a small moment from your life into an essay that might be worth “voicing over” a StoryCorps podcast someday.

Perhaps write about how your own family keep some of your traditions alive.

Here’s the beauty of NPR’s Storycorps van going around the nation empowering people to become recorders:

The story can be as complicated or easy as you wish it to be. Yes, it can be about a turtle you saved from getting squashed by a car once, or it could be about a dad attending his daughter’s kindergarten class as a surprise because he’s home from the war.

Surely something that’s happened in your life so far can be something you might want to “tell the whole world” with the help of the StoryCorps van.





Start from the same Storycorps’ “Keeping Family Traditions Alive,” from the Skill Activity.

Now using an iPad, record and edit a StoryCorp-styled podcast of a small moment from your life.

Interview yourself, or a friend, or have a friend interview you.

You might want to script it yourself, or at least start from a one-page organizer.

For instance, I’ve been trying to talk my mom into letting me record her telling about the time when she was in her Junior year of High School and her date to the prom was Billy Martin from the New York Yankees.



[Key Entry Point: Authentic Problems]

[Extra Gardners: Existential, Mathematical, Body/Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Applying, Creating, Evaluating, Remembering, Understanding]



Task Card 5









Build a paper plate or papier Mache mask and teach yourself a circle dance similar to one that False Face Societies have done for thousands of years.

(Caveat/Warning: Be careful to keep this from being in a mocking way. We are trying to get a feel for what they do rather than steal their ritual or religious beliefs.)

There are plenty of tutorials on how to make a mask online. Sample a few and find one you can make most easily.

Good keywords to start with for the dances are, “medicine mask dance,” or “Iroquois dances.”

One challenge you will face is that you will find many more images of these than videos. The more traditional dances tend to forbid filming.

Yes, you may blend stomp dances and smoke dances to get an idea of what the same groups do. And then totally use your imagination how your mask will dance based on how you created it. Your role is to be the arms and legs of this mask as it travels time and space. Get it?






Skill Activity


Watch 29Oct15 Time For Kids video about Niizhoo (nee-shoo) Sullivan, 11, who loves to sing.

Niizhoo (nee-shoo) Sullivan, 11, loves to sing. He’s the lead singer of the drum group Hay Creek.

He has won several singing competitions. Niizhoo’s family lives in northern Wisconsin on an Ojibwe reservation.

Read the full article about Native singers and dancers if your school provides it.

On a piece of writing paper generate five fast facts from the video.

(For example, I noticed an ancient stick being used as a boom stand for a microphone by probably a proud dad or uncle. My first thought was “that’s so ghetto,” but then I realized with the microphone it is a perfect blend of the modern and the ancient all together in one place and time.









Take a Google Maps journey to Wisconsin where Niizhoo lives.

Learn some fast facts about his tribe but also some of the other tribes in his state.

You can start with Oneida, Menominee and Potawatomi to be sure.

There are many tribes represented around Wisconsin.


Build a graph showing Tribal names and the differences and similarities represented.





Anything Else






Anyone Else


[Key Entry Point: Talent Development]

[Extra Gardners: Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Creating, Evaluating, Remembering]


Task Card 6






Watch a short video of someone playing a wineglass harp.


Because rubbing the glass takes so much practice you will be making a simpler version of this harp where you’ll tap lightly with a pencil.

Use differing amounts of water to have each container give a different “pitch.”

Write some notes from remembering or replaying the video.

Did the different amounts of water seem to make sounds higher or lower?

Did you have to hit hard to make a sound?



Skill/Activity: Construct a Wineglass Harp


Materials: 8 Beakers, test tubes or glass bottles. Water. Unsharpened pencils.

Fill each of the eight beakers or glasses with different amounts of water.

Experiment by tapping lightly on several glasses, getting familiar with whether larger or smaller amounts give a higher or lower note.

Stop there.

That is as far as this activity will go. Give yourself a mini-lesson online looking up pitch’s relationship to size in all musical instruments.

You’ll see that this applies to everything from church pipe organs to drums and everything in between.





Predict whether to line up the eight “notes” from full to empty, organizing it in a sensible way.

Make any necessary adjustments after tapping several glasses.

Now using 3 or more of the glasses find your way to something resembling a simple melody such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

or “This Old Man.”

One more adjustment: if you sense that one or more notes were much too high or low, try adding and subtracting water until it’s close.

Voila! You’ve constructed another musical instrument.


[Key Entry Point: Talent]

[Extra Gardners: Mathematical, Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Creating, Evaluating, Applying]





Task Card 7








Watch a 4 minute snippet of the “Mary Mack” segment of PBS for Kids’ show “Lomax the Hound of Music.”

This hundred year old song began in Virginia and spread all over the nation memorized as a skipping song for a long time before it was ever written down.

Playground rhymes like this are some of the earliest inspirations for Hip Hop music.

List as many other Skipping songs, playground rhymes and jump rope tunes as you can from memory.

Conduct a web search for even more. Some of them were inspired by military cadences, so you could add the keyword “cadence,” to ones such as “jump rope” or “playground.”




Skill Activity:



The song “Mary Mack” is all about movement and beat; and this is why it made a great jump rope song.

It was also perfect for Rap and Hip-hop as the video’s elephant character Lil’ P-Nutt explained.

Make your own personal chalk-talk on a portable whiteboard by listing any other jump rope or skipping songs you remember from when you were young.

If you don’t remember titles you can try to search for them on the web.

Organize half a dozen or so by how much rhyme you see and how much rhythm you can feel.

Next you can pick one or two to make into a freeform rap. Either write them the same way and experiment out loud how you would sing them, or change the words around to suit the newer form.








Record your rap from the previous skill activity to iPad.

You will need to be good at Garage Band or iMovie.

There are tutorials galore online.

Teacher knows PC recording tools better so he can help you on a chrome book,

but if you already know iPad, go for it.



[Extra Credit: 1) Teach the teacher iMovie 2) Teach a classmate. 3) Present rap to whole class.]


[Key Entry Point: Exploration]

[Extra Gardners: Linguistic, Body/Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Creating, Remembering, Applying]







Task Card 8





Measure all the strings of a guitar. Length and width count.

(I suggest using an electric guitar or a steel string acoustic, because three of the strings on a classical guitar will vary from this and add confusion.)

Listen and compare to see if both length and width correspond to pitch and tone.

In other words, does each string have a lower or higher sound?

Does it sound fatter or thinner?

Is there any difference in volume or how long the string sustains after you pluck it once?

[Further Study. If you happen to find this fascinating, do a search in your spare time for the longstanding argument over 432hz tuning versus 440hz to acquaint yourself with this compelling difference of opinion. Some of the answers might be rooted in music therapy and have implications with psychology and medical fields.]



Skill Activity:


How are guitars and pianos similar and different.

Draw a simple sketch of the shape of a guitar. (a stick figure will work just find)

Search internet to find the following items and label them nearest to where they should be on a common guitar.


Soundhole or Pickup


Tuning Peg

Anything else you can fit on the diagram.

Now research online to find five basic parts of a Piano.

Compose a short paragraph describing as many similarities and differences as you can find.







Design just the hit points and lives for a video game where the following two characters go to war against each other.

One character is a guitar. Give him/her a name and use the Skill Activity from this card to come up with some criteria for points.

Do the same for a piano. What is his or her name? Does s/he have some of the same hit points? Are some higher/lower?

Now predict an outcome.

[Extended project suggestions. 1) If already skilled at Visual Basic, Java, etc., go ahead and build the game. 2) Write a persuasive essay to send to an already established gaming company suggesting your game. 3) Can you think of a way to make this same thing into a board game?]


[Key Entry Point: Exploration]

[Extra Gardners: Mathematical, Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Creating, Analyzing, Evaluating, Applying]





Task Card 9






Using the Online CIA Fact book learn some fast facts about Brazil’s people and culture.

I recommend using the keyword “introduction” in your first few searches, or they tend to take you right to the nitty gritty of all things “war and peace.”

Now give yourself a mini lesson on Carnival elsewhere on the Internet.


Some good places to start are:






Skill Activity:


Find footage of the Sesame Street float in the Macy’s parade.

Do you think Big Bird’s costume is inspired by Brazilian costumes? Yes or no, and why?


Here’s Macy’s 2010 for instance:


And here is some footage of Carnival


Do you think there was more preparation for the Macy’s parade each year or Carnival?

Which do you like better, and why?

Traditional essay. This is a good one to use lots of sound and color words. Also, be on the lookout for metaphors.





Project/Product: Compare and contrast Carnival and the Macy’s Day annual.



Find a pen pal in the Dominican Republic, Kurdistan or a faraway place of your choosing.

Here’s one of many places you can start:

Learn everything you can about his/her culture and discuss.

Tell them your favorite singer and ask if they have favorites.

Ask about music but also festivals and dances, foods, clothing, everything.

Search for as many similarities as possible.

Thanks to the Internet our two cultures have influenced each other in so many ways over the years.



[Further study suggestions. 1) Online tour of Ballard Museum of Puppetry.

2) Virtual field trip. Find reservations and Indigenous tribes nearest to your school.

Make a list of dates, times and frequency of PowWows and community socials. ]


[Key Entry Point: Understanding]

[Extra Gardners: Existential, Mathematical, Intrapersonal Interpersonal]   [Blooms: Evaluating, Applying, Understanding]



Task Card 10








First, watch 40 seconds of Gabra womenfolk singing

Next watch snippets of a Gabra shepherd boy from David Mayberry Lewis’ Poor Man Shames Us All.

48:06-49:00 camel dance

49:13-50:00 do you like my song?

Lastly, just ponder the concept of giving a song away to someone for free.








Goal: try for 3 levels of compare/contrast: Gabra versus. NYC., African music vs. American music and more specifically traditional music vs. popular music.

Just make notes of these “C&C’s.” It doesn’t have to be a formal essay.

Watch an advertising agency spending millions of dollars creating a jingle that was co-written by Ray Charles.

50:04  In NY songs are not for giving they are for selling.

Hundreds of singers and bands were invited to make music to those words.

They were paid well even if their music wasn’t used in the ad.

The first of many ads premiered during the commercial break of the Super Bowl XXV.

Action: Write a few words requesting people purchase camel milk from a family in Gabra because they’re very nice.

Now see if they can fit right onto one of the many ads already made.








Teach yourself how to remove vocals from a song using the recording tools app Audacity.

There are many tutorials online. (for instance:

Take the vocals out of “You got the right one baby, uh huh.”

50:12 of “A Poor Man Shames Us All”

Quickly jot down some lyrics that could seem like an ad for camel milk.

Either sing or speak a track over the music persuading people to buy camel milk from the Gabra family you previously studied because they’re so nice.


[Key Entry Point: Bridging]

[Extra Gardners: Existential, Mathematical, Kinesthetic and Spatial]   [Blooms: Creating, Evaluating, Applying, Understanding, Remembering]



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