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.
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq2zfIc-Swg
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
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.
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:
Peg Leg Joe
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.
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?
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?
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.
[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.
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.”
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.]
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
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:
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: http://www.penpalworld.com
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. http://bimp.uconn.edu
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6TSETiRPu4)
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]