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February 20, 2016



STEP 1: Where are we going?
When creating a multi-cultural concert, I like to begin by selecting the continents that we'll be visiting. I like to give my students varied exposure to different cultures around the world. I might choose a song from the FAR EAST, MIDDLE EAST, CANADA, AFRICA, SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA, POLYNESIA and then take us home to the USA. Today's blog post will be about how to create a simple music program using songs from around the world. The focus of the program will be to share the musical experiences that the students will have by playing, singing, dancing and sharing what we've learned during our travels. I've only included Free Resources on this blog post. But there are sooooo many paid resources you can find on and I'm not receiving an remuneration for this post-and so I only included FREE ones!
STEP 2: What songs will we sing and play?
One of my most favorite resources is the Smithsonian Folkways website.
This website has links and the Lyrics to many YouTube videos of traditional Australian songs. If you're not familiar with some-this would be a great place to start. OVER 100 AUSTRALIAN SONGS
The all time favorite of course is "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" sung by Rolf Harris.

A favorite of mine is "Tingalayo"  This is a Tone Chime arrangement Freebie.
                                             Tingalayo for Tone Chimes/ Choir Chimes
Thinking about making your own instruments?
                                                          VUVUZELA STADIUM HORN
                                                 The Vuvuzela - Make + Play Your Own South African Stadium Horn
                                      JAPANESE WEATHER TELLING STORY
Japanese Weather Telling Song and Activity FREEBIE
                                Japanese Instrument Listening Unit

                                    KUKU RHYTHM FROM WEST AFRICA
                                    Kuku Rhythm from West Africa

All time Favorite from West Africa "Funga alafia"
This is a very cute welcoming song. I have used this with First Graders, but it could be used with any grade. Add in some instrument accompaniments and it would work well with older students.
Sing and Learn in French:  Bonjour Mes Amis!
STEP 3: How will I present the music?
Dance-Sing-Play-All three?
I like to showcase each class that is performing and so I have each class learn the instrument parts to one of the songs. Then when it's time to present that song, those students will accompany the rest of the grade level. It works out nicely because I just rehearse the instrument parts with one class.
STEP 4: How will I put it all together?
There are so many things to consider when you do a program/show. I always start at the end to get to the beginning-I mean that I count backwards from the date of the program about ten weeks. (I have classes once a week). I also schedule extra rehearsals and one dress rehearsal on the stage. I have found at six to eight songs is a nice amount of material to learn in that short of a time. I have used accompaniment tracks and authentic music for my music programs. For multi-cultural music, I highly recommend having the students sing and play their own music. It's very rewarding to watch a group of first graders sing in Japanese and perform on xylophones.
As far as a script and outline, I have done many different types of programs, but one things I've recently begun doing is to have "whole class chants" for the speaking parts. With cut-backs and less time for music, I didn't want to sacrifice "music" and so I created a couple of formats that work especially well for the younger grades. So I thought I'd share it with my blog readers.

 It's a MULTI-CULTURAL PROGRAM with some PREPARATION materials, COVER and Teaching Directions with an EDITABLE SCRIPT.
You can find it HERE
                             Music Program Sampler: Multi-Cultural Music Program Editab
Concerts/programs/shows are a great deal of work-but I've found that focusing on the music and helping students to "learn" through the program makes it a rewarding experience all around (the world).
How do you plan concerts? What are some ways that you segue between songs? What are your favorite multi-cultural songs?

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