“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
– Billy Joel
Everyone loves music, and music makes learning fun! Whether singing a song or dancing to the beat, music is an effective teaching tool that is easy to incorporate into all subject areas. Students who enjoy a lesson will be more engaged and more likely to remember the content. For example, music can help children learn languages, and bilingual children can significantly benefit from singing songs in their second language. In science class, music is a fun way to learn about the skeletal system (maybe you can still remember that “the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…”) or about sound waves. Art class is an opportunity to create models of musical instruments, with students adding their creative touch when decorating. Teachers can even use music to manage the mood in the classroom!
Exploring Different Cultures
Because music is an essential element of culture, it is a novel way to give children of all ages insight into other societies. By studying different instruments from around the world, students appreciate a region’s music, people, language, and history. From the national instrument of Ecuador, the Rondador, to the Sitar from India, every instrument provides a fun way to promote cross-cultural learning.
Here are some easy activities to celebrate cultural diversity through musical instruments:
- Choose an instrument as a starting point for a class discussion using the following questions:
- What can you learn about a country or culture based on the instruments that they play?
- What common elements can you identify in different instruments played around the world?
- How does music bring people together? How do all cultures use music to express themselves?
Photo was taken at Musée de la musique in Paris, France
- Listen to the sound the different instruments make. Check out this link for some instrument examples and sounds. Afterward, ask the children if they like how it sounds and if they have heard it before. Maybe someone in the class knows how to play one of the instruments and would like to share their talents!
- Make multicultural musical instruments popular in different regions of the world. Here are four ideas to get students started.
- Reinforce the students learning of vocabulary, geography, history, etc., with activities such as these:
- Musical Instrument Memory Game
- Musical Instrument Matching Game
- Musical Instruments Around the World Map Activity
Are you looking for more ideas? Check out Language Lizard’s Musical Instruments from Around the World for more instruments. Also, remember to access the lesson plan for many more extension activities to help students learn about a culture’s art, music, geography, and more!
About Language Lizard
Language Lizard, LLC (www.LanguageLizard.com) is a leading supplier of bilingual products in over 50 languages. The company provides award-winning bilingual books and audio resources to schools, libraries, literacy organizations, and bilingual families. Language Lizard offers culturally responsive teaching materials, multilingual posters, and free multicultural lesson plans to support diverse classrooms and homeschooling families.
Language Lizard Idiom Books are available as English and bilingual paperbacks at www.LanguageLizard.com, Ingram, and bookstores worldwide. eBooks are available on major eBook platforms and on Overdrive and are 32 Full Illustrated Color Pages for Grade Level K-5.