Welcome to Musical Explorers!
Musical Explorers is designed to connect students in grades K–2 to the musical community of the Georgia and South Carolina Lowcountry as they build fundamental music skills through listening, singing, and moving to songs from a wide variety of musical styles. In the coming year, you and your students will meet artists who represent six different musical genres and cultural traditions. Together, you will learn songs and dances that you will perform along with the artists during culminating interactive concerts at the end of each semester.
The Musical Explorers curriculum encompasses skills-based and creative activities that can be integrated into both general and music classrooms. This digital curriculum includes lesson plans, background information about the artists and their featured musical styles, and additional resources for further learning and instruction. Complementary Student Guide (SG) pages include hands-on activities, photographs, and illustrations that support active learning. In addition, the companion audio, available for streaming online, includes songs from each unit and supporting learning tracks.
We thank you for joining our expedition and hope you enjoy the journey!
How to Use this Curriculum
This digital curriculum contains three units, each devoted to one of our Musical Explorers genres. Every unit contains two lessons, each focusing on a song; the lessons guide you through the process of learning the songs, as well as teaching relevant musical concepts and exploring the cultural context of each genre. There are multiple activities within each lesson; you can choose among them to best suit the needs of your classroom. The downloadable Student Guide (SG) pages are incorporated throughout the digital curriculum.
Additional features that can be found within each lesson include:
- Audio Tracks: Audio tracks can be accessed here, and are available on each unit’s page.
- Videos and other online resources: Introductory videos for the artists and their music and other online resources can be found on each unit’s page. Each unit includes one or more interactive videos, suitable for in-person or remote learning.
- Resources for Teachers: Each unit starts with a page of resources that provides background information about the musical genre and culture. Some of these resources are intended to be shared with students; others are for teachers who may want to explore further on their own.
- Creative Extensions: Creative extensions are designed to deepen the exploration of repertoire, culture, and musical concepts.
- Literacy Extensions: Each unit identifies picture books related to the artist’s music and culture that you can read with your students.
- Musical Word Wall: We encourage you to build a word wall and add vocabulary words as they are introduced in the lessons. A glossary of terms can be found here.
Options for Teachers of Students with Special Needs
- Students can participate in Musical Explorers in a variety of ways and may learn the songs by singing, moving, and clapping. You may also want to focus on smaller sections of the songs. Since you know your students best, allow them to participate in ways that will help them feel the most successful.
- Encourage students to engage with the music using tangible objects, such as handmade instruments (e.g., cups with beans for shakers), rhythm sticks, and drums.
- Allow time for students to experience the music and repeat it as often as necessary. The lessons outlined in this curriculum may take additional time and span more than one class period. Use one-step directions and visuals as often as possible to help students understand the concepts.
- Some visual aids are provided within the curriculum and online, but you may wish to provide additional resources to help your students engage with the material. If you have ideas for elements to include in future curricula, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Active Listening Tips
One of the goals of Musical Explorers is to develop habits of active and engaged listening. You can support your students on this journey by using the following strategies.
Make the Invisible Visible
Look for ways to make the invisible world of music visible and, whenever possible, kinesthetic. These methods include:
- counting, clapping, and tapping rhythms (body percussion)
- drawing or painting to music
- connecting the music to narrative ideas
- dancing and moving to music
- connecting cultural ideas with music
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Here are some general suggestions to inspire discussion as students encounter new songs and new sounds. We include additional scripted prompts in blue italics throughout the digital curriculum as a starting point for further learning and exploration.
- What do you hear in this music?
- How would you move to this music?
- What words can you use to describe this music? For example, is it busy or calm, loud or soft,
high or low, smooth or bumpy?
- How does this music make you feel?
- What do you think the musicians are feeling? What makes you think that?
- What are the instrumentalists doing? What is the singer doing?