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Musical Ancestries: India Lesson Prompts

Musical Ancestries™: India

Each Musical Ancestries episode, through the audio story and Prezi resources, provides a wealth of materials for teachers and parents to use at their discretion.  Shape the activity/lesson as you wish. Use bits and pieces of the resources as they fit into your plan or create something new. This is NOT a checklist of activities that must be followed or a curriculum that dictates how you use the resources.  The Prezi materials have been vetted for accuracy, authenticity, and child appropriateness so you don’t have to spend time doing so.

Students learn in various ways.  Some may benefit more from the story format and adventure and others from independent research. Some students need to see it, some need to hear it, some need to do it. We encourage you to use the audio story and Prezi resources to address the differing learning styles in your classroom.

     Lesson Prompts/Idea Board

Start Here

  • Preview Radio Broadcast Story/Audio Recording, Script, and/or Prezi of educational resources

Children’s Radio Story/Audio Recording

  • Play all or part of the Musical Ancestries: India Story/Audio Recording for the students
    1. Prep students for the story/audio recording by introducing select instruments and styles of music through the Prezi. Include vocabulary words/music terms.
    2. As students listen to the story/audio recording, have them follow along with the Listening Map or create a listening map of their own.
    3. As students are listening to the audio story, project the script and have them follow along. You can also project photos from the Prezi of instruments and other images of note.
    4. After the listening exercise, ask students to write or talk about their choice of music, instruments, country, or traditions incorporating some of the vocabulary words/music terms learned.

Prezi Educational Resources

  • Delve deeper with your choice of materials and resources from the Prezi presentation.
    1. Play music samples. Compare and contrast musical elements. What is the same and what is different?
    2. Play “drop the needle” with music from the Prezi or audio recording. Have students try to identify the country/region, the style or instruments based on the selected music samples. This could be across MA episodes, as well.
    3. Listen to a few basic ragas. Look for upward and downward movement and moving by steps or skips. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Raga>Hear It)
    4. Try singing along with the Sapta Swara raga and then a melody in Solfège. What things are the same and different in using the two methods. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani>Raga>Do It)
    5. Learn about the string instrument, the Veena. What other instruments have you learned about that also have parts made with gourds? (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Veena)
    6. Try the same rhythm on tambourine as you watch the video on Kanjira basics. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Kanjira)
    7. What classroom or home instruments could be used to play a drone like the tanpura? Which Solfège syllables/pitches would be used to match the tanpura? Try your instruments and play a drone. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Tanpura>Do It)
    8. Violinists: Explore playing the violin in the India style and learn why it is played in this way for Indian music. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Violin>Do It)
    9. Listen and watch the musician playing the sarod with his left hand using his fingernails. Try doing this on a stringed instrument. How did it change the sound? Was it easier or harder? (Find this In the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Sarod>Do It)
    10. Watch Ravi Shankar teach George Harrison of the Beatles how to play the sitar? (Find this In the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Sitar>See It)
    11. Look for the different circles and layers on the Tabla drum heads that make so many unique sounds. Listen for all of the different sounds. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Tabla>See and Hear It)
    12. Learn about expected audience behavior (etiquette) for India concerts. Think about or list the expectations at a variety of performance situations in your experience. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Indian Classical Performance Etiquette and Do It)
    13. Review the instruments used in Carnatic music and see if they look like instruments from your culture or others. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Carnatic Music>Instruments)
    14. Learn about gamakas and discover the Western equivalents of these ornamentations. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Carnatic Music>Gamakas)
  • MUSIC THEORY: What is Shadja similar to in Western music? (Find this in the Prezi: India>Natya Shastra>Music>Shadja)
  • DANCE: Compare and contrast the various dance forms. (Find this in the Prezi: India> Natya Shastra>Dance)
  • Have a SCAVENGER HUNT through this episode or across other MA episodes. Keep it simple, not too detailed. Let the students explore.
    1. Find the string, wind, or percussion instruments
    2. Find the local musicians or organizations
    3. Find the dances and celebrations/festivals
    4. Find the traditional foods
  • SCIENCE: Learn about the main agricultural and industrial economies of India. (Find this is the Prezi: India>Introduction to India>Agriculture and Industry)
  • FOOD SCIENCE: Try making Indian-style Basmati Rice at home with a family member or friend. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Introduction to India>Food)
  • ELA (English Language Arts): Discussion/Journaling Points
    1. What clothes do you and your family wear for special occasions? What are some special foods that you have on important days? Are any of your clothes or foods similar to clothes or foods from India? If you could add any of the clothes or foods you’ve learned about from India to your special occasions or every-day life, which ones would you add? Why? (Find this in the Prezi: India>Introduction to India>Traditional Clothes>Extend Your Thinking)
    2. Listen to Kaushiki Chakraborty sing a raga in the bottom video. Write a few words or a short sentence about how you are feeling before you listen and watch. While you listen, focus on the sound of her voice and the instrument.  It is okay if you don’t understand the lyrics. Try to listen to the whole video.  After watching and listening to the raga, write a short sentence or a few words about how you are feeling. Discuss with someone who also listened. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Raga>Hear It)
    3. Based on what you know so far, what is the function of music in Indian culture? (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Raga>Extend Your Thinking)
    4. Why do you think classical Indian musicians sit to play instead of stand? What are some practical reasons for sitting? What are some philosophical or spiritual reasons? (Find this in the Prezi: India>Hindustani Classical Music>Instruments>Extend Your Thinking)
    5. Try some Yoga postures as you learn about the performing arts in India being a pathway to enlightenment. (Find this in the Prezi: India>Natya Shastra>Enlightenment)
    1. On what continent will you find this country?
    2. Where is this country/region in relation to the USA?
    3. Compare the climate or seasons in this country or region with a similar climate/season in the U.S.
    4. Does a country’s position on the globe impact its climate or seasons?
    5. Have fun exploring the landmarks and landforms on the interactive map of India. (Find this in the Prezi: India> Introduction to India> Maps)
  • THEATER: Assign parts and allow students to read/act out the story.
    1. There can be two or three sets of cast members to include more students.
    2. Have students plan what the scenes might be and the stage set-up. Draw a picture or make a diorama or do the real thing.
    3. Create accompanying music similar to that of the audio recording using class instruments or use music from Prezi samples.
    4. How is drama in Indian culture different from movies or plays in Western culture? How is it similar? If you were writing a play, would you choose to focus on entertainment or enlightenment? Find this in the Prezi: India>Carnatic Music>Natya Shastra>Drama>Extend Your Thinking)

National Music Standards addressed: