Thursday, November 10, 2011

Resources for Studying Music

Smithsonian's virtual exhibition: Música del pueblo

Do you take the time to study music with your children? Although we listen to it a lot in our home, I try to take time to deliberately study different types of music from around the world. This works especially well as a unit study, or as a part of studying world cultures.

Listening to music helps children to develop language and comprehension skills. It can also improve a child's reasoning abilities for math, science, and engineering.

I have found some amazing resources online for parents and teachers. Below are a few of the lesson plans, books, activities and other ideas for exploring this subject more in depth with your kids.


Last spring, I put together this article for studying Spain's most recognized music and dance: Flamenco.

Putumayo Kids has a special section just for teachers that includes lesson plans, maps and song lyrics.

Smithsonian Folkways has a great website with a whole section dedicated to teachers that includes lesson, activities, folk life education kits, some really awesome interactive features (see photo), and more. 

OxFam also has global music site that has 20 stand-alone lessons, offering opportunities for singing, performing, composing, improvising, listening, and appraising. You can also explore rhythm, timbre, texture, structure, and pitch by using music from many cultures and countries.   

Kindermusik is a program for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and young children. It teaches music appreciation and develops age-appropriate skills.

PBS offers a wonderful site for teachers with online lesson plans and activities for classical music based on their program, Great Performances. For elementary through high school.

For added inspiration, take a look at this fun video created by homeschooling mom, Marta Verdes Darby, and her children. You can find out more about their experience at the Walt Disney Concert Hall by visiting her blog, My Big Fat Cuban Family.


- Songs in Spanish for Children by various artists

- Cuban Lullaby by various artists

- Latin Playground by Putumayo

- Classics for Kids with music by the Great Composers.


Sing Along with Abuelita Rosa: Hispanic Lullabies/Canciones de cuna by Baby Abuelita Productions, illustrated by Oscar J. López. Perfect for small children, this musical board book features five traditional Latin American songs for children. 

Under the Mambo Moon by Julia Durango. A unique story that describes various types of Latin American music - from Colombia’s cumbia to the Dominican merengue to the candombé of Uruguay.

Diez Deditos & Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America by José-Luis Orozco and illustrated by Elisa Kleven. This lovely book includes the verses in English and Spanish, as well as the music arrangement for guitar and piano.

Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers and Julie Maren. The inspirational story of the famous Cuban singer.

Salsa by Lillian Colon-Vila and Roberta Collier-Morales

Lola's Fandango by Anna Witte and Micha Archer

For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart by Elizabeth Rusch, Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson

Cool Classical Music: Create & Appreciate What Makes Music Great! (Cool Music) by Mary Lindeen

Classical Music Stories by Cynthia Downs

Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for Kids by Camille Saint-Saens, Barrie C. Turner and Sue Williams

Con mucho cariño...


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