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Moved by the Music: A Musical Journey in West African and African American Music

The purpose of this unit is to introduce kindergarten through 2nd grade students to the music of West Africa and the rich musical and cultural contributions it has made to American music over time and across continents. This unit can be adapted and used for higher grades.

Tapping into the musical traditions of Africa and learning about the historical context of some of the music we hear today helps to broaden students’ musical and cultural appreciation. Through lesson plans, students will gain knowledge about the people of Africa, the slave trade, the routes it took and the musical traditions the African people carried with them across land and sea.

Children are surrounded by music at home, at school, and in the environment. In this unit, students will have the opportunity to listen to music, view music video clips, and read stories about African American and African musical artists, both historical and contemporary. Over a few weeks students will gain an understanding and appreciation of African music and the influences it has made to our American musical traditions.

Donna M. Rohanna
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