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

Author: Donna M. Rohanna


Patterson Elementary School

Year: 2011

Seminar: Who Are Those People and Why Are They Listening to That Music

Grade Level: K-3

Keywords: African American music, Culture, Music, West Africa

School Subject(s): Arts, 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.

Download Unit: 11.05.07-1.pdf

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