My students have begun preparations for our spring concert in mid-May. As a performer, I always like to have some sort of theme or cohesive element in a concert, and I approach planning my students’ concerts in the same way. Last year, I was very excited about our spring concert theme of “Music From Around the World.” Each grade performed music from a different continent–Africa for kindergarten, Asia for first grade, South and Central America for second grade, and Europe for third grade. The kids enjoyed singing songs in different languages and I enjoyed using some of my training in ethnomusicology to teach them about the music.
This year, I figured we should do some music from the one continent that was left out last year, so we’re working on “Music From Around the United States.” I was a little wary of this theme. It brings to mind images of children singing patriotic songs and waving tiny American flags in a cheesy and nostalgic way that I would prefer to avoid. However, this theme is becoming far more interesting and educational than I expected. Continue reading