Listen to Learn : Using American Music to Teach Language Arts and Social Studies (Grades 5-8) with CD


Listen to Learn, with its companion music CD, offers teachers a dynamic way to use the history of American music to engage their students (grades 5-8) in reading, writing, social studies, geography, music, and multicultural lessons and activities. The book traces the colorful musical traditions of diverse cultures including early Native music, folk, blues, classical, jazz, country, Tejano, salsa, rock, and rap. The CD features authentic music from such American musical greats as Louis Armstrong, Woody Guthrie, ...

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Listen to Learn, with its companion music CD, offers teachers a dynamic way to use the history of American music to engage their students (grades 5-8) in reading, writing, social studies, geography, music, and multicultural lessons and activities. The book traces the colorful musical traditions of diverse cultures including early Native music, folk, blues, classical, jazz, country, Tejano, salsa, rock, and rap. The CD features authentic music from such American musical greats as Louis Armstrong, Woody Guthrie, Mahalia Jackson, Lead Belly, Lydia Mendoza, and many more. Listen to Learn features a variety of fascinating activities that encourage students to write about their favorite music, investigate songs as poetry, research the lives of famous musicians, explore family musical traditions, research how instruments make sounds, plot record charts, and much more. Designed in a handy, lay-flat format for easy reproduction, Listen to Learn is divided into four major sections.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Teachers can rely on the accuracy of her information as theyadopt Tibbett’s music content suggestions as a catalyst forlearning and creativity.”
—Virgina Giglio, Ph.D., author, Southern Cheyenne Women’sSongs

“Ms. Tibbett shows us what we all need to know—thatthe music Americans enjoy today is the result of what has beenplayed, sung, and heard down through the ages.”
—Harry Gamble, education administrator, Alaska Department ofEducation & Early Development

“Teri Tibbett’s book will provide teachers with theknowledge, tools, and confidence they need to make music a part ofeveryday learning.”
—Linda Rosenthal, violinist and professor of music, University ofAlaska

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787972547
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition description: Includes CD-Rom
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 8.54 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Teri Tibbett is a teacher and musician living in Juneau, Alaska. Since 1976, she has taught music at all grade levels, both as an itinerant music teacher and through her own school, The Juneau School of Creative Arts.

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Table of Contents


How to Use This Book and CD Set.

Unit One: Native American Music.

Lesson 1: Traditional Native American Singing.

Lesson 2: Traditional Native American Instruments.

Lesson 3: Native American Music Regions.

Lesson 4: Contemporary Native American Music.

Unit Two: European-American Music.

Lesson 5: Colonial Music: Sacred and Secular.

Lesson 6: Folk Music.

Lesson 7: Patriotic Music.

Lesson 8: Early Popular Music.

Lesson 9: Early Classical Music.

Lesson 10: Instruments of the Orchestra.

Unit Three: African-American Music.

Lesson 11: Music of the Slaves.

Lesson 12: Spirituals and Gospel Music.

Lesson 13: The Blues.

Lesson 14: Dance Music.

Lesson 15: Soul and Funk.

Unit Four: New American Music.

Lesson 16: Modern Popular Music.

Lesson 17: Contemporary Classical Music.

Lesson 18: Jazz.

Lesson 19: Country Music.

Lesson 20: Latin American Music.

Lesson 21: Rock Music.

Lesson 22: Rap.

Appendix: Extension Activities and Teacher Directions.



CD Song List.


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First Chapter

Listen to Learn

Using American Music to Teach Language Arts and Social Studies (Grade 5-8)
By Teri Tibbett

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7879-7254-1

Chapter One

Native American Music


Unit Overview

Lesson 1: Traditional Native American Singing

Lesson 2: Traditional Native American Instruments

Lesson 3: Native American Music Regions

Lesson 4: Contemporary Native American Music

Unit One: Overview

By the time Christopher Columbus arrived in North America in 1492, there were over six hundred Native American groups living on the continent with their own languages, systems of government, religions, ceremonies, and musical traditions. They sang, danced, and played drums, rattles, and rasps. Their songs were passed through the generations by the oral tradition. Ethnomusicologists have grouped Native American music into regions according to similarity in styles. The regions are Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Great Basin and Plateau, California, Northwest Coast, Subarctic, Arctic, and Hawaii.

Singing is considered the most important part of most Native American music. Singing can carry important tribal history and values, or contain the power to heal a sick person or bring good luck in hunting. Sacred songs are highly honored and usually performed only at special occasions. Other songs include social songs, love songs, lullabies, and memorial songs.

Rhythm instruments, when played along withthe singing, serve to call forth spirits and bring spiritual power. The most common rhythm instruments in traditional Native American music are drums, rattles, and rasps. Rhythm instruments are generally played as accompaniment to the singing and dancing, and not as featured instruments themselves. Traditionally, they were made from materials that were found nearby-for example, tree trunks and animal skins for drums, turtle shells and animal horns for rattles, sticks for rasps, and so on. Traditional pitched instruments include flutes, whistles, horns, and string bows. Flutes were not usually played in ceremonies or dances, but were played by the men as love calls to the women. Whistles were used for calling long distances or sending warnings, or in special dances. Horns imitated the call of animals and scared away enemies. String bows were plucked.

Contemporary Native American musicians continue to sing and perform the ancient music in special ceremonies and occasions and come together to share traditions at modern intertribal powwow gatherings. Some contemporary Native American musicians are mixing the traditions of their ancestors with rock, jazz, country, folk, and rap and composing lyrics that describe current issues, lifestyles, concerns, and experiences.

This unit provides an overview of Native American music traditions, including songs, dances, instruments, regional styles, and contemporary styles. Native American populations treat music with great respect and reverence. In teaching this music, it is important to consider certain issues that may not be common knowledge. For example, keep the following in mind:

Many Native American songs are reserved for special occasions only. It would be inappropriate to sing one kind of a song out of context-for example, to sing a healing song on a stage or in a public auditorium. Similarly, it is not always appropriate for the general public to sing certain tribal songs. The songs provided in these lessons are public songs offered with permission.

Many Native American tribes were given names by foreigners who did not know their real names in the Native American language. Whenever possible try to use the name the tribes call themselves. For example, the Sioux call themselves Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota. The Nez Percé were named by the French for their pierced noses; they call themselves Nimi'ipuu. The Ani Yunwiya were called Cherokee by a neighboring tribe, meaning "the people who speak another language."

Lesson 1. Traditional Native American Singing

Lesson Overview

Native American singing styles vary from tribe to tribe and region to region across America. The songs are influenced by the conditions and traditions of each tribal group and are performed for reasons ranging from healing to love. Sacred songs are highly honored and are usually performed only at special occasions. In most traditions, singing with drums and rattles can be used to call forth spiritual influences to aid in healing and other important outcomes. Social songs are performed in public for thanksgiving, honor, memorials, and social gatherings.

Vocabulary. Singing, traditions, compose, oral tradition, sacred songs, ceremonials, lullaby, rhythm, high pitches, low pitches, call-and-response, chorus, lyrics, vocables, chants.

Purpose. To introduce songs from a variety of traditional Native American cultures; to learn about different singing styles; and to learn where Native American songs come from.

Preparation. Read the Traditional Native American Singing student handout to familiarize yourself with the material. Preview the CD samples (see cues in student handout) and have the CD ready for playing for the students. Be prepared to do some or all of the activities included in this unit. Also, make sure that each student has a music notebook for keeping handouts, activity sheets, opinion pages, and so on, when they've completed them. Suggestion: Invite students to sit in a talking circle for any discussions about Native American music. (See next section for description of talking circles.)


Traditional Native American Singing student handout (following)

Traditional Native American Singing Quiz (following)

Traditional Native American Singing Quiz Answer Key (following)

Music Vocabulary activity sheet (Appendix)

My Opinion Page activity sheet (Appendix)

How to Teach a Song teacher guide (Appendix)

Music notebooks

CD music examples on accompanying CD; cues in student handout

Additional music selections


Pass out the Traditional Native American Singing handout for students to read silently or aloud as a group. Afterwards, have students put the handout in their music notebooks. (Link to language arts, history, geography, social studies.)

Give the Traditional Native American Singing Quiz to assess student understanding of the lesson.

Go over the music vocabulary at the top of the student handout either before or after reading the text. Refer to the glossary for definitions. Suggestions: Include these words in a regular class vocabulary lesson, or pass out flashcards with a vocabulary word on one side and the definition on the other and allow students to drill each other. Use the Music Vocabulary activity sheet to write out definitions. (Link to language arts.)

Offer the Vocabulary Challenge. Students pick some or all of the words in this lesson's vocabulary list to use in a paragraph, essay, short story, or poem. (Link to language arts.)

Talking Circle. Discuss the lesson's topic as a group before and after reading the student handout. Consider having the discussion in a "talking circle." Step 1: Have everyone sit in a circle. Step 2: Explain the rules: you'll use a "talking stick" (or other object, such as a stone, feather, or large bead) to pass from person to person. The person holding the object is the one whose turn it is to speak. Students should listen and respect each other's opinions. Each is allowed to speak honestly, without interruption, and opinions are not criticized, judged, or argued. Students are free to let the object pass without speaking if they choose. Step 3: Ask students to say what they already know about Native American music. Step 4: Read the student handout aloud or silently, then discuss it again, passing the talking stick or object around the circle, allowing each to add what they've learned. Suggestion: Allow extra turns if desired. (Link to language arts, social studies.)

The Oral Tradition. The oral tradition is the practice of passing words or songs from one person to another by telling or singing; this practice has kept Native American songs alive for many generations. This activity demonstrates this tradition by playing the game "Telephone." Step 1: Sit in a circle and announce that this activity is like the game Telephone. In this version, each student in the circle counts as a "generation." For example, the first student is the "child," the next student is the "parent," the next is the "grandparent," the next is "great-grandparent," and so on, until every student is named (you may have twenty-five "generations" but it will clearly illustrate the concept). Step 2: The oldest generation (the last great-grandparent) begins by whispering a short phrase to the person next to him or her. Keep the phrase simple so that it is easy to remember. Suggested phrases: "The hunting is good beyond the meadow" or "The blueberries are very sweet this year." Each student passes the phrase by whispering to the student next to him or her until it reaches the last student (that is, the last generation) who says the phrase aloud to everyone. Step 3: Discuss what happened to the phrase as it passed from generation to generation. What did it start out being? What did it end up being? How does this process happen in real life? Step 4: Do it all again with a different intent. This time stress the importance of memorizing the phrase and getting it right. In this round, make sure each person is clear on what was said, even requiring the person hearing it to repeat it back to be sure. Note that Native Americans take great care to teach the songs and histories of their culture so that they will be remembered accurately from generation to generation. (Link to social studies.)

Extension Activities

For step-by-step directions and activity sheets, see the appendix.

My Opinion Page. Give students a chance to express freely their own opinions about the music they hear. (Link to language arts, critical thinking.)

Sing a Song. The goal of this activity is to learn a simple song from this lesson. Suggested songs to sing: "Gayowajeenayho," "Haagú S'é," "E Komo." (Link to singing, language arts, rhythm, melody.)

Illustrate the Music. Students illustrate a song or piece of music by drawing or painting their ideas of what the music "looks" like visually. Suggested songs to illustrate: "Song for a Woman Who Was Brave in War," "Coyote Warrior Song," "Arowp-Song of the Mockingbird," "Haagú S'é," "Ockaya-Corn Grinding Song." (Link to language arts, visual arts.)

Music on the Map. Create a map and legend showing musically important places, such as musicians' birthplaces and the music hot spots mentioned in the lesson. (Link to geography.)

Invite a Music Expert. Invite a Native American musician to visit your class and share his or her instrument and musical talent with the students. (Link to social studies.)

Consider bringing in additional selections of music from other sources to expand the music examples for this lesson. Search the Internet, library, or local music store to find them. Try

Traditional Native American Singing

Vocabulary: singing, traditions, compose, oral tradition, sacred songs, ceremonials, lullaby, rhythm, high pitches, low pitches, call-and-response, chorus, lyrics, vocables, chants

All Native American cultures have singing in their traditions-whether singing to a baby or singing to remember a war hero, ask for good weather, or perform a blessing ceremony. Sometimes songs are composed by an inspired person. At other times they come to people in dreams, or in visions, offering wisdom and guidance; these are not considered to be made up by the composer, but rather "given" to him or her by a higher power.

Many Native American songs are ancient, passed through the ages by the oral tradition. Early Native Americans did not use written language to record their songs, histories, and traditions. Instead, they passed this information from one person to another by telling, or singing. For example, a father might teach his son a healing song. The son then grows up and teaches it to his son, and he to his son, and so on for many generations. In this way, ancient songs and their messages are remembered throughout time. In modern times, traditional songs are also being sung to reinforce cultural identity and learn traditional languages.

Singing can hold special meaning at important occasions and is always respected for its power. Singing, with drums and rattles, is used to call forth spiritual help to aid in healing, success in war or hunting, and other important outcomes. Singing is also performed at social occasions where the people sing welcome songs, dance songs, love songs, memorial songs, and exit songs. "Gayowajeenayho" is a welcome song sung at social gatherings from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tradition in the Eastern Woodlands region.

Gayowajeenayho-Welcome Song

Gayo-wah-jee-nay-hay yah-ah hay-ay-oh Gayo-wah-jee-nay-ay-ho (Repeated) Michele Stock. Used by permission.

Sacred Songs

Sacred songs are like prayers. They can be requests for guidance or calls for help. They can be used as an expression of worship or a way to show thanks. Native American sacred songs are not usually performed in public or recorded on tapes or CDs. It is their very nature to be reserved for special occasions and treated with respect.

Sacred songs are often performed in ceremonies for special outcomes. Hawaiians perform sacred songs to help the plants grow large and strong. The Diné (Navajo) Night Chant ceremony is for healing. The Plains Sun Dance is performed for the rebirth of the spirit and to renew the natural relationship between humans and nature.

In many groups, singing songs by one group demands a response from another group to ensure social and spiritual balance.

Because sacred songs are not usually performed in public, it is rare to hear them unless you belong to a Native group or receive a special invitation to hear them.


Excerpted from Listen to Learn by Teri Tibbett Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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