by Nick Friedman, NCAT
The exhibit is a showcase of traditional Appalachian Music. Specific elements of this musical genre including its historical roots, cultural influences, instrumentation, and modern day successors will be the focus.
This lesson was written out of my belief that music history is an excellent opportunity for cross curricular instruction. In this particular lesson, a study of Appalachian music quickly opens windows to studying the subjects of world history and geography among others. At almost every point in this lesson, there are detour opportunities into other related subjects. A student may, for example, read an article about the early Ulster roots of Appalachian music and then suddenly develop a deeper interest in Scottish or Irish history. Or, an interest in the Mandolin may lead to a deeper understanding of 18th century Italy. Musical styles tend to be derivative from other cultures and do not usually develop in a vacuum. When a student explores a particular musical style, a deeper journey usually ensues. The history that underpins that style invariably involves other cultures and tells a tale of immigration and assimilation that has occurred over the last several hundred years. My advice for any teacher deciding to use this Webquest is to share with your students an enthusiasm for the music and equally important, an excitement for the cultural journey that a study of this music entails.