Teaching the Explore

What influences music choice?

What styles are listened to around the world? Ask pupils to make a list of styles that they already know.
You may wish to introduce the term ‘genre’ at this stage.
Look at styles together on the teaching slide. Did pupils come up with any others?

What do you think influences music choice?

What influences pupil’s musical choices? What types of music do the pupils currently listen to? Do they listen to different music depending on the mood that they are in? Get pupils to suggest music that they listen to and listen to it in class. Some example responses are given on the teaching slide.

Explain that we are influenced in our choices, sometimes without even realising it. There are many influences around us every day. These might come from the people around us but might also come from our environment.

In the UK, popular music is often all around us. It is played in shops, used in TV/internet adverts and played in stadiums, restaurants and other public places. This influences the music choices we make. Ask pupils whether they think traditional music on different islands around the world will be similar to the music we often hear in the UK.

Recap on the islands that the pupils researched earlier in the theme. Explain that different countries and places around the world have different musical styles that have been influenced by culture over time.

Explore typical Cuban music, traditional Japanese music, Hawaiian folk (or others, such as New Zealand Maori or Fijian) music. What do pupils think the music might sound like?

Explain that Hawaiian music is based on a folk style.
Cuban is based on a folk style.
Japanese is based on a Buddhist chanting or orchestral court style.

Hawaiian music

Hawaii has a distinctive style of music. It is based on folk style.
Listen to some of this music through the link on the slide:

Ask the pupils what they think about this kind of music. What do they like, or dislike, about it? How is it similar/different from their own music choices?

Introduce the famous artist from Hawaii, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Pupils may recognise some of his work in a medley they can link to from the slide:

Traditional Hawaiian music

Use the images on the slide to discuss some features of traditional Hawaiian music.
Instruments pupils might hear:

  • Ukeke – small stringed instrument, native to Hawaii
  • Ipu – large drum, used for chanting to
  • ‘Uli ‘Uli – type of rattle
  • Kala’au – two sticks struck together

Tempo of the music:
This can vary depending on the particular song listened to. However, it tends to have a medium, or even slower, tempo. (You may wish to refresh pupils’ understanding of the term tempo.)

Can pupils identify any other features of Hawaiian music (e.g. pitch, melody, rhythm, dynamics)?

Cuban music

Cuban music also has its own style. It is based on the rumba. (You may wish to ask pupils whether they are familiar with the rumba, and explain that it is a traditional dance, popular in Cuba.)

Pupils can listen to some Cuban music through the link in the slide:

Ask pupils what they think about this style. How does it make them feel? What similarities/differences are there between this and Hawaiian music? Can they think of any reasons for the differences?

Traditional Cuban music

Use the images on the slide to discuss some features of traditional Cuban music.
Instruments pupils might hear:

  • Congas – a round, deep hand drum
  • Bongos – a pair of small (usually up to 10 inches) hand drums, connected with a piece of wood
  • Shekeré - a large hollowed gourd (large fruit) covered in beads that is shaken to create a deep, low-pitched shaker sound
  • Claves – a pair of small thick wooden sticks that are struck together to produce a sound
  • Bells – cowbells of varying sizes

Tempo of the music:
Cuban music has a slow to medium tempo, depending on the rhythm.

Can pupils identify any other features of the Cuban music (e.g. pitch, melody, rhythm, dynamics)?

Japanese music

Traditional Japanese music is a very different style. It is based on either Buddhist chanting or an orchestral court style.
Pupils can listen to some traditional Japanese music through the link in the slide:

  1. Ask the pupils how this music makes them feel?
  2. What type of mood does it create?
  3. How is this music similar to/different from Cuban and Hawaiian music?

Traditional Japanese music

Use the images on the slide to discuss some features of traditional Japanese music.
Instruments pupils might hear (there are many more):

  • Bin-sasara – clapper made from wooden slats connected by a rope or cord
  • Kane – small flat gong
  • Taiko – great drum
  • Biwa – a pear shaped lute
  • Kugo – an angled harp, used in ancient times and recently revived
  • Hocchiku – vertical bamboo flute

Tempo of the music:
This music tends to have a slow tempo, as the music creates a calming and relaxing atmosphere. Can pupils identify any other features of the traditional Japanese music (e.g. pitch, melody, rhythm, dynamics)?

Main task

Pupils will listen to each type of music again and complete the comparison grid in their worksheets. Pupils answer the following questions.

  • What instruments can you hear?
  • How does the music make you feel?
  • What helps the music create mood?
  • Are there parts of the music that makes the mood change?
  • How does it change? Rank the music 1st to 3rd. Which do you prefer and why?

Show the class the example complete grid on the next slide, then play the music again and discuss the class’s responses.

Assess, reflect, connect

Pupils to consider these questions and reflect on the things that influence them:

  • How have your musical choice been influenced?
  • Have you influenced anyone to listen to your music genre? When and why?