My Musical Heritage – 7733

My Musical Heritage  – 7733


Every year I try to find a theme that incorporates open- ended, thought-provoking musical concepts to share with my students. This year I wanted to focus on the diversity of my classes and wanted to encourage my students to ask questions and explore the untold stories of their past. This idea came to fruition after having watched an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?”. This particular show made me realize that we as US citizens know very little about our ancestors, and prompted me to want to explore how students might use music as the starting point in determining their own unique backgrounds and origins. It made me ask the question of how heritage might affect one’s musical taste? The main concept would involve students studying how music and their modern day musical counterparts might be directly tied to their own heritage. Students determined they would be able to answer this question by investigating the origin of their last name and finding musical examples from that origin. Students were asked to research musicians and music based on their origins prior to  the founding of our country (pre – 1776) and compare and contrast those findings with the music, artists, and genres that appeal to them today. Might there be an inherited, deep-seated connection between the two?


TIPC Ratings

Developing – Research was a significant piece to this project, however, due to time constraints the teacher provided direct links to certain information (genealogy website). If given more time, students should be given the freedom to discover and validate websites and online information on their own.

Developing- Students worked individually on this lesson, however students were instructed to give each other peer reviews and provide feedback about the final student products.. Students presented their findings to the class.

Approaching- Students had to respond to and make sense of a fairly abstract concept – Does heritage effect musical taste? Not only did this lesson require students to think critically by examining music in relation to their heritage (music composed pre 1776), they also had to make a modern day connections of how this may have influenced their musical taste in the modern era. Students were excited to contemplate how their 21st century preference may actually be influenced by a deep seeded, dormant “music gene” that once resounded with their past ancestors.

IDEAL – Students had creative freedom and choice of how they wanted to present findings. The teacher took a risk by designing opportunities for students to synthesize, research, and apply critical thinking skills to address a specific task. The work was meaningful to students due to its extremely personal nature compelling students to want to ask questions in order to discover more about their own heritage and that of their ancestors. At the completion of this project students were able to look at the trends in data in order to analyze if their own musical taste is similar to that of their heritage.

Student Artifact


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