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Connecting to Music with Maps101

Posted on November 14 2021

Connecting to Music with Maps101

Dear Educator,

Music and other art forms help humans communicate emotions and ideas. Nearly every culture practices some style of music. Musical styles can help form people’s identities, including clothing choices, and shared musical tastes can be the basis for friendship groups. This week, Maps101 takes a look at different musical styles with Geography News Network.

Geography News Network

In the 1930s, Texan Bob Wills created a musical style known as country swing or Western swing. He was a fiddler from rural Texas. In addition to country music, Wills also loved the blues and jazz. He incorporated these into his style to create a new musical form. Learn more about Wills and country swing in this GNN article. 

Geography News Network

It is virtually impossible to talk about the history of the blues without mentioning Robert Johnson. Although he made few recordings, and biographic information is limited, there is no debating his massive impact on music. This GNN article explores more about this vital musician and the musical form he helped define.

Geography News Network

Even people who do not listen to classical music are likely to know Beethoven’s da-da-da-DUM theme. It is the booming beginning to his Symphony No. 5 in C Minor. Ludwig von Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, and along with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is one of the most famous classical music composers. Find out more about Beethoven in this exclusive GNN biography.

Geography News Network

Beethoven is not the only classical composer featured in GNN. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from Austria, is considered one of the world’s greatest composers. His work is notable for the young age at which he began and for the diversity of his works. He wrote symphonies as well as operas. Most composers specialized. Learn more about Mozart in this GNN article.


Discussing The GNN articles include critical-thinking skills questions at the end that can be used as prompts for classroom discussion. 


Extending the Content Ask students to identify their favorite style of music. Then, have them create a presentation on it. They may want to include images or sound clips to illustrate the style they chose. 

Students should include the origins of the music and some of the musicians that helped develop the style.


Geography Connection Have students make a map based on music! Allow them to be creative in how they interpret this activity. Some may want to map the birth locations of different artists. Some may want to focus on the music of a particular place, such as Nashville, Brooklyn, or Detroit. Encourage students to be creative when thinking about the subject of their map and how to present it.


SEL Connection Discuss in class how music is beneficial to humans. Students may point out it can be relaxing, it can express different emotions, it can be meditative, etc. Encourage students to turn to music and other arts to help them express their emotions. Then, ask students to name songs that express different emotions and explain why they choose their song.

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