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Do You Love Music? Maps101 Does!

Posted on July 25 2021

Do You Love Music?  Maps101 Does!

Dear Educators,

Research points to early humans using music to communicate perhaps even before the development of language. Using one’s voice was the likely first step. The earliest known artifacts considered to be musical instruments date from about 40,000 years ago in Europe. Today, music is an important part of nearly every culture. Musical styles sometimes help form people’s identities, including clothing choices, and help them establish friendship groups. This week, Maps101 takes a look at different musical styles, with articles and National Geographic videos.

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.

National Geographic Video

Musical forms and instruments vary around the world. Japan is known for taiko drumming, which uses very large, resonant drums, large sticks to beat the drums with, and complex rhythmic patterns. Usually, multiple drummers play drums of a variety of sizes when performing taiko music. Music in North India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh often includes tabla, which are two small drums played by hand, using the fingers and palm of the hand to make complex rhythms. One of the drums is smaller, for playing the treble parts, and the other drum is large for playing the bass parts. This video highlights yet another form of drumming from around the world: the steel drum. Most drums are made of wood with animal hide stretched over the wood to form the head, which is beaten. The inside of these drums is hollow, which helps create the resonant sound of most drums. Steel drums, however, are made entirely of metal and do not rely on the resonance of wood and hide. This gives them a high, ringing sound that is very different from other drums. Learn more about steel drums in this video.

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.

National Geographic Video

The home of country music is Nashville, Tennessee, largely because the famous music house the Grand Ole Opry is located there. The Opry began as a radio station at the National Life and Accident Insurance Company’s office in Nashville. One of the founders of the insurance company was fascinated with radio and launched the station. People walking by the office could look at the small radio studio from a window. The Grand Old Opry was a show the station hosted that began in 1925. Country music fans began to crowd the station for the show. National Life built larger and larger studios to accommodate the fans. Eventually, a separate building was needed to house the event. Over the years, the Grand Ole Opry show has had several locations where the show was presented. In 1974, the first building was constructed specifically to stage the country music showcase. It has 4,400 seats.  Many visitors to Nashville try to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry. This National Geographic video shows you more about this important home to country music.



Comparing and Contrasting After watching the video on steel drums, have students research taiko and tabla drums. Have them find videos that allow students to hear how they sound. Then, have students compare and contrast the different styles of drums. Students may also want to include drum sampling, modern rock drums, electronic drums, or other drums in their comparisons.

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

Extending the Content Using the Search bar feature, add the keyword “music" to find more videos and articles featuring music. Have students find another resource they are interested in and have them write a few paragraphs summarizing what they have learned.

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