MusicUnitesUS Workshop for Classroom Teachers

Listening to History:
Music as a Portal into the Exploration of Diverse Cultures

MusicUnitesUS (MUUS), Brandeis University

“Music can be an important component of identity, but it is also an important means of arriving at cultural pluralism, by which I mean a tolerance, openness and understanding towards other peoples’ cultures, social structures, values and faiths.” - The Aga Khan

The mission of MUUS is to further the understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures through music. We believe that music is a common medium that can help to unite diverse cultures in our own neighborhoods and transcend boundaries in the global community.

MUUS brings more than 1,000 public school students to Brandeis University each year for a series of diverse music performances that support and deepen the ongoing social studies classroom curriculum. The MUUS programs are carefully shaped to reinforce the content of the related classroom lesson plans. In the context of history and culture, music becomes a powerful teaching tool - an authentic voice revealing cultural values, expressing overarching social themes such as freedom and justice, and exploring issues of identity. Not only do these programs enhance the academic curricula, they also address issues of multiculturalism and diversity.

Workshop Goal:
To create effective and engaging lesson plans that integrate music (and art) into ongoing social studies curriculum. Teachers create lesson plans exploring the history, culture, spiritual traditions, and values of diverse cultures with an emphasis on social justice, encouraging students to use imagination, experience, and critical thinking. Teachers are strongly encouraged to attend in pairs: music and history. For the purpose of the workshop, teachers may choose from one or more of the following regions: the Middle East, South America, China.

Workshop Leaders:
Judith Eissenberg, MUUS Founder and Director, Professor of the Practice/Lydian String Quartet, Music Department, Brandeis University
Shipley Robertson Salewski, MUUS Lesson Plan Writer, Teacher-English Language Arts, Middle School, Kipp Summit Academy, SF, CA
Diane L. Moore, Professor of the Practice in Religious Studies and Education, Director of the Program in Religion and Secondary Education, Harvard Divinity School

Workshop Description: (2 four-hour participant-centered sessions,):

Session 1: Exploring tools, methods, strategies for integrating music into social studies curriculum
Introduction, overview, film, discussion, sample lesson plans and past programs, brainstorming for themes and content, explore resources (including options for recorded music, video, live local performance), breakout groups, discussion. Leaders: Eissenberg, Salewski

Between sessions: Shape lesson plan
Participants choose culture/region, develop theme, research accompanying materials (DVD, video, area performances), create lesson plan.

Session 2: Opportunity for sharing and trying out ideas with peers
Presentation and implementation of lesson plans, open response and review
Leaders: Eissenberg, Moore.