Choose three types of music to investigate:
- Choose one kind of music that is very familiar because you like it very much and have chosen to sing, play, or listen to it often.
- Choose one kind of music that is very familiar because other people in your culture value it. (Perhaps your music teachers insisted that you learn it, for example, or you hear it in your place of worship, your parents took you to places where it was played, or your friends listen to it often.
- Choose one kind of music that is unfamiliar but that you would like to learn more about.
For each type of music you have chosen, find a recording of a piece that you feel is typical of that type of music. For each of these pieces, listen to the piece and do your best to answer all of the questions in the list below. It's a pretty long list, and you will be answering it three times and then making notes about your answers, so you may want to print out three copies of the list (here is a PDF) and write the answers in single words or short phrases. (For example, the answer to "what do the musicians wear" might be "tuxes" or "torn jeans and t-shirts.") Use standard terms when you can, but your own descriptions are also fine. (For example, you might describe the rhythm as "salsa groove," "syncopated," or "6/8 time,", but "like a march," "fast and smooth," or "unpredictable" are also good.) If you have no answer at all to the question, write a question mark instead of an answer.
Now go back and think about each answer that you gave
- If you are confident that an answer would be considered "correct" by the musicians who performed the piece, put a star next to it.
- If your answer may not be the officially-correct answer, but you believe it is accurate and makes sense, put a check mark next to it.
- If you were just guessing, or have no idea if your answer is accurate or would make sense to others, put a question mark next to it.
As the last step of your investigation, look at each answer that is marked with a star or check mark, and try to remember how, where, or from whom you learned it. Write down a short note next to the star or check mark listing where the knowledge came from: for example "piano lessons," "reading," "school choir," "dance hall," "friends," or "Dad."