ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Music and Movement in the USA!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music and Movement in the USA!

Hi, I'm Jedda from This Little Project.  Since our country is celebrating it's birthday this coming week I thought that now would be a great time to dig a little deeper and learn about our own cultural dances and music. You might be thinking, "I live here! Surely I know about that!" Well, read on. Chances are, you may rediscover with your little ones some things about our cultural heritage that you don't get to see often.

Today we will be learning about the music and movement in the USA!

I performed as a dancer representing the United States internationally with this group. It was our job to share the cultural dances and music of the United States with the world and at Folk and Cultural festivals. It was an honor for me and helped me realize what a wonderful nation we live in.

One of the things that I love about being a musician and a dancer is that it brings me full circle in what I am learning about. It's one thing to read about a place in a book. But if you really want to get to know a people you've got to listen to their music and language and watch (and try!) the movements of their people's dance. That's where you will find a true reflection of a people's traditions and culture.

I hope that you will enjoy traveling around the world-in the comfort of your own home-to learn about cultures as well as the joy of music and movement and dance with your children and students!

Since I can't share my personal library with you, I'll be sharing some links online. Some come from youtube, which can be a great resource. Please be cautious and supervise your students/children when they view them.

First, we'll start with some square dancing.  Here are some kids doing square dancing in some "old-time" western clothes.  Hear the caller telling then what to do?

Fiddling is one of the most American music genres.  Here is one of our favorite fiddle tunes: Orange Blossom Special!  Listen for the train running through the song!

This is clogging:  It's a combination of fiddle music, fancy footwork and some square dance formations like you saw above (traditionally).  This movie has 2 dances: first one by the girls dancing to another traditional song: cotton-eyed joe.  Then a partner dance that is like square dancing only really fast with neat footwork that's similar to tap dancing.  I learned and performed these dances in Europe (but I'm not in this video.)

Here is a chance to compare that form of American dance with another form: tap dance!
This clip will show you some of the roots of tap: specifically relating to jazz music-another American music style.

And where would we be without American musicals?  Here is some tap dancing and musical music!

Native American hoop dancing is a very neat style of American dance to watch.  I have some friends that did this in the group that I performed in.  Clogging actually has some Native American roots in it's footwork too!

Of course, this is just an introduction into the traditional forms of American Dance and music.  Feel free to explore and watch and listen to even more!

Now YOU Try!

Some things you really have to try to appreciate or understand them.

These activities will help you do that!

With July 4th coming right up, we can't forget about our nation's National Anthem.  This video also has the words so that you can sing along.  Try singing it together!

Make your own simple tap shoes with this tutorial

Put on some bluegrass music (or turn on the movie above) and pretend to play the violin or banjo

Try moving in and out of a hula hoop like the Native American Hoop Dancers did.

Try a tap dance step too with those tap shoes you made!

Thanks for joining in with me today for some great music and movement!  If you would like more ideas on what you can do to learn and share music with kids, come visit my blog, This Little Project  on the first Monday of the month, or search "Music" for past posts.

at This Little Project.

If you missed the past countries in this Music and Movement series, here are the links for the other countries we have explored together: Mexico, China, Ireland 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for all of this! We had a fun time going through the videos. We live overseas so we are appreciative of chances to learn (and see!) traditional American things.