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Travels with Music

Donna Stoering

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Children’s Technology Review

Ease of Use 8
Educational 10
Entertaining 6
Design Features 7
Good Value 10

Overall Score 82%

Rich in content, this is a collection of facts, videos and quizzes on 57 lesser known musical instruments from 15 countries. (This disk is not about typical US band instruments.) An in-depth look at each instrument is presented through print and video. For example, the Nigeria Shekere (a type of drum) features footage of a master Design Features percussionist named Baba Ken Okulol, who proudly shows how the instrument is constructed and played via nine short demonstrations. The videos are well-done, and the central part of this program features live concert footage and first-person narration from original sources.

After learning about the instrument, you can take a 10-question multiple-choice quiz. If you get a perfect score, you "earn" the instrument. The idea is to eventually earn all the instruments. Extra content includes a very useful game of musical concentration (with three levels) that lets children match sounds with the instruments.

There are several series of this program as well as pricing structures. All in all, this is a very useful addition to any music education library.

Teaching Pre K-8 Review

The DVD Travels With Music – Series One is an interactive exploration of 15 world cultures through the music of those cultures. The video can be enjoyed as master musicians tell their stories, or the content can provide the material for an educational game based on the knowledge gained from the musicians profiles.

This is a great social studies enrichment tool.
Teaching Pre K-8 Review

Reviews (continued)

Edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation) Review

Do you know what a Chinese guzheng sounds like? Or a Bulgarian doumbek? We can learn a tremendous amount about the world through its myriad musical instruments -- and the vast array of cultures that surround them. Travel the globe with this diverse collection of rare video footage, audio clips, and educational games,and discover along the way how a West African djembe is made, or what role a donkey jaw plays in a Peruvian ensemble. Meet the musicians, read (and hear) the history of specific instruments and musical forms, and gather a new, musical vocabulary (such as chordophone or parlando rubato). Students everywhere will appreciate this exciting aggregation of one of humanity's most treasured art forms.

School Library Journal Review

 Travels with Music is an interactive series of programs that have been produced by an international nonprofit music-media organization that works "to encourage the discovery and appreciation of native music cultures and performers worldwide." This segment has 30 15-minute units of interactive content, visiting 15 countries and featuring 28 artists. Each unit explores some of the musical traditions and instruments of Indonesia, Mexico, Israel, China, Morocco, North India and Pakistan, Trinidad, the Philippines, West Africa, and North America. Through text, video, and audio clips, viewers see the country and regions involved, then read and hear about customs and rituals that are important to that culture. The most interesting parts of the program are the videos of master musicians teaching a particular skill or instrument. From the main page, users choose between playing a game or learning a skill; the skill portion consists of exercises such as a matching game, instrument identification, and a maze. From the game path, users can select a region from the world map, get help from Ditto the Lyrebird, or visit the sound collection. Rolling the mouse over the map reveals the region's name and a rather lengthy description of its geography and culture. Clicking on a region brings up an assortment of instruments. Clicking on an instrument provides the choice of an extensive text overview, an introduction to the featured artist, several videos featuring that artist, a description of the instrument, a selection of songs, or a link to the games (from which it is difficult to get back to the region). Much of the information is provided through densely written text. The sound collection is an array of musical instruments that players can earn by answering questions, and the game can be saved from one session to the next. The game can be loaded and played from the DVD, or accessed through a web browser requiring Adobe Flash 8 player. The video segments provide valuable exposure to master musicians and fascinating musical instruments and musical arrangements from around the world, while helping students to develop listening skills and a rich musical vocabulary. The hefty teacher's guide provides background for each country, musician featured, and musical piece performed; video descriptions; background for each unit; and the questions and answers for each game.

A sample unit is online at—MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
School Library Journal Review