Frontline World









Ties to Literature

Give Us Your Feedback


Problems Printing?

Image from the story Discover How Music Could Change a Country

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

The Activity
Video Discussion Questions
Taking It Further
Connections to Curriculum Standards

The Activity

Ask if any students play an instrument. Invite those who do to describe any benefits they’ve received from studying music.

Show students where Paraguay is on a map. Explain that years of political uncertainty, corruption, and a poor infrastructure have meant that about 60 percent of Paraguayans live in poverty. Tell students that you are going to show them the video story of a Paraguayan man who is using music to help his country. Then show them Paraguay: Sounds of Hope (length: 14:03), using the Video Discussion Questions below to focus student viewing.

After discussing the video questions, have students continue adding to the list that they began with the first Video Discussion Question by reading the FRONTLINE/World interview with Luis Szaran, (Begin halfway down with the question, "How did you come up with the name…") and exploring the slideshow, Lives Touched By Music.

Next, ask students to take what they’ve learned about Paraguay and their lists of how music could change the lives of those that live there, and write a one-page description that predicts how Paraguay might be different in 20 years as a result of the Sounds of the Earth project. Students should frame their predictions by how they think changes might take place in the areas of economics, politics, and culture.

Invite students to share what they’ve written with the class. As they read, play audio clips from Music of the Missions in the background.

Wrap up the activity by asking students how learning about music could benefit their lives.

back to top

Video Discussion Questions

Focus student viewing of Paraguay: Sounds of Hope (length: 14:03) with the following questions:

  • According to the people featured in the video, how could music change the lives of those living in Paraguay? Make a list of these benefits.
  • In the video, Luis Szaran says, "Keep in mind that we're not looking for good musicians, but rather good citizens." What does he mean by that?


back to top

Taking it Further

Explore the history of Paraguay in greater depth by reading the FRONTLINE/World interview with Martin Almada, a former political prisoner who describes life under the former Paraguayan dictator, Alfredo Stroessner. According to Almada, how does Paraguay's history influence how residents see themselves and their country? How does he think music could improve life in Paraguay?

Connections to Curriculum Standards

These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge, a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning).

Business Education, Standard 15:
Knows unique characteristics of an entrepreneur.

Level IV, Benchmark 2:
Knows that entrepreneurship relates to the capacity to take responsibility for one’s own future, to initiate creative ideas, develop them, and to carry them through into action in a determined manner.
Geography, Standard 10:
Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.

Language Arts, Standard 9:
Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.

Music, Standard 7:
Understands the relationship between music and history and culture.

World History, Standard 44:
Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world.

World History, Standard 45:
Understands major global trends since World War II.

Level IV, Benchmark 2:
Understands causes of economic imbalances and social inequalities among the world's peoples and efforts made to close these gaps.


back to top