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The first 100 teachers to register with MENC will receive a free
poster and sample CD from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
The Mississippi: River of Song presents an exciting set of opportunities for teachers, parents, and students. An opportunity to experience the wide variety of types of music and of musical contexts that run
through the heartland of our nation. An opportunity to explore the basic ideas, attitudes, and
emotions that are expressed through our music. And an opportunity to investigate the musical and
social principles that live in the music we make and enjoy.
The overall goals of the educational materials presented here are simple:
The Mississippi: River of Song presents viewers -- including students -- with a broad and colorful picture of America's musical life. Scenes captured for the series include music as it takes place in homes, in halls, in churches, and also in nightclubs and bars. Teachers in communities especially sensitive to religious or cultural issues raised by filming in these venues may wish to preview the series before using it in the classroom.
- To open students' minds to the possibilities in a variety of musical styles and genres. One
of the lessons that students grasp when they listen to the musicians interviewed in River of
Song is that categories and labels applied to music are often, simply put, sales tools that
fall far short of expressing the organic, living truth of the music itself.
- To help students learn something of the purpose and value of music--both to the artist and
to the community at large. River of Song presents musicians who are accomplished
amateurs, budding or established professionals, and socially and religiously concerned with
the power of their art.
- To help the students further along their own journeys into musical competence--most of
all, through teaching them to listen. "Listening to, analyzing, and describing music" is one
of the National Standards for Music Education--and the activities presented here address this
in depth as well as addressing the remaining eight Standards.