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Travels with Music™ Review by Stacey Jones

Donna Stoering
Listen for Life

Travels with Music™ is a multimedia exploration of 15 world cultures that uses music as your guide. It is produced by Listen for Life, a nonprofit music-media organization that is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of worldwide music cultures.

As part of your subscription, you will receive access to 30 units (more to be added in the future) that contain 300 video and audio segments – a total of 6 hours of content that is ideal for K-12 classrooms, homeschools, after schools and youth groups all over the world. The 15 world cultures you can explore are: Bulgaria, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, the Philippines, Trinidad and the US.

Each of the 30 units includes:

  • An introduction to each culture where the students will learn about the origins and history of the culture, the geography of the area, the people that make up the culture, their traditions, language, music and customs.
  • An introduction to the Master musicians and instruments from that particular culture
  • In-depth interviews with these Master Musicians in which students will learn about their backgrounds, their family, traditions, musical influences and way of life
  • Multimedia segments which feature the Master Musicians explaining the origins of the instruments they play as well as a small performance by the musicians

The unique content from Travels with Music can be used for instruction in history, geography, ESL/EFL/TESOL, cultural diversity, cultural literacy, music and tolerance.

Also available is an 88-page, comprehensive downloadable Teacher’s Guide which provides background information for each of the cultures, instruments and the musicians as well as video descriptions, game questions and answers (multiple choice questions) that could be used as an assessment for each unit.

Once logged in, you are taken to a map of the world from where you can use either the menu bar of countries across the top or the dot markers on the map to choose which destination you wish to visit. After making your decision, you are then taken to your destination, which includes written information on your chosen culture, instruments, and artists as well as the interview and performance videos and audio files. Then you start the process all over again with a different country.

Through the written information, audio and video segments our boys have been able to learn about a variety of different cultures and the customs that are important to them. It has been intriguing to learn about unique instruments to each culture, many of which we have not heard of before. We have also found the videos of the Master Musicians teaching how to play these unique instruments to be extremely interesting and have really enjoyed watching them.

This program has definitely opened our boy’s eyes to some of the amazing cultures around the globe. The Teacher’s guide has been a great asset to this program, helping enhance our boy’s knowledge while making it exciting and fun at the same time. This program has also encouraged us to take time to do our own research, completing projects, timelines and craft activities using the material provided in this resource as a starting point.

Our favorites so far have been learning about the drums of Trinidad and Senegal. We cannot wait for more countries to be added and would especially like to see some about Australia, especially some of the unique instruments from the Aboriginal culture, as part of one of the upcoming series.

 -Product review by Stacey Jones, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017