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Exploring World Music Styles

Our students come from backgrounds with rich musical traditions. All you need to do is tap some students when they are listening to to their portable tape player, and you are likely to get a sample of anything from hardcore rock from China to the soundtrack from the latest Hollywood film soundtrack.

Most major music stores have a World or International music section filled with folk and traditional recordings from many countries. However, if you really want to know what is happening now, ask your students to share a few songs with the class.

Here are several possible activities based on the theme of World music:

  • Somebody  likes to bring in World music samplers, and play them in class. She has her students listen to the recordings, guess where the music originates from, try to name the instruments used, discuss the mood the music conveys, and write about the feelings they have while listening. These activities can be done with any level of ESL class.
  • Another good activity asks students to present a favorite artist, or music style to the class. Their presentation should include a sample of the music on tape or CD to be played in class. It is a good closing activity for the class.


      Presentations can be written, and then read to the class. They can include the following info:
    • A short biography, and discography of the musical artist they want to present.
    • When they first heard it, and where one would be likely hear it in the country it originates from.
    • The reason the student likes this music.
    • The type of instruments used by the artists.
    • A translation of the song lyrics.
    • Exact directions on where someone can obtain the music if they are interested obtaining it.

    /The article includes the material of the American Methodists/

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