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FORUMS (Free and Open Resources for Undergraduate Music Study): Lesson kernel: Music around us

FORUMS is a collection of free and open online materials to support undergraduate general education music courses internationally.

Lesson kernel: Music, sound, or noise? Basis of opinions, evaluating information

Music is all around us.  Sound is all around us.  What makes sound music?  What makes music music?  What makes music musical? Does music require intentional sound (or even sound at all) to be considered music?  

How do opinions differ from evaluative judgments or points-of-view?  Do you form your opinions on fact? On observation? On perception?  On feeling? Do you accept others' opinions and information at face value, or do you consult the original source?

This page is an example of a lesson kernel--some ideas, questions, and topics that could form the basis of a lesson, activity, unit, or discussion.   What musics or sounds would you use to exemplify music/not music in teaching your particular students?  How might these vary worldwide?

Buskers or street musicians

Many urban areas have street musicians (or subway performers).  Do you notice them?  Do you stop and listen?  Do you put money in their hat or instrument case?  

The famed classical violinist Joshua Bell performed in a D.C. metro station as an experiment. Almost as interesting as this original story from the Washington Post is an inaccurate derivative account of the same story refuted by the Gene Weingarten (author of the original article). 

What can you learn from the discrepancies between the accounts (the original, and the anonymous retelling)?  How (and do) you fact-check material you read (whether printed on paper or on the internet)?  Are you careful about citing your sources?  In addition to defining primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, apply these definitions in your work.  Wikipedia has its advantages.  Do you also consult and evaluate the citations listed?  

How do you listen to music?

Music or noise?

Subway music project

Can cities make noises more musical? What do you think of this idea (Subway Symphony) for making NYC subway turnstiles musical