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Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide  
Getting Started With This Guide  
Outline of the Study Guide  
Study Guide Summary  
Study Unit I Defining Terms  
Study Unit II Fieldwork Basics  
Study Unit III Discovering the Obvious: Our Lives as "The Folk"  
Study Unit IV The State of Our Lives: Being a Louisiana Neighbor  
Study Unit V Oral Traditions--Swapping Stories  
Study Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape  
Study Unit VII Material Culture-The Stuff of Life  
Study Unit VIII The Worlds of Work and Play  
Study Unit IX The Seasonal Round and Life Cycles  
Educator's Links  
Educator's Guide Glossary  
Educator's Guide Credits  
Educator's Opportunities For Professional Development  
Join The Community
Louisiana Folklife website Homepage  
Louisiana Folklife Program Home  
Louisiana's Living Traditions: Articles, Photos and Virtual Exhibits about Louisiana Folklife  


Unit VI Outline

Introduction - Louisiana's Musical Landscape

Lesson 1: Music Around the State: Sound and Place

Lesson 2: Listening Logs

Lesson 3: Generational Music Communities

Lesson 4: Moving to Music

Lesson 5: Music Is Business

Lesson 6: Louisiana's Legendary Musicians

Unit VI Resources





Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape

Lesson 2 Listening Logs


I remember the first old radio we had in our home. At first it had earphones--that was the only way you could listen to it--was plug the earphone in it. Then later on somebody got smart and invented a speaker, and it looked like a great big tuba that you see in these brass bands. Boy, they really had something then, but you still had that wolf howl when somebody down the road was tuning his set in; boy, it would knock your ears off--oooooh! That'd go on for hours, and static! You never heard as much static in your life as it was on the radio. And the only stations you could get really was at night, and then WLW Cincinnati, and then you had WSM in Nashville which everybody favored on Saturday night because of the Grand Old Opry.

--Eddie Raxdale, North Louisiana String Band fiddler, Rapides Parish

Grade Level


Curriculum Areas

English Language Arts, Music, Social Studies


Purpose of Lesson

Students hone their listening skills, develop tools for approaching research into their own musical traditions and those of community and state, and learn different ways of recording data.


Lesson Objectives/Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Foundation Skills

1. Students improve their listening skills and ability to analyze sounds and music.

M-AP-E3 Demonstrate awareness of where and how music is used in daily life and within the community.

M-AP-M5 Discuss the question "What is music?" and express intuitive reactions and personal responses to various works.

ELA-4-M5 Listening and responding to a wide variety of media (e.g., music, TV, film, speech). (1, 3, 4, 5)

2. Students investigate how their community and regional soundscapes contribute to a sense of place and to local history.

M-AP-M2 Recognizes that concepts of beauty differ by culture and the taste varies from person to person.

M-AP-E2 Recognize and respond to concepts of beauty and taste in the ideas and creations of others through the study of music.

M-HP-E1 Recognize musical styles representative of various cultures.

CA-4M-M3 Recognizing and identifying music as to function, purpose, and appropriateness as related to celebrations, ceremonies, and other events. (3, 4, 5)

M-AP-M1 Understand and apply expanded music vocabulary to describe aesthetic qualities of musical compositions.

H-1D-M6 Examining folklore and describing how cultural elements have shaped our state and local heritage. (1, 3, 4)

3. Students learn to design different types of research tools.

ELA-7-M1 Using comprehension strategies (e.g., sequencing, predicting, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, making inferences, determining main ideas, summarizing, recognizing literary devices, paraphrasing) in contexts. (1, 2, 4)

D-1-M Systematically collecting, organizing, describing, and displaying data in charts, tables, plots, graphs, and/or spreadsheets. (1, 2, 3, 4)

P-2-M Describing and representing relationships using tables, rules, simple equations, and graphs. (1, 3, 4)

A-3-M Representing situations and number patterns with tables, graphs, and verbal and written statements, while exploring the relationships among these representations (e.g., multiple representations for the same situation). (1,4)

4.Students acquire new data analysis skills.

A-4-M Analyzing tables and graphs to identify relationships exhibited by the data and making generalizations based upon these relationships. (2, 3, 4)

D-2-M Analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, drawing inferences, and making estimations, predictions, decisions, and convincing arguments based on organized data (e.g., analyze data using concepts of mean, median, mode, range, random samples, sample size, bias, and data extremes). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

D-3-M Describing informal thinking procedures (e.g., solving elementary logic problems using Venn diagrams, tables, charts, and/or elementary logic operatives to solve logic problems in real-life situations; reach valid conclusions in elementary logic problems involving "and, or, not, if/then"). (2, 3)

ELA-5-M2 Locating and evaluating information sources (e.g., print materials, databases, CD-ROM references, Internet information, electronic reference works, community and government data, television and radio resources, audio and visual materials). (1, 3, 4, 5)


Time Required

2-3 class periods



Materials required to establish listening and resource centers or archives will vary in depth; or you may choose simply to have students keep listening logs or build larger music portfolios. If you set up a classroom center, consider tape players with headphones, acquiring recordings, materials for student listening logs and portfolios such as folders or binders, paper, perhaps software, commercial and personal cassettes and CDs. You may also include a tape recorder with handheld mike, CD player, VCR, videos, and publications. See the Louisiana Music Recordings: A Select List of Recordings, Louisiana Folklife Recording Series, and unit resources for good examples. If your students will be doing fieldwork, you may need digital cameras, audio recorders, or video recorders in addition to notepads and pencils as well as appropriate fieldwork forms. Print out and duplicate any worksheets or rubrics that you will be using from Unit II.


Technology Connections

Internet Resources

Louisiana's Legendary Musicians: A Select List

American Routes

folkstreams.net / Dry Wood, by Les Blank

The Creole State: An Introduction to Louisiana Traditional Culture, by Nicholas R. Spitzer

Louisiana Folklife Recording Series

Louisiana Music Recordings: A Select List of Recordings

Louisiana State Museum / New Orleans Jazz Club Vintage Radio Broadcasts

Louisiana Voices Traditional Music Examples

Red Hot Jazz Archive

River of Song

Student Worksheets

Music in Everyday Life

Sample Listening Logs

Listening Log - Community Soundscapes

Listening Log - Music Around Me

Internet Music Worksheet

Found Poem - Found Song

Assessment Tools

Listening Logs Rubric


Evaluation Tools/Opportunities


1. Listening Log - Community Soundscapes
2. Listening Log - Music Around Me
3. Listening Logs


1. Listening Logs Rubric


1. Listening Logs
2. Found Poems and Found Songs
3. Collections of music and samples
4. "Sound Collage" audio recordings


Background Information for the Teacher

Young people seem to possess an intuitive need to vocalize, sometimes even in nonsense syllables. They sing, whistle, hum, babble, wiggle, dance, beat out rhythms, and sometimes explode in complicated movement. Listen carefully to students in the halls and on the playground, and you'll hear song parodies, popular music riffs, rapping, hymns, and nonsense noises. They possess innate fondness and talent for music and movement, yet ask them where music or dance occur in their own daily lives, and they may pause. They will probably overlook the songs in their heads as well as movie soundtracks, radio, and video games.

In this lesson, students will be asked to complete two listening logs: the first one will hone their listening skills by asking them to tune into the "community soundscape." By logging what they hear in some part of the day, students will grow more aware of the musical sounds that are around them in everyday life, their personal aesthetics, and local music styles and tastes. In various settings and folk groups, all of us in a day might sing along with an oldie on the car radio, sing "Happy Birthday," hum an old hymn, attend a classical music concert, or go line dancing. Young people are no different and experience music every day.

The second listening log asks students to tune into the traditional music around them, specifically the music described in Unit VI Lesson 1. Their age, gender, family, religion, ethnicity, language, and region are among the factors influencing the folk songs they sing, how they count rhythm, where they encounter folk music.

Because of the visual emphasis in contemporary society and popular culture, students' abilities to sit still and just listen might need improvement. Incorporate some strategies from Improving Listening Skills into this lesson as students begin to consider musical landscapes and practice some listening strategies yourself. Sit for five minutes at school or home and just listen to the sounds in the environment. Write down sounds that you hear. What is the soundscape of your neighborhood? School? What was your childhood soundscape? What are your own music and dance influences, preferences, and talents?

To Prepare

Think about how much we take listening for granted and try to concentrate on overlooked sounds and music that you heard as a child or might hear today. Look at the Sample Listening Logs Worksheet in this lesson to see if it is appropriate for your students. Decide whether you want to develop or improve a student listening center and begin to acquire resources. Students, their families, and the parent teacher association may be of help. Talk with your school music teacher and media specialist, who may already have resources in the school library or know of used equipment or small grant opportunities from local media, for example. If you want students to develop soundscape portfolios, gather supplies they will need such as folders and audio recording equipment.


4th and 8th Grade Activities

1. Discuss the role that music plays in your students' everyday lives. They may use the worksheet Music in Everyday Life to answer the following questions. What different kinds of music are important to them? Where do they hear it? What kinds of instruments or vocals are involved? How might social music differ from religious music or patriotic music? Do they sing or hum or whistle while working and playing? Do they hear others do so? Do they listen to special music around holidays? Do they make rhythmic noises with hands, mouth, feet, or other parts of the body? Do they make up songs? What musical sound do they hear in nature? Discuss answers in groups or as a class as they discover differences and similarities.

2. Distribute copies of the Listening Log - Community Soundscapes worksheets for students to take notes as they listen. Complete one or more sample entries together to help students understand what they should be listening for. Have students listen to classroom sounds for a few minutes and record what they hear on the worksheet.

3. To prepare students for careful listening, choose one or more of the strategies in Improving Listening Skills. (Remember that listening well is a skill.) For examples, students should take notes on notebook paper about a short audio recording. This might be an excerpt of a book, sounds of nature, or music. Another option is to listen to the Louisiana Voices Traditional Music Examples and have students identify what instruments they hear.

Technology Option: Students can use the Internet Music Worksheet for easy access to music on the Internet or the websites listed on Louisiana's Legendary Musicians: A Select List. They can record their reflections about what they hear in the spaces provided and identify new webpages they find in the blank boxes.

4. Discuss the data that students have recorded. How might they organize their findings? How would they design listening logs to organize information as they hear it and to note questions and observations? Ask students to refer to their Listening Log - Community Soundscapes worksheet and discuss whether it meets their needs. Then distribute copies of the Sample Listening Logs worksheet and follow the directions. They will also need copies of the Listening Log - Music Around Me worksheet for this activity, and can refer to the Data Charts worksheet for more ways to display data. They may work in groups and may want to adapt one for their own use. Use the Listening Logs Rubric to assess students' final products.

Technology Option: Students can create their own listening logs for organizing and displaying data. Allow time for experimentation and multiple options for organizing the data, as well as opportunities for group work.

5. Ask students to use the listening logs they designed in a homework assignment. Students can also use copies of the Listening Log - Community Soundscapes or Listening Log - Music Around Me worksheets for the assignment. Examples include:

  1. Listen to two or more local AM or FM radio stations or online sources listed in Technology Connections above and record how many songs, ads, news spots, farm reports, languages, or traffic and weather updates they hear in 10 or 15 minutes; assign longer periods for older students.

  2. Record sounds they hear at two different times, such as after school, during dinner preparations, bedtime, or when they first wake up.

  3. Take notes on a recording of traditional Louisiana music from the classroom listening center, library, home collection, or online sources listed in Technology Connections above.

6. As a class or in small groups, compare listening logs. What data is most interesting? Students may create a chart or graph of some categories of data. Use the criteria from the Listening Logs Rubric to evaluate students' work.

7. Extend the listening log activities over a period of time, perhaps for the length of this unit or even a semester. At various times give students listening assignments that relate to your curriculum. They may keep their logs in personal portfolios or a class notebook in the listening center.


4th Grade Explorations and Extensions

1. Ask a friend or older person to keep a listening log to compare with your own. You may decide what to ask them to listen for and how long you want them to keep the log.

2. Team up with another class in your school or in another region of the state to keep and compare listening logs.

3. Choose your ten favorite word strings or word combinations from your listening logs. Listen carefully to a selection of music and describe what you are hearing, using your word strings or combinations to create a poem. Share your poems within small groups or as a class. The Found Poem - Found Song worksheet could be used for this activity.


8th Grade Explorations and Extensions

1. Choose one of your listening logs as a starting point for a visual art lesson. What image does a particular sound or song inspire, for example? Or what visual landscape expresses your personal soundscape? Draw or paint a picture about one of these topics.

2. Expand the variety of things that you are listening for. See how many different languages, types of music, media, and so on you can collect. Edit fieldwork audio recordings to create your own or a class community sound collage.


Unit VI Resources

Unit VI Outline


National Endowment for
            the Arts.

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