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Ben Harper – “Instruments and Music From Around the World”

For over 60 years, Ben Harper’s family has owned and operated the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA. In this video, Ben, his mother, Ellen, and staff members, Henry and Jerry use their incredible collection to show the various types of instruments and sounds from around the world.

EDUCATOR RESOURCES

Subject: For over 60 years, Ben Harper’s family has owned and operated the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA. In this video, Ben, his mother, Ellen, and staff members, Henry and Jerry use their incredible collection to show the various types of instruments and sounds from around the world.

Ben and co provide an accessible introduction to ethnomusicology (the study of the music of different cultures) by breaking the instruments down into four categories: 1) Membranophones – Drums; 2) Idiophones – Percussion; 3) Chordophones – Strings; and 4) Aerophones – Wind.

At the end of the video, Ben and co. perform his song “With My Own Two Hands”. Students are encouraged to think of different ways they can improve the world with their own two hands (plant a tree, pick up litter, etc).

Age/Skill-Level Recommendation: Intended for beginner to intermediate level students, ages nine and up. No prior music knowledge is required.

Topics Discussed: Instruments, Ethnomusicology, Music History, World-Music, Folk Music, Activism, Drums, String Instruments, Wind Instruments, Percussion Instruments.

Recommended Use: We recommend this video be used to teach students the basics of ethnomusicology and instrumentation.

Discussion Questions

Before the Video

  • What does the word ethnomusicology mean?
  • What exactly is an “instrument”? Define that word.

After the Video

  • Name the four different instrument types defined in the video and give a brief definition.
  • What was your favorite instrument in the video? Why did you like it?
  • Try using just the materials in your home to make an instrument. Can you make each of the four different types of instruments?

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