Teaching on a Reservation. help?
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October 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm #14652
I’m a first year teacher looking for a little help. My focus was instrumental music, I was born and raised in Philly and now I am working on a reservation in North Dakota. Needless to say, I’m a bit out of my element. I am familiar with Native American Plains flutes and the music associated; however, the area in which I am working does not use flutes, just drums and vocal. This is a small k-12 school that hasn’t had a music teacher in a couple years. My hopes are to get a band started for next semester but in the meantime, I’m having difficulty finding something that the high school classes want to learn and are willing to work at.
I’m looking for ideas/sites where I could find lyrics and/or music for Native American Round Dance songs and vocal technique.
Any other ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.November 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm #14697
A good resource to check out might be Moving Within the Circle by Bryan Burton. http://www.westmusic.com/1002410-print-music-books/m1030-general-classroom-music/m1030m-world-multi-cultural/m1030m17-native-american/moving-within-the-circle.htm It includes music and dance instructions for several social dances including round dances. There also also sections on instruments (including I think how to make some of the instruments) and traditional legends. There are examples of music from several regions of the country. Burton is an expert on Native American music and is of Native American descent (Choctaw, if I remember correctly… he was one of my professors in grad school, and I’ve also been to a couple workshops he’s led–he talked about learning some songs from his grandmother.).November 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm #14777
Bryan Burton is indeed a wonderful resource for Native American music. He has contributed many articles to General Music Today. Visit the NAfME periodicals page (http://musiced.nafme.org/resources/periodicals), scroll down to General Music Today, and follow the links to the GMT page on the Sage Publications website. In doing a search on “Native American,” I found several articles and suggested resources.
Bryan Burton also contributed to the book Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education, Vol. 2 (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781607095422) for the chapter “Music of Native Peoples of North America.” In addition to a table of Regional Style Traits covering all of the U.S., an overview of instruments, a description of the Intertribal Powwow, and information on Contemporary Native American Music, lesson plans address the following tribes: Cherokee, Nanticoke, Apache, Iroquois, and Hopi. It also has an extensive Discography, with a section on the Northern Plains (Crow Grass Dance and Owl Dance, Intertribal Powwow Songs, Mandan-Hidatsa Songs, Plains Chippewa/Metis Music from Turtle Mountain, and Rabbit Songs of the Lakota–many from Canyon Records). He also mentions some websites (e.g., Lakota–www.olc.com; Hidatsa–www.mhanation.com).
Linda Brown, NAfME StaffNovember 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm #14789
There could be a great opportunity to reach out to the community here and see if there are any community figures or elders, or even older students, with knowledge of the community’s musical traditions that you could be bringing in to your classes, to help teach local traditions to the kids, and teach you along the way as well. I love that you want to connect with their culture, but if I were in your shoes I would definitely try to find ways to bring your own expertise and experience in as well. Don’t be afraid to share what you love about music and what you know how to teach well!November 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm #14844
I want to reiterate that the Bryan Burton book is wonderful. I don’t recall the area that the book focuses on, but that’s an important issue – all Native American music is not the same. But it sounds like you knew that…
The idea to ask kids and parents is also a great one. You could check with your principal, who might know a parent who would be particularly approachable. Good luck!
Council for General Music Member-at-largeNovember 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm #15113
Thank you so much for your suggestions! The Mandan-Hidatsa songs are exactly what I needed!
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