Fourth grade students enjoyed a global music treat when music teacher Maria Foustalieraki arranged for a recent visit by three professional musicians from the world music group Lamajamal, who performed a range of traditional Greek and Egyptian music.
On the day of the event, 4th grade students filled a dimly lit Harris Center and sat attentively as the visiting musicians introduced themselves and their wide array of instruments. The group performed a diverse selection of traditional music pieces from the Greek and Egyptian cultures, including the classic “Leylet Hob” by Egypt's most famous singer, Uum Kulthum (or Oum Kalsoum), as a slideshow of regional photographs, illustrations and artwork served as backdrop. The presentation was engaging, interactive and provided our student audience with helpful and interesting explanations and demonstrations of the music and instruments as well as the language and cultural/historical connections of these regions.
This event brought to life music from the Greek and Egyptian cultures that our 4th graders have been studying in music class and in their classroom curriculum, an idyllic culmination to this interdisciplinary study. In addition to giving our students a unique opportunity to make deeper curricular connections and ask questions, this experience also helped to create meaningful relationships between our students and a world music ensemble from the Chicagoland area.
Given its success, this initial experience is likely the beginning of a new musical tradition in the 4th grade curriculum.