I have always been fascinated with maps and all the different places on maps. When I was young my parents gave me a globe that had a light on the inside. I would play a game where I would spin the globe and then without looking I would place my finger on the spinning globe to stop it. Wherever it landed, that's where I was "going". I can't remember how many places I "went" on those trips around the globe, but I would always imagine what it would be like to visit those countries, cities and oceans.
Imagination was my first form of transportation!
Maps: Ways to experience the world
Maps are amazing ways to look at the world. Each map is the product of its creator, the creator's perspective and the creator's objectives. Some maps are political documents, some are economic. How many different kinds of map can you think of? Probably the first world map that comes to mind is the standard GeoPolitical map that we see in classrooms. Everything on that map is divided by national ownership and borders.
But don't confuse the territory with the Map
In order to conceive, design and complete a map many decisions must be made. What kind of information is the map trying to convey? A map describing topography, climate, freedom of the press (see above right) or social networks (see below right) will delineate borders very different from the standard geo-political classroom map we grew up with. Around the borders where lines are drawn there may be many questions, disagreements and other choices that could have been made.
This is where it gets interesting!
Above: A political map that highlights press freedom
Below: An economic map that highlights a product's global reach
The GeoMusical World Map
For the purposes of Sounds Around The World, the Geo-Musical map is both a Cultural map and a intermediary learning tool that connects the student to the larger, more detailed and oftentimes cumbersome geo-political map.
Sounds Around The World breaks down and highlights the globe by cultural and musical relationships into eight bite sized "Geo-Musical" continents. For students, this chunking, as it is called in psychology, helps the student to conceive of this vast world in cultural relationships first, and then distinguish them by their geo-political circumstances after a cultural relationship has been introduced.
Features of the GeoMusical Map
- Represents the world in 8 vibrant colors.
- Divides each continent into multiple sub-regions.
- Lists all countries.
- Laminated for multiple uses.
- The GeoMusical Map acts as an intermediary between the student and the geo-political map when used with the music provided by Sounds Around The World.
Understanding Culture is Understanding the World
How do we cross physical, cultural and political boundaries to achieve understanding? Why does music help to cross divides of space, time, politics, religions? These are age old questions.
As humans, we best connect with others by sharing our common and diverse cultural interests and expressions. Through exposure to the vibrant cultural contrasts that exist in our world, we may begin to understand the world in which we dwell.
Sounds Around The World doesn't answer these questions for the students and teachers, instead it offers a tool to begin the conversation.
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