We know it can be a challenge to infuse culturally diverse music into your lessons. That’s why we’re so excited about Musical Explorers, a free music curriculum from Carnegie Hall. It’s a one-stop shop for all the resources you need to bring cultural diversity to your classroom—through real artists who share authentic music from their cultures.

We talked to music teachers around the country, and here’s what they had to say:

Musical Explorers Program

“This is a fantastic resource that exposes kids to styles that they may otherwise never hear.” —Barbara Rollins, teacher, Orlando, FL

Musical Explorers currently includes four programs with three units in each. Every unit spotlights a different genre of culturally diverse music, such as Greek folk, Native American, jazz, Haitian, and more.

Images of musicians - culturally diverse music

Access all the programs here.

Videos and Lesson Plans

“The videos are well done, and the artists have beautiful voices, instruments, and personalities.” —Katie Kaddatz, teacher, Cedar Falls, IA

Each unit starts with a Meet the Artist video that introduces students to professional musicians from different cultures. The artists share where they come from, why they make music, and what inspires them as artists.

Image of woman with hat - Culturally Diverse Music

Watch this Meet the Artist video here.

Each unit also includes two lesson plans with accompanying videos that each teach a different song. During the videos, the musicians guide students through the process of learning the songs. They also teach musical concepts and explore the culture.

two musicians clapping - culturally diverse music

Watch this lesson video here.

Audio Tracks

“I generally do songs for lots of different cultures, but I struggle to provide authentic examples of them, and this program does that.” —Stephanie Porter, teacher, Hartselle, AL  

From classics like “Oh Freedom” to lesser-known but equally catchy tunes like “Allahoo,” each lesson also includes a selection of audio tracks. Plus there are printables that feature song lyrics and sheet music. 

Screen shot of audio track playlist and headshot of musician - culturally diverse music

Listen to these audio tracks here.

Student Activities

“This is a nice way to help students connect with the featured musicians, while also emphasizing that they are musicians, too!” —Corynn Nordstrom, teacher, Menomonee Falls, WI

There are several hands-on student activities that accompany each lesson. Some examples include creating DIY instruments and composing your own dance rhythm.

three printable worksheets - culturally diverse music

Get these student activities here.

Concert Experience 

“I love the idea that ALL students can experience the concert, not just students lucky enough to be close in proximity or who have the financial means to travel to concerts, but ALL students.” —Corynn Nordstrom, teacher, Menomonee Falls, WI

Each program ends with a concert experience featuring the musicians from each of the three units. These on-demand videos were taped live at Carnegie Hall, where the artists, each representing a different musical genre and culture, came together to create music. It’s truly an inspirational experience—especially for students who may not live close enough to a live concert venue or are not able to afford tickets.

crowd of children seated in a concert hall - culturally diverse music

Watch this Concert Experience here.

Professional Development

“I tell my students that I am always learning about music, too, and this program helps me to learn more authentically.” —Corynn Nordstrom, teacher, Menomonee Falls, WI

Not every teacher has been formally trained in every genre of music. Yet we want to authentically represent all of the music we teach our students. That’s why these professional development videos are such a great resource. There is a video to accompany each unit. The same musical artists featured in the student videos provide teachers the background and confidence they need to guide their students through the lessons, songs, and activities. 

musicians performing on stage - Culturally Diverse Music

Watch this professional development video here.

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