The Music of Strangers

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers as they gather in locations around the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. Through moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind.

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Curriculum Guide

Lesson 1: Yo-Yo Ma and the Intersection of Cultures (Music, Language Arts)
Lesson 2: Interpreting the Silk Road Through the Graphic Arts (Visual Arts)
Lesson 3: Everything Old Is New Again: The Chinese Cultural Revolution and Its Legacy (History, Social Studies, Language Arts)
Lesson 4: The Ongoing Syrian Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis (History/Social Studies, Language Arts and Literacy, Music, Visual Arts)
Lesson 5: The Iranian Revolution (History/Social Studies, Music)
Lesson 6: Preserving Culture in a Globalized World (History/Social Studies, Music)
Lesson 7: Ancient Instruments, New Music (Music)
Lesson 8: Viewing a Documentary Film: Developing Film Literacy (Film Literacy, English Language Arts) – The Glossary of Film Terms linked below is useful for this lesson.

Teach about world music and world instruments through the Silk Road Ensemble.

The Youtube videos work well with the PDF of the PowerPoint Presentation that was initially created for Lesson 7 of the full curriculum guide for The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road. Use the PDF and these videos together (videos in full or portions) to explore world music with your students!

Silkroad Home Sessions with Hadi Eldebek playing the Oud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0HhJSAY6TE.

Wu Man: Finding a Balance playing the Pipa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwQaeRRj2lE.

Kayhan Kalhor, of the Silk Road Ensemble, talks about the Kamancheh and begins playing the instrument around 5:40 in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH-NHAl_xao.

Khabiel features a solo and key instrumental segments performed by Cristina Pato playing the Gaita Gallega, featured in the PDF/Powerpoint. The video of this performance is just under 4 minutes and is a great example of what makes the Silk Road Ensemble so special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eZqnItXpQw.

Preview Curriculum Guide

Preview Lesson 2 Powerpoint PDF

Preview Instruments of the World PDF

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