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.


Stream Movie
- +

Product Description

Film runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Film rating: PG-13.

Video Librarian has a review of this film.

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) – Instruments of the World PDF below is the PowerPoint referenced in this lesson.
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 referenced below work well with the Instruments of the World PDF, which is also the PowerPoint Presentation 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:

Wu Man: Finding a Balance playing the Pipa:

Kayhan Kalhor, of the Silk Road Ensemble, talks about the Kamancheh and begins playing the instrument around 5:40 in the video:

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:

Preview Curriculum Guide

Preview Lesson 2 Powerpoint PDF

Preview Instruments of the World PDF

To download these free resources, simply:
1. Click “Add to Cart” (top of page). 2. Click cart icon and select “checkout”. 3. Download your PDF(s).
Sustainable Development Goals
Journeys in Film supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

This curriculum guide connects to the following United Nations SDG. Learn more about teaching with SDGs:

Royal blue background with white 16 in the upper left hand corner. Text beside it, white, reads: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Central image, all white, is a dove with an olive branch in its beak, legs resting on a gavel.

You may also like…