Diritti in Musica - Rights in Music

Type of tool: 
60-90 min
Topics addressed: 
Latin America
Intercultural learning

This tool is about music and interculture (Latin America and Ande's region) and aims to teach with non-formal methodologies - i.e. through the use of songs, rhythms, dances and presentation of folk instruments - music and human rights at the same time.


The general educational and didactic goals of this tool are can be put in the areas of:
Knowing (theoretical knowledge): music as an element of social cohesion, the language of music in different cultures; music as a description of a culture/society, its basic elements and its contradictions; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; foundations and elements of music theory (rhythm in particular); geography, history and intercultural situation of north-South relations in the world
Knowing how to do (practical knowledge): listening to music; cooperation in group play / sing / dance in a group; build musical instruments modeled on the traditional ones
Knowing how to be (knowledge of the self): express my feelings; listen to my feelings; solidarity and respect for peoples and cultures wrongly considered in lower position compared to our one; elements of knowledge and relationship with migrant communities in the territory.


At the foundation of this activity there are some methodological reflections:
- The learning-by-doing: learn how to play rhythms by building a musical instrument and then using it
- Cooperative learning in group: learning songs and dances in group, coordinating and integrating each other
- Intercultural learning: learning through musical traditional foundations of one other different culture
- Learning music in a more strictly didactical way: the "ethnical" music, its rhythms, its scales (identities, commingling and differences with "classical" music and the commercial one)

Step by step process: 

We will propose a quick summary (unfortunately not with the whole educational/didactcal insights) of the entire methodology.
The activity begins with listening to an instrumental piece, which has the function of drawing attention (about 3 '). It then continues with the presentation of the various local instruments and their classification (about 10 '). It is then introduced the theme of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and are taught the first two songs (a song and a dance), also debating their significance in terms of Human Rights (about 20 '). Rhythms of the first 2 tracks are then transcribed and we ask participants to play them first with voice and hands, then with hands and feet, then with instruments (10 '). Then comes to the construction of musical instruments with which to play the same rhythms (about 30 '). On the end we go teaching the last track (two if there is time, the second a dance), with the same modalities of the first two (about 20 ').

Materials and resources: 

We'd need, when possible, several drums (3 or 4; they're called in Europe "Napoleonic drums", as here: and called in the Ande "Bombos", as here: We have difficulties to move our one by plane...


It is expected that the participants at the end of the experience learn in general to use this activity as a tool for intercultural education even more strictly didactical purposes (if teachers) and for coming together and mutual understanding in groups (if entertainers and/or educators). The work presented here can also be considered as a good practice to be implemented in another musical tradition, highlighting the aspects of identity and difference with the so-called "Western mainstream culture", through other expressions of traditional culture (fairy tales and legends, recipes and everything else you can find), as well.


The activity has the advantage of being adaptable to an audience differentiated by age, as indicated above, and also to provide useful insights to broaden our vision of different aspects both in purely academic/didactic and not. One limitation is the need of the presence of one / two musical entertainers with specific skills (of Latin American music, in our case). At this limit we have tried to avoid producing his own CD containing the songs used for the tools in order to facilitate teachers. As a fast evaluation with the children in classes we used "smile-o-meter", as well, a simple tool that can give you an immediate perception of what the class learnt (

Notes for further use: 

Try to adapt to a different musical tradition :-)

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