Austin Road Music Teacher Elizabeth Day challenged her students to combine the music they enjoy with critical thinking and research skills they had developed throughout the year, “The musician's timeline was a project that Austin Road Elementary 4th and 5th graders started by sharing with the class who their favorite artist is, and then adding pictures, videos, and music into a YouTube-type template and being prepared to describe their favorite music and why they liked it.”
Part of the research included reviewing infographics of how different musicians are connected, in formats similar to family trees or a six degrees of separation-type layouts. Students were then asked to think about gaining information in a casual, social setting.
"I asked my students to picture themselves at a backyard barbecue or a party at your favorite artist's house and to describe the kind of music they thought would be playing," Day said. “This required researching who their favorite artist listened to, and then we took it a step further. I challenged them to take it to the next level, having them hypothesize who would their favorite artist's favorite artist listen to, and on and one for several ‘degrees.’ They also had to be prepared to defend their choices.
The project was both eye-opening and fun for both students and Day. “ For me as their teacher, it gave me a way to connect to the music that is relevant to them and actually learn of some new artists and bands I did not know about. For the students, especially those who said they did not listen to music, it inspired conversations about where they might hear music with something they enjoy, like movies or video games.”
Day described this as opening them up to a new perspective on music in their lives. “By the end of the timeline project, students were finding that many of their favorite artists, although they were different, seemed to be influenced by the same people in history.”
Check out these timelines her class created!