Країнознавство США ІІ семестр - Плани-конспекти уроків - Ю. Г. Горбунова 2016

Дидактичні матеріали до спецкурсу «Країнознавство США». Плани-конспекти уроків
Practical training «Musical traditions of the USA»

Aims and objectives:

- to introduce and practise vocabulary, grammar;

- to develop skills in reading, listening and speaking;

- to gain knowledge and interest in the history of American music.



Greeting. Introducing the topic

T. Good morning! Today we’re going to work on the topic «Musical traditions of the USA».

Warm up

Task 1. Answer the questions.

1. What is the role of music in people’s life?

2. What music genres can you name?

3. How does pop differ from classical music?

2. What American music awards do you know? What is their role?

3. What is your favourite music style? Why?


Reading and speaking

Task 2. Read the text.


American music is the most unique and dynamic sounds in the world, but most of all rooted in the history of its people.

America dominates the world in many areas, but the one area of American domination that the world accepts the most is its music. American popular music forms Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock, R&B, RAP, and Hip-Hop, are loved, and studied world wide.

When the British Invasion of the 1960’s hit America, almost to a man each group or individual stated their love of American music as their primary influence. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Dave Clark 5, and many other British groups and individual performers, all claim American music as their source of inspiration. But the music they loved had its roots in the one true cultural melting pot of America, its music.

Rock and Roll grew from the melding of Black Rhythm and Blues with Country and Western. This mixture was so volatile that several southern congressmen went on record stating that Rock and Roll was a plot to destroy American values by encouraging race mixing. Originating in the Northern Urban centers in predominately black areas, Rock and Roll started out being labeled as rebellious, primitive, black music. Some white artists like Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper introduced Rock and Roll to the «mainstream» youth in the early 1950’s, and their influence along with others began the first true multi-racial and multi-cultural movement in America. It was legendary Elvis Presley bursting on the scene in the middle 1950’s that signaled that Rock and Roll had begun to become accepted as legitimate.

Rhythm and Blues (now called R and B) can trace its roots directly from Jazz, Ragtime, and the old black Gospel and Spiritual standards. The narrative form and rich beat of these forms also form the basis for today’s RAP and Hip-Hop. It is this music which forms the basis of the rhythms of modern American Popular Music.

From New Orleans Jazz, to the Motown Sound, to Urban Hip-Hop and Rap, black music forms the core of contemporary music in America. There is hardly a Rocker anywhere who can’t trace their music’s roots to the sound of black America. The emphasis on rhythm and storytelling has always been part of what made this music popular. Black music in America is arguably the most original and traceable music form in America. It reflects the sum of the Black experience in a way that is truly unique and American.

Modern Country and Western music has its roots in the folk songs of the rural south and the cowboy music popularized by the singing cowboys of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It was also influenced by many songs born of the strife and conflict of the impoverished miners and farmers or the depression era. Moving from the rural areas and focusing on southern urban centers it found a home on the radio nationwide predominantly from Nashville on the Grand Ole Opray. Finding a broader audience in post-war years and Country Music began to move from «hillbilly music» to more sophisticated and polished form that exist today. Rock-a-Billy, Country, and Bluegrass, all came from the simple form of storytelling by music.

The 1980’s and 1990’s saw a rebirth of the influence of the Latin rhythms in American Music. The Miami Sound and the Mexican influence swept into American Music. Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican artist in all forms added their music to the mix. Rap, Country, Rock, and R and B have all been touched by the Latin beat.

The media explosion of the 1950’s and 1960’s was fueled by Rock and Roll on Radio, Television, and the movies. The beat of Rock and Roll became the dominant force of American music, and the lines between the forms began to blend. Music forms are no longer segregated by race today as the forms have merged across the lines of culture in America. Today the effect of this mixing of music and culture can be seen everywhere in the culture. Jose Felicano sings the Doors «Light My Fire».

Whitney Houston soulfully sings a song written by Dolly Parton, Lionel Richey writes Country songs for Kenny Rogers. Ray Charles has had some of his greatest hits from Country and Western standards like «Your Cheatin’ Heart». The movie «Back to the Future» has its hero, Marty McFly’s a young white man who loves Rock music, have his life changed and in turn changes history by introducing Chuck Berry to the style of Music that made him (Berry) famous. Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, is a white Rap artist who crosses all lines. The Miami Sound Machine moves everyone to a big Salsa Party. The Sound of Motown becomes the turning point in American music history.

Today America’s Music does what it always has done, bring people together. In American Music every aspect of life, ethnicity, and culture is merged, mixed, and highlighted. The rich diversity of American culture and life is reflected in its lively beat filled rhythms. American music is the story of the country, a reflection of a nation alive with change, filled with curiosity, and lead by hope and excitement. As it continues to grow and change, including more and more of all that America is, American Music continues to attract and entice the whole world, because it is truly the best of all that is America.

Task 3. Complete the sentences.

1. American popular music forms are ... .

2. American music was the source of inspiration for ... .

3. Rock and Roll originated ... .

4. ... is the most original and traceable music form in America.

5. Modern Country and Western music was influenced by ... .

6. The Latin rhythms in American Music ... .

7. The media explosion ... .

8. The role of American Music is ... .

Task 4. Match the words to their definitions, then make up sentences using them.

1) invasion, n

a) a sudden outbreak or outburst; an explosion

2) inspiration, n

b) a specific kind of such a pattern, formed by a series of notes differing in duration and stress

3) volatile, adj

c) tending to violence; explosive

4) rebellious, adj

d) angry or violent struggle; conflict

5) bursting, n

e) any encroachment or intrusion

6) emphasis, n

f) unduly refined or cultured

7) rhythm, n

g) stimulation or thrill

8) strife, n

h) resisting treatment or control; unruly

9) sophisticated, adj

i) stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity

10) excitement, n

j) special importance or significance

Task 5. Divide the text into logical parts. Suggest appropriate title for each part. Use this plan to retell the text.

Reading and grammar

Task 6. Read the text and put the verbs into the right form.


America’s musical genres ... (to reflect) its melting pot of diverse ethnic and cultural traditions. The musical genres that ... (to rise) to the top of the American scene ... (to differ) from that of other countries by being an amalgamation of different influences, rather than having a single nationalist identity. Many of these genres even ... (to bleed) over ... (to create) distinctive sub-genres.


Jazz very often ... (to refer) to America’s single greatest contribution to the musical world, but it ... (to be) also a perfect example of the mingling of musical influences from outside borders. New Orleans jazz ... (to begin) as a combination of traditions learned by slaves from Africa and the Caribbean with French influences from the Cajuns and Creoles from French Canada. The leading instruments ... (to be) brass horns, drums and bass. Jazz ... (to produce) many sub-genres that ... (to include) swing, Big Band, be-bop and jazz fusion.

Country Music

Country music ... (to be) America’s other great contribution to the world’s music scene. Country music … (to be) also a good example of how American musical genres ... (to span) a dizzying array of influences. The music that can ... (to describe) as country ... (to influence) by African-American spirituals, Appalachian folk and even Hawaiian music in the form of its early dependence on the steel guitar and ukulele. As with jazz, country music also ... (to encompass) many different sub-genres that ... (to range) from country and western to bluegrass and to psychobilly.

Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm and Blues more commonly ... (to refer) to as R&B and it ... (to be) a particularly slippery genre ... (to describe). R&B can ... (to use) ... (to describe) music made by everyone from Aretha Franklin to ZZ Top. Pure R&B ... (to be) notable in the 1930s and 1940s as music with a very loud and tight drum and bass section over which jazz-influenced singers ... (to have) practically ... (to yell) ... (to hear). This music eventually ... (to transform) into soul music in the 1960s as exemplified by Franklin as well as Marvin Gaye and the Supremes. Rhythm and Blues in 2009 often ... (to punctuate) with hip-hop influences like rapping and beat-box accompaniment.


Rock music ... (to be) the predominant American music genre from the 1960s through the 1990s. Rock music ... (to be) still a vital part of the music scene in the country, but no longer ... (to dominate) the airwaves or the record charts in the face of rap, country music and tamer pop music. Perhaps no musical genre in American history ... (to produce) as many different sub-genres and it can even ... (argue) that hip-hop . (to be) really just a cross-genre that ... (to link) rock to R&B. Among the many sub-genres that unquestionably ... (to fall) under rock but that also may ... (to be) subject to other outside influences ... (to be) folk rock, punk rock, heavy metal and country rock.

Task 7. Match music genres with their definitions.

1. Jazz

a) popular music based on the folk style of the southern rural United States or on the music of cowboys in the American West

2. Country Music

b) a style of music developed by African Americans that combines blues and jazz, characterized by a strong back- beat and repeated variations on syncopated instrumental phrases

3. Rhythm and Blues

c) a form of popular music arising from and incorporating a variety of musical styles, especially rhythm and blues, country music, and gospel; it is characterized by electronically amplified instrumentation, a heavily accented beat, and relatively simple phrase structure

4. Rock

d) a style of music, native to America, characterized by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes and chord patterns and, more recently, a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom

Listening and speaking

Task 8. Listen to the text.


The Grammy award is the highest and most coveted honor in the recording industry. The award was originally named for a gramophone (record player) and is made in the shape of one. The name was shortened over time, from Gramophone to Grammy. It is the only award in music that pays homage to artistic achievement and technical and overall excellence, album sales and chart position notwithstanding.


The Recording Academy, whose members include musicians, music producers, engineers and assorted other recording officials, was formed in 1957. It eventually became the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Grammy Awards are determined by a membership vote of the Academy. Recording companies are not eligible to vote. There is speculation that back when rock’n’roll was considered to be a bad influence, the Grammy awards may have been launched as a way to promote more nonthreatening music. The best Rock and Roll Recording award was first presented in 1962.


The Grammy Awards continues to add categories. The industry presented 22 awards in 1957; in 2009, 110 awards were given. The Grammys are awarded for more than just music. Other categories include Spoken Word, Comedy, Musical Show, Film / TV / Visual Media and areas covering the technical aspects of music production.


The Recording Academy continues to expand its focus from recognizing musical achievement to such concerns as advocating for the arts, music education and philanthropy. The Academy now boasts a sister organization, the Latin Recording Academy, as well as the Grammy Foundation, the Grammy Museum (for those who wish to celebrate the history of the Grammys) and MusiCares, a relief organization for members of the music community that extends aid during times of personal, financial or medical emergencies.


There are three levels of membership in the Recording Academy: voting members, associate members and student members. Specific qualifications must be met regarding creative or production credits on commercially viable projects (for voting members); membership in a professional group that has a bearing on the music industry (for associate members); or enrollment in a university or trade school with the goal of eventually working in the music industry (for student members).


As the Recording Academy continues to diversify, it will continue to expand its focus on all areas of music. The number and scope of categories for which Grammy awards are presented continues to grow, and the Academy continues to honor new and different forms of entertainment. It also will continue honoring our musical heritage, speaking out about the importance of music education and helping those members of the music community who find themselves in need.

Task 9. Say whether these statements are TRUE or FALSE.

1. The Grammy award is the highest honor in the recording industry.

2. The award is made in the shape of a guitar.

3. The Recording Academy was formed in 1967.

4. The best Rock and Roll Recording award was first presented in 1963.

5. The Grammys are awarded only for music.

6. The Academy owns the Grammy Museum.

7. There are two levels of membership in the Recording Academy: voting members and associate members.

8. The Academy continues to honor new and different forms of entertainment.

Task 10. Complete the sentences.

1. The award was originally named for ... .

2. The members of the Recording Academy include ... .

3. There is speculation that ... .

4. In 2009, ... were given.

5. The Academy now boasts ... .

6. MusiCares is ... .

7. There are three levels of ... .

8. The number and scope of categories ... .

Task 11. Listen to the text and answer the question.

♦ What are the differences between the Grammy Awards and American Music Awards (another annual major American music awards show)?


While the Grammy Awards are awarded based on votes by members of the entertainment industry, the AMAs are determined by a poll of music buyers, and as a result is more of a representative of public opinion. The most established awards shows (AMAs, BMAs, and Grammy Awards) compete for prestige and television ratings, with the Grammy Awards nominally rewarding both. Stories of artists being pressured to participate in one awards show over the other have been fodder for tabloid gossip and controversy. The controversy was muted somewhat after the AMAs moved to late November, avoiding being in the same awards season as the Grammys.

The American Music Awards have nominations based on sales, airplay, activity on social networks, and video viewing and can nominate only the works released between 1 December of the previous year and 1 September of the current year. Before 2010 had nominations based only on sales and airplay and nominated every work, even if old. The Grammys have nominations based on vote of the Academy and only nominate a work from their eligibility period that changes often.

Reading and speaking

Task 12. Read and say what music fact is the funniest in your opinion and why.


The music industry is bursting with strange and funny facts about some of the most successful and well-known musicians in the world. For example, the name of the only member of ZZ Top without a beard is Frank Beard. And the harmonica is the world’s best-selling musical instrument. There are many other facts like these waiting to be discovered.

Longest Song Title

The longest song title in the world belongs to Swedish group Red- nex. It is a 305 characters long, including spaces: «The Sad But True Story Of Ray Mingus, The Lumberjack Of Bulk Rock City, And His Never Slacking Stribe In Exploiting The So Far Undiscovered Areas Of The Intention To Bodily Intercourse From The Opposite Species Of His Kind, During Intake Of All The Mental Condition That Could Be Derived From Fermentation». However, the title alone wasn’t enough to earn the track similar success to Rednex’s 1994 song «Cotton Eye Joe».

Holding a Note

Usher may be famous for his chart-topping R&B, but he has another musical talent: the artist holds the Star Search record for the longest note held by a child at 12.1 seconds. Usher was 13 at the time.

«I Write the Songs»

In 1976 American singer and songwriter Barry Manilow released a chart-topping song titled «I Write the Songs». Ironically, he didn’t write the song himself.


Britney Spears was offered Rihanna’s chart topper «Umbrella», but her label turned it down. Rihanna went on to take the song to the top spots in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also reached the top 10 in many other countries.

Hit Singles

Dianna Ross appeared on at least one hit single every year from 1964 to 1996, spanning 33 years.

Dancing Shoes

In 1979 the world’s largest disco was held at the Buffalo Convention Center in New York. Thirteen thousand people danced their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Longest Recorded Song

The longest recorded piece of music is by a band called Bull of Heaven. The play time of the song, «The Chosen Priest and Apostle of Infinite Space», is in excess of two months. A current project called «Longplayer» is attempting to create the world’s longest song. The song is set to last almost 1,000 years; plans are that it will come to its conclusion just before the year 3000.

Task 13. Read and discuss the quotations of famous Americans about music.

1. Music is the soundtrack of your life. (Dick Clark)

2. It’s always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there and I don’t question it. (Miles Davis)

3. Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them. (Louis Armstrong)

4. I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to. (Elvis Presley)

5. Music is either good or bad, and it’s got to be learned. You got to have balance. (Louis Armstrong)

6. Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something. (Frank Zappa)

7. Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don’t take it too seriously. (Henry Miller)

8. You are the music while the music lasts. (T. S. Eliot)



Task 14. Answer the questions.

1. Why is American music considered to be the most unique and dynamic sounds in the world?

2. What American Music Genres can you name? What are their peculiarities?

3. What American music awards can you name?

Home assignment

Choose a quotation and expound the point of view given in it. (Use Internet’s sites: en.wikipedia; www.wiki.com)

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