Welcome to Musical Explorers! This curriculum is designed to connect students in grades K–2 to New York City’s rich and diverse musical community as they build fundamental music skills through listening, singing, and moving to songs from all over the world. During the next year, you and your students will meet six New York City–based artists who each represent a different musical genre and cultural tradition; many have reinvented these deeply rooted traditions to make them their own. Together, you will learn songs and dances that you will perform along with the artists during culminating interactive concerts at the end of each semester.
The Musical Explorers Resources are broken out by units below. Download curriculum pages and listen to audio tracks.
Click here to view the full set of resources for this season, including the complete student and teacher guide and full audio playlist. Additionally, visit carnegiehall.org/MELinks to view more resources related to this curriculum.
Michael Daves has been called “a leading light of the New York bluegrass scene” by The New York Times. He has worked with Chris Thile, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka, and Rosanne Cash in addition to performing solo and with his own band. Michael’s 2011 debut album with Thile, Sleep with One Eye Open, received a 2011 Grammy Award nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. His latest album, Orchids and Violence, features 12 bluegrass tunes, each recorded in two versions: acoustic and electric.
Qian Yi began her study of classical kunqu (Kunnan opera) at the Shanghai Chinese Opera School at age 10. Since coming to the US, she has performed classical and contemporary Chinese theater at the Lincoln Center Festival, where she played the lead role in the 19-hour opera Peony Pavilion; the Kennedy Center; and Spoleto Festival. The New York Times has called Qian Yi, “China’s reigning opera princess.” In 2008, Qian Yi made her western opera debut in the title role of The Bonesetter’s Daughter at the San Francisco Opera. In 2013, she created and produced a contemporary Chinese musical called Dreaming of the Phoenix for the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery.
Alsarah was born in Khartoum, Sudan, and came to the US at age 12. She plays a style of music she calls East-African retro-pop, which draws on Sudanese and other East African traditions. She and her band, Alsarah and The Nubatones, released their debut album, Silt, in 2014. Alsarah also works with The Nile Project, whose debut release, Aswan, was named one of the top five must-hear international albums of 2013 by NPR.
Born in Trinidad, Etienne Charles is a trumpet player, composer, and bandleader whose music fuses jazz with his Afro-Caribbean roots, encompassing a rainbow of musical dialects in an improvisation-fused setting. He has recorded three albums, including Kaiso, which features the music of calypso legends Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow, and Roaring Lion. As a sideman, Etienne has performed with numerous jazz and calypso luminaries. In June 2012, Etienne was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and the world. He received a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. He is an assistant professor of jazz trumpet at Michigan State University.
Zulal, which means “clear water,” is an a cappella trio that features Teni Apelian, Yeraz Markarian, and Anaïs Tekerian. The trio rearranges and reimagines traditional Armenian folk melodies, and has been singing together since 2002. Zulal has performed at major venues such as the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC and New York’s Symphony Space, and collaborated with Cirque du Soleil and the Silk Road Project. Zulal has also scored the film Stone, Time, Touch and recently released its third album, Seven Springs.
Hailing from New York City, Circa ’95 is the hip-hop duo of Reph Starr and Patty Dukes. Dominican and Puerto Rican by way of the Bronx and Washington Heights, they rhyme seamlessly in both Spanish and English. They have performed with artists like MC Lyte, KRS-One, Pitbull, Anita Tijoux, and Mala Rodriguez, and have been featured on the HBO Latino shows Road Trip and Habla Ya. The duo’s debut album Free Lunch was released in 2011. Reph and Patty also teach hip-hop, theater, and mixed media arts to young people through their organization, the Rhyme Factory.