An Exciting Exploration Of The USA
Can Do Kids Band Tour
By Dr Charles Margerison
Music helps us to understand the stories and experiences of people around our world. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to create the Can Do Kids Band, a virtual group, to help students learn about different countries and cultures. They enjoy exploring new places, and having adventures on their travels.
- Lin, a brilliant keyboard player from China.
- Ace, the Wizard on the drums from South Africa.
- Amy, the outstanding lead vocalist.
- Ravi, the quiet-mannered deep-thinking bass guitarist.
- Oz, the outgoing and outdoor adventurer from Australia.
They visit countries like Brazil, Mexico, France, Egypt, China, USA and Australia. On each visit, they meet students at the schools that host their visits and learn about local culture and music. It is an amazing way to understand people and places.
In each country, they keep a record of the fascinating places they visit, and the people they meet. These notes are developed into books and songs to let other students around the world know about their travels and adventures.
Can Do Kids Band Visit USA
This book begins with Amy and her fellow students making the group welcome to their school in the state of Virginia, USA. They are proud to show the band around their local area. Their first visit is to Jamestown, where colonial settlers arrived from England in 1607.
Next, they visit a Native American community and learn about their traditions. In each place they hear the local music and the folklore stories, which they add to their repertoire.
The Can Do Kids Band motto is to learn by ‘following the music of people and places.’ With a teacher guide, they go north and visit Washington DC. There, they hear about the foundations of democracy, and the songs and marches that commemorate so many historic achievements.
In New York, their guide takes them to Central Park, where they join with local musicians in singing memorable songs. They also go to West 45th Street where Irving Berlin, the legendary popular music composer, established the Music Box Theatre. Along the way, they explore Manhattan. In particular, they enjoy Broadway, the theatre district, where so many musicals have been performed.
Onwards to Boston, the five band members see the location of the rebellion in 1773, when colonists dumped tea in the river rather than pay the tax. That becomes an inspiration for a song. They also visit nearby Plymouth, to understand the amazing settlement established in 1620 by people from England.
Following the Music of People and Places
In each place, local students and their parents proudly share their stories and music. This is particularly so in Philadelphia, where the Can Do Kids Band learn about the Declaration of Independence. As a result, they create a song about the July 4th celebrations,
They also realize that the USA is a large and diverse country with a common language, and many different ways of life. This is clear when they visit Detroit, the home of the car industry and the bustling city of Chicago with its strong links to blues music.
Going south, the five friends arrive in Nashville, the proclaimed capital of country music. It seems that any story can be made into a song, as they listen to local people perform at the Grand Olde Opry.
Going westwards, they visit Seattle, before flying to San Francisco and Los Angeles. They enjoy surfing and listening to music made famous by The Beach Boys. It is clear the climate influences both the lyrics and the music. This is the case in Hawaii, where the band members are taught the local hula dances and traditional Hawaiian songs.
Developing Knowledge and Skills
Each of the places visited help them to develop their music knowledge and skills. This is particularly so when they arrive at Memphis, on the Mississippi River, and nearby Tupelo, where Elvis Presley was born. They learn about Cajun and Gospel music. As they progress to New Orleans, they are introduced to the tradition of Dixieland music. This is reflected in the many variations on the seventh scale note expressed by jazz musicians in the French Quarter at Bourbon Street. It is clear that history and music are linked.
This is evident when the friends arrive in Florida. There, they hear the sound of South American music, originally developed in Cuba, Mexico, and other countries, that has been imported by immigrants who are now USA citizens, and some who are refugees.
The Can Do Kids Band returns to Amy’s school in Virginia, and they perform a concert for students, and also another one for parents. Their music reflects their philosophy of ‘follow the music and learn.’