CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Davies, Sandra.

Illustrated by Yvonne Wakabayashi. Vancouver, Western Education Development Group, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, c1986. 118pp, paper, $10.00, ISBN 0-88865-046-9. (Music in Our Lives) Distributed by WEDGE, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z5. CIP

K-Grade 12
Reviewed by Joan Weller

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

Published with the support of Multi-culturalism Canada, this book is the third in the series Music in Our Lives and follows publications on the Pacific Northwest Coast Indian people and the Chinese community. Intended for school use from kindergarten to grade 12, it is part of a resource package consisting of the book, a three-part video tape, and an audio cassette tape. Most of the material is prepared for grade 6, in particular, with some portions suitable for use with young children and other parts designed for secondary school students.

The book's foreword suggests three possible uses: an integration of artistic awareness into the Social studies treatment of Japan; a look at the role of music and dance in the lives of Japanese Canadians as part of a multicultural study; and a serious examination of Japanese music in the music curriculum.

In general, the book provides an historical framework for the development of Japanese music forms. Describing traditional music theory and notations, it gives examples of folk songs, dances, and children's songs. A selection of arts, crafts, and folk tales with musical accompaniment provides a lighter side to the curriculum. Since the Vancouver Japanese Canadian community contributed much to the book's resource materials, a final section introduces some local anists and describes three local festivals.

This book will be a challenge to even the most ambitious and talented teacher. With study, planning, and a decided touch of inspiration it should do much to inform and inspire in our children a love and appreciation of Japanese art forms. The book s first section is devoted to a study of the history of music in Japan from ancient times. Along with the rise of various traditional instruments, dance forms, and musical storytelling, the book describes the rise of the NOH theatre. Look to the section entitled, "Classroom Experiences," for inspiration and practical teaching ideas.

For music teachers, there are songs, such as "Sakura Sakura" (Cherry Blossoms), arranged for mixed choir, "Kagome Kagome," and other children's singing games. For drama teachers, there are descriptions of many dances, including "Drum Dance," "Hanagasa Odori" (Flower Hat Dance), and some examples of musical storytelling with text and accompaniment. For a more original approach to art classes there are instructions for Oshie (pressed picture making), tako (kite) making, and ikebana (flower arranging). The writing of haiku with musical accompaniment is suggested for language study.

For all of these practical teaching ideas the tapes are very important to help explain the rather complicated instructions. Unfortunately, the tapes were not available for review. A detailed bibliography is provided at the conclusion of the book. This book represents a philosophy that children will understand and appreciate a culture through direct experience. It should serve as an inspiration to talented and creative teachers.

Joan Weller, Ottawa P.L., Ottawa, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works