Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Exploring the International Space Station Library

It’s not unusual to think of books and other types of media when discussing libraries, but we usually don’t associate floating in space with the word library (although you may if you’re deep in your imagination…but I digress.) Believe it or not, there’s an informal library of books and media on the International Space Station, much of which was left by astronauts. While it isn’t huge, it has continued to grow over the years. To illustrate what media you may find aboard the International Space Station, I’ve made an infographic. Thanks to a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests listed in the sources section of the infographic, some details about the number and types of materials on board were found.

And for more information on the International Space Station, visit the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issue page which highlights invaluable resources and editorially selected articles to help students debate and discuss the International Space Station both in the classroom and outside it.

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National Music Week: 15 Museums for Music Lovers and Educators

May 7-14 2017 is National Music Week. Educators, if you’re already thinking about summer vacation, you may want to make time to visit one of these music-themed museums with loved ones soon. From country to blues to everything in between, there’s a museum for all types of music fans to enjoy. So, put down the textbooks and start planning your summer vacation with a music adventure!

  1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

    Situated in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is filled with a rich history of the best artists in country music.

    Screenshot of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website

    Screenshot of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum website

  2. Musical Instrument Museum

    Located in Phoenix, Arizona, this museum is home to 6,500 displayed instruments from 200 various countries and territories around the world. In the Experience Gallery, you are encouraged to play instruments and even though 6,500 instruments are on display at a time, the collection includes a total of 16,000 musical instruments and objects.

    Screenshot of the Musical Instrument Museum website

    Screenshot of the Musical Instrument Museum website

  3. Delta Blues Museum

    Founded in 1979, this museum has its home in Clarksdale, Mississippi, near the Delta region where “the blues began.” It is the state’s oldest music museum. This is a place where you can explore exhibits on musicians like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker while also enjoying one of the many events or festivals hosted by the museum.

    Screenshot of the Delta Blues Museum website

    Screenshot of the Delta Blues Museum website

  4. Grammy Museum Mississippi

    Located in Cleveland, Mississippi, this museum offers interactive exhibits and experiences that bring the music achievements of Mississippians into the spotlight.

    Screenshot of Grammy Museum Mississippi website

    Screenshot of Grammy Museum Mississippi website

  5. National Music Museum

    You will find the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the University of South Dakota campus. The music collection here is the most inclusive anywhere and boasts more than 15,000 instruments from all cultures and historical periods. With so much to see, a trip here can easily take an entire weekend.

    Screenshot of National Music Museum website

    Screenshot of National Music Museum website

  6. National Blues Museum

    Centered in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri, this museum celebrates the Blues and its role in shaping American history and culture. Understanding and appreciating the foundation Blues music has given so many other genres of music, this museum will engage and encourage visitors.

    Screenshot of the National Blues Museum website

    Screenshot of the National Blues Museum website

  7. Museum of Making Music

    Located in Carlsbad, California, the Museum of Making Music is dedicated to sharing the accomplishments of those who make, sell and use musical instruments and products. Unique exhibits, vibrant performances, and inspiring educational programs bring the history of this museum alive.

    Screenshot of Museum of Making Music website

    Screenshot of Museum of Making Music website

  8. Memphis Rock n Soul Museum

    Memphis, Tennessee, is where you will find this museum. Learn about the birth of rock and soul music as exhibits share how musical pioneers overcame socioeconomic and racial barriers to create music that has transcended generations.

    Screenshot of Memphis Rock n Soul Museum website

    Screenshot of Memphis Rock n Soul Museum website

  9. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

    This iconic attraction and museum is located in Cleveland, Ohio. It brings the origin and story of rock and roll to life with hands-on activities, installations, and special exhibits.

    Screenshot of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website

    Screenshot of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website

  10. Motown Museum

    The flat where Berry Gordy and his family lived is now the Motown Museum. Located in Southeast Michigan, it has made its mission to “preserve, protect and present the Motown Story through authentic, inspirational and educational experiences” as stated on the Motown Museum website.

    Screenshot of the Motown Museum website

    Screenshot of the Motown Museum website

  11. International Bluegrass Music Museum

    Moving to Owensboro, Kentucky, three blocks west of its current location in Spring 2018, this museum exhibits decades of bluegrass music and the musicians who made it. The museum holds concert series to continue the legacy of bluegrass music and the Hall of Fame highlights pioneers of bluegrass.

    Screenshot of the International Bluegrass Music Museum website

    Screenshot of the International Bluegrass Music Museum website

  12. American Jazz Museum

    Planted in the jazz district of Kansas City, Missouri, this museum is a haven for those who love modern jazz. It’s an adventure for the senses as you explore exhibits, films, and events. May 26-28, 2017 is the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival.

    Screenshot of the American Jazz Museum website

    Screenshot of the American Jazz Museum website

  13. American Banjo Museum

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to this museum. Dedicated to appreciation for the banjo, you can learn about the instrument’s impact on bluegrass, folk and world music while also viewing decorated banjos of the 1920s and 1930s. This museum contains the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world.

    Screenshot of the American Banjo Museum website

    Screenshot of the American Banjo Museum website

  14. Grammy Museum at L.A. Live

    Located in Los Angeles, California, The Grammy Museum celebrates the creative process behind making music and the history of the Grammy Awards. Includes more than two dozen exhibits spanning a diverse selection of music.

    Screenshot of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live website

    Screenshot of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live website

  15.  Stax Museum of American Soul Music

    In Memphis, Tennessee, at the original site of the Stax Records studio you will find the Stax Museum. This museum proudly states it’s the “world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of American soul music.”

Screenshot of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music website

Screenshot of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music website


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Why Playing Guitar This Summer Can Teach You About Science

Having Fun with Music

Summer is a great time to have fun and learn something at the same time. For those days when the heat is just too much, staying inside can be good for practicing a hobby or starting something new. Have you always dreamed of songwriting? What about playing guitar? Learning a new instrument or writing a song may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There are tons of resources online that can not only teach you how to do these things but also help with understanding the science behind music.

Link Between Music and Science

There’s a whole lot of science happening in the process of making music! From the vibrations of guitar strings to creating melodies and harmonies, you can pick up a lot about physics just from plucking or strumming notes. Once you start experimenting with your chosen instrument, it becomes easier to see why music is a helpful tool in education. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to remember facts when they are incorporated into a clever song.

This short TED-Ed animated lesson by Oscar Fernando Perez and Chris Boyle illustrates just how much you can learn about physics through playing the guitar.

So, the next time you see a guitar imagine how its parts work together to create the sounds you hear, the vibrations you feel and the melodies and rhythms you play. Science is all around us! And it doesn’t have to stop just because it’s summer.

Resources Online

Here’s a short list of some interesting videos to watch on the connection between music, science, the brain, and even spiders.

The Science Behind the Arts: The Maths Behind Music
How playing an instrument benefits your brain
Spiders Tune Their Webs Like A Guitar 

Are you learning something musical this summer? Write us in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest. We’d love to know!

Poetry, Popularity, and the Spoken Word

Marine Corps Cpl. Juan M. Caraballo reads poem from “The Essence of a Young Poet."

Marine Corps Cpl. Juan M. Caraballo reads a poem from “The Essence of a Young Poet.” (Public Domain) [via Wikimedia Commons]

If we were to discuss poetry vs prose in terms of contemporary popularity, prose would win. Take a walk through a library or bookstore and you’ll usually find a small section of books of poetry peeking through the sprawling aisles full of books of prose.

But what if we looked at poetry a little bit differently?

Poetry isn’t simply words in a book. Poetry is words spoken aloud, poetry is words spray-painted on a wall, poetry is words in a greeting card, poetry is a posting on Facebook, poetry is words vocalized in a song.

When we perceive poetry in this light, we begin to understand just how popular poetry is.

Reading poetry aloud, or hearing someone speak poetry, assists in understanding the work’s deeper meaning. It allows the reader and listener to hear all the sounds, rhythms, patterns, and intonations in the poem. These things are just as important as the meaning of the poem itself.

Consider how poetry spoken aloud impacted cultures throughout history.

In ancient Rome, poetry was the literary vehicle of choice. Some poets’ works were written and read, but mostly, ancient Roman poetry was spoken aloud in private or public gatherings. This is the way poetry reached the masses. It was how poetry assimilated itself into Roman culture. The likes of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid were the superstars of their day!

Ancient Chinese poets of the Tang (618-907), Song (960-1279) and Han (206 BC – 220 AD) dynasties are still revered as the greatest Chinese poets. During their time, their poems were performed for royalty and beautifully scribed on scrolls that were housed in the emperors’ palaces. How did the common people discover these masterpieces of literature? The spoken word, passed to and through communities, memorized and loved.

During the Renaissance, the plays of William Shakespeare drew enormous crowds at the famed Globe Theatre. His works resonated with the elite and with the common folk. Are his plays considered to be poems? No, they are not—but his dramatic oeuvre is replete with poetic devices. Let us call his plays “poetical.”

Poetical…much like the lyrics of songs we listen to every day.

Listen to a favorite song and consider the figurative and sound poetic devices found in the lyrics. What do you hear? Imagery, alliteration, metaphors, similes, personification, repetition, assonance, consonance, meter, rhyme? How do these devices impact the meaning or message of the song? How do these devices, along with the meaning of the lyrics, make you feel? Are the lyrics written as verse, as lines of poetry? What meaning do the lines hold separately; what meaning do they convey together?

This is a great activity to engage reluctant students of poetry. Poetry on a page offers quite a different experience than poetry spoken aloud, shared, heard. Listening to songs in a classroom setting—or hearing the lyrics aloud in spoken word—can transform students’ perspectives on this time-honored literary form.

Celebrate National Poetry Month during the month of April with poetry in any form. Help students discover and love the poetry in their world! Gain inspiration from the SKS Spotlight of the Month.

Explore the Music and Cultures of the Ancient Silk Road

“Caravane sur la Route de la soie – Caravan on the Silk Road”, 1380, by Cresques Abraham via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of musicians who explore connections across cultures and disciplines, believes that “exploring our differences enriches our humanity”. Watch video of the Silk Road Ensemble performing traditional and contemporary music from various regions along the ancient Silk Road (trade routes across the Asian continent linking China with the West). 

You can learn more about the peoples and cultures of contemporary societies in the Silk Road regions with the CultureGrams video gallery. In this clip, a musician from Pakistan discusses cultural traditions and classical music. Here, a musician from India discusses the devotional nature of classical music in the Indian tradition. Explore different Chinese musical instruments and styles here. Learn more about the process of becoming a musician in China in this clip.

Music from the Silk Road from Smithsonian Folkways

Smithsonian Folkways helps listeners explore music that can be found today in countries that were part of the ancient Silk Road. Tracks include Chinese pipa (lute), Persian santur (a hammered dulcimer), Mongolian horsehead fiddle, music of the Kyrgyz mountains, and a Turkish Sufi hymn.


“Seidenstrasse – Silk Road” via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Map it

Can you name some of the present day countries that were part of the ancient Silk Road? Explore this interactive map from UNESCO and learn more about the history of countries and cities that were once part of ancient Silk Road trade routes.

Honoring Blues Great B.B. King

When B.B. King passed away on May 14th I was heart broken, although I guess I shouldn’t have really been surprised. His health had been deteriorating more rapidly as the complications from diabetes had begun to take its toll on him, a battle that had lasted for the last 20 years of his life. His passing made me pause and recollect the times I had seen B.B. in concert over the years, none more so than the first time I saw him in Pensacola, Florida in 1978–in a cafeteria.

There was no stage, no special lighting, no big stadium amplifiers, and no stadium seating; just your typical expansive school cafeteria with a low white acoustic ceiling, one wall filled with windows revealing the parking lot outside, and institutional brown metal chairs set up in rows that could have just as easily been set up the previous night for a monthly PTA meeting.

And there was no grand introduction. Before the show, several people behind the scene (I wouldn’t have called them roadies) set up a small collection of box monitors for their microphones, guitars, and drums, along with a couple of small PA speakers for the audience. Minutes later after the stage was set, B.B., along with his band, walked in and plugged in their instruments, thanked the audience for being there, and ripped right into “Caledonia.” For me, at the age of 21, witnessing this was highly unusual. Not that long before, I had attended concerts by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin at 20,000-seat arenas, replete with gargantuan sound and lighting equipment that could fill 20 semi tractor-trailers. But there was B.B. and his simple sound equipment and cafeteria lighting, set up just 30 feet in front of me. He sounded better than any concert as I had ever attended.

No living blues or rock guitarist was like B.B. Watching and listening to him play his guitar, (“Lucille” as he had called it starting in 1949) with his signature string-bending, vibrato style, was a force of nature as far as I was concerned. And that’s not to underrate his singing. His growling voice, punctuating every important syllable, made him stand out from similar rock and blues guitarists. The fluidity and ease by which he played both his guitar and sang was unmatched, and his ability to mesh both seamlessly, as if neither could  be separated from the other, will always be indelibly etched in my memory.

And what can you say about B.B. King’s legacy that hasn’t already been said? Blues legend: check. Guitar innovator: check. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee: check. “King of the Blues”: check. Blues Hall of Fame: check. Presidential Medal of Freedom: check. B.B.’s influence on other musicians in both the blues and rock and roll is immeasurable and the list of great guitarists who he influenced is numerous: Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, and the list goes on.

You can learn more about B.B. King and Blues music in eLibrary. To get an idea where B.B. came from, growing up amid humble beginnings in cotton country in Arkansas and becoming one of the most accomplished blues and popular music guitarists of our time, eLibrary’s transcript and audio of the 1996 NPR Fresh Air Interview with B.B. King by Terry Gross is instructional. Here King reminisces about his first guitar, growing up and working on a cotton plantation, and at the age of 19, moving to Memphis to pursue a musical career that would eventually spanned 70 years.

There are more resources associated with B.B. King and Blues Music below, but first  check out this vintage 1969 video of B.B. playing “Just a Little Love“.

ProQuest Research Topics:

B.B. King
Blues Music
Rock and Roll

eLibrary Browse Topics:
Musical Instruments
Musical Styles
Notable African Americans

eLibrary’s Music Resources

Piano Research Topic

Piano Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

If you are a music teacher looking for instructional materials for your class, or if you are a student conducting research on a music-related topic, why not start with eLibrary? eLibrary has information on just about any musical topic you can imagine. We have Research Topics on musical styles such as Bluegrass, Opera, Country, Hip-Hop, Folk and Blues. eLibrary also has Research Topics on various musical instruments, ranging from Banjos, Guitars, and Drums to Xylophones. eLibrary is also a great source for profiles of musicians, conductors and songwriters.

Beyonce Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Beyonce Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Tony Bennett Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

Tony Bennett Research Topic Screencap via ProQuest eLibrary












And if you are one of those people who is downloading illegal music from the internet, you might want to check out our Music Piracy Research Topic! eLibrary’s music publications range from Rolling Stone to the Hutchinson Dictionary of Music. So, from Michael Jackson to Mozart; from Beyonce to Beethoven; from Little Richard to Liberace, let eLibrary’s music resources help you learn more about the world of music.

Just a few of the Music Publications available from eLibrary:

American Music Teacher                          DK Eyewitness Music

American Record Guide                           Guitar Player

Bass Player                                                  Jazz Makers: Vanguards of Sound

Billboard                                                        Music Week

Canadian Musician                                     Opera News

Ella Fitzgerald Is Born, 1917

"Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947." Photo credit: The Library of Congress / Foter / No known copyright restrictions

“Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947.” Photo credit: The Library of Congress / Foter / No known copyright restrictions

The “First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was a jazz gem. Her three octave vocal range made her music sound effortless and smooth. Overcoming hardship and discrimination in her life, Ella was able to make a name for herself in jazz. She worked with Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman to name a few. Born April 25, 1917, Ella is celebrated for both her contributions to music and her ability to penetrate a predominately male music scene. In the 1940s, she was considered one of the greatest scat singers in the world, and in her lifetime, won 13 Grammy awards. SIRS Renaissance and SIRS WebSelect include quality content about Ella’s life, her music, her struggles and her legacy. Biographical articles and websites about Ella included within these SIRS databases provide historical context and engaging visuals. The official www.ellafitzgerald.com, included in SIRS WebSelect, is a comprehensive collection of Ella’s most notable achievements. It puts a spotlight on not just Ella as a musician, but Ella as a person. As Ella Fitzgerald once said, “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”