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Russian Studies Project Reports

Summer 2003

Dr. Linda High (Music Education, School of Music) and Dr. Michelle Hairston (Music Education/Music Therapy, School of Music)
"Russian Folksongs and Folktales"

In reflecting back to our original proposal, this report will take each of the five areas for a quick summary.


  1. Gathering folk songs and folktales
    We were able to secure many folktale books with matching Matruskias (nesting dolls) that contain each of the characters in the folktales. We will be setting these to music to make a collection of folktales and songs than can be used multiculturally.
    We were also able to attend Folk Song reviews where we saw the native songs performed in complete costume, with period instruments and dances. We were able to secure videotapes of these performances to use as visual aids.
  2. Visit teachers and schools
    We made arrangements to visit two teachers and a principal. Because it was summer, students were already out for the summer and we were not able to observe them in person. We did see, however, a videotape of what the students had done the previous year. While music is not specifically taught in the regular school day (you must go to a specialized school AFTER the regular school day), the teachers use music in their teaching by incorporating it into drama productions. We learned that the after school music programs are handled by the Minister of Culture and the regular public school programs are handled by the Minister of Education.
  3. Travel to major areas to experience the culture
    We were able to hire a personal tour guide that allowed us to see the most historical sites in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. Some of the highlights were: St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, The Kremlin, The Faberge Eggs, The Hermitage, Peterhoff, Church of the Spilled Blood, Mars Field, The Russian Museum, and the Folk Museum.
  4. Share our songs with children there
    Unfortunately, since there were no children in the schools this did not become a reality.
  5. Share with our classes, professional meetings, and teachers
    So far we have submitted proposals using American and Russian Folktales and Songs to two conferences. We have been accepted to present at the national conference of the American Music Therapy Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota in November and are waiting to hear from the International Society of Music Education conference being held in the Canary Islands, Spain in July of 2004. Integration of the Russian experience will be included in our fall classes and seminars.

    This was a very enlightening, joyous experience that has sparked a wave of creativity that will not soon be diminished. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to bring multiculturalism into our classrooms.