20 Tripping the World Fantastic

Glenn Dixon Alberta

Glenn Dixon has published travel articles in major publications such as National Geographic, the New York Post, the Walrus and the Globe and Mail. An expert on sociolinguistics, he is a language consultant with the Calgary Board of Education. His new book is Tripping the World Fantastic. @Glenn_Dixon Read more

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Waterfront Theatre
$17 / $8.50 for school groups

The average teen hears more music in a week than his or her grandparents heard in a lifetime. Travel writer and guitarist Glenn Dixon has toured the globe exploring how and why people make music and has returned with some fascinating finds. The performance of music takes up more brain real estate than almost any other single human pursuit. Remove your earbuds this morning and listen up as Dixon takes you on a musical odyssey, from sitar lessons on the banks of the Ganges, to the sounds of African drumming in Ghana, to the wild electric rhythms of Cuban dance music.

Suitable for grades 7 and up

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View the study guide for this event.

Tripping the World Fantastic


Glenn Dixon, Tripping the World Fantastic

Curriculum Connections:

  • Language Arts: non-fiction
  • Fine Arts: music
  • Social Studies: geography, history and global cultural community


Music is a potent bearer of cultural ideas, attitudes, and movements. Like works of literature and art that carry indelible messages from the time and place of their creation, musical compositions—and particularly those with texts—are source documents loaded with historical meaning.

Bruce Springsteen (b. 1949) wrote the songs “You’re Missing” and “Empty Sky” for his album The Rising (Columbia, 2002) as a response to the events of September 11, 2001. Springsteen’s home county of Monmouth in New Jersey lost 158 people on 9/11. Within days of the towers collapsing, Springsteen began writing songs. These two songs were inspired by discussions that he had with two New Jersey widows who lost their husbands when the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

  1. Give students a copy of the lyrics for both songs used in this lesson.
  2. Each group of five students will have a facilitator, a recorder and a reporter who will present the findings to the class as a whole.

Song discussion questions and activities:

  • Whom do you think is telling this story/ Whose song is this?
  • Why do you think the lyrics “Everything is Everything” and “Empty Sky” are repeated in the songs?
  • What emotions are expressed in these songs?
  • Does the songwriter use sensory imagery to convey these emotions? If so, how?
  • What are the similarities and differences of the two songs?
  • Which song is more accurate in portraying how you felt after 9/11? Why?
  • Students should meet in groups of five. Each student will be responsible for one discussion question. Each group will report back to the class after 15-20 minutes of discussion.
  • Students will write their own poem about an historical event which made an impact upon them. Their poem must use sensory language, repetition and be able to convey their own emotions about the event.
  • Students will create an illustration to accompany their poem. Their illustration should convey the emotions expressed in the poem.