Did you know that March is Music in Our Schools month? Sponsored by the National Association of Music Educators, Music in Our Schools encourages schools to make sure their students have access to music and the opportunity to learn and use music in their schools.
The Library of Congress website has lots of resources that will help you combine music-related primary sources and other classroom activities. Here are just a few places to look:
Lyrical Legacy – Provides teaching ideas on how to use music and poetry to tell the story of the United States.
Songs for Our Times – Helps students learn how songs document the times in which they were created.
Music and Reform History: Stand Up and Sing – Helps students learn how music can be used to rally supporters and sway opinions.
Natural Disasters: Nature’s Fury – See how music helps document natural disasters.
Patriotic Melodies – Created by the Library’s Performing Arts Reading Room, this presentation tells the story behind many of the songs that celebrate our country.
Also be sure to visit the Music Division’s Blog “In the Muse” to learn more about their collections.
Pick a song from one of the Library’s sheet music collections and have your school’s music teacher or a volunteer from a local music organization come in to teach the song. Have students think about why the song was created and what words or phrases in it may have been an attempt to sway public opinion. How might students update these lyrics to make this song relevant to a public issue today?
Have students look at some examples of popular music of the past and some of their favorite music from today. How do the values and beliefs presented in historical song lyrics compare with those presented in lyrics of current songs?
Students can compose a song expressing their opinions on a specific event or issue of importance from the past or today.
How will you bring music into your classroom?