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“Appalachian Spring” and Primary Sources: Music Students Enrich Their Research and Their Performances

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Martha Graham and Erick Hawkins in the first production of Appalachian Spring, 1944

Students from the Baltimore School for the Arts enjoyed a rare research opportunity at the Library of Congress recently, and they produced a video reflecting on the value of their experience. The staff of the Library’s Music Division was so impressed with how these students used primary sources in their research that they featured the project in a recent blog post,  An ‘Appalachian Spring’ Collaboration.

The students and their research coordinators explained how studying the primary sources expanded and enriched their study far beyond what they could get out of the textbooks and other books available in their school and public libraries. While it may not be possible to bring your students to the Library of Congress to research in the physical collections, the robust collections available at offer myriad opportunities to expand and enrich your lessons without leaving your school.

To get started, visit the Teachers page and explore the Classroom Materials assembled by the Library’s expert staff or browse Using Primary Sources.

Comments (2)

  1. Today we as teachers, have to go beyond the four walls of a classroom. This is truly a global and technological society. Our students deserve and have a right to enriched lessons via media. We can’t go to Rome, so let Rome come to us……..

  2. This is such an incredible story! As a musician and teacher, I deeply appreciate the profound connection that the research of Martha Graham’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ had on the students involved in the production. It is essential for students in the arts to take advantage of the abundance of resources available to them which will enhance the understanding of their overall goals. For example, if actors do not research the time period or historic events occurring in a play they are a part of, the end result will be empty and will not reflect a true understanding of what is trying to be represented. Due to the passion of the students at Baltimore School for the Arts, the students took away such a deep understanding and appreciation for Graham’s work which, ultimately, made them better performers. All teachers must take advantage of these opportunities for their students in order for them to grow and learn beyond the limits of the classroom.

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