Friday, April 12, 2013

A Song In Your Step...

A Song In Your Step...Playing Music Into Your Classroom.

I have always been a huge fan of music. Whether it has been singing or playing a musical instrument, music has always been a way for me to get my mood in the right direction.

For the past couple of years I have been playing music in my room as students enter class. I try and find music that matches or fit the Learning Objective that day, or is from the time period we are currently studying.

I sometimes get those random comments from students who don't appreciate my musical choice that day, but I do once an awhile get music requests. If their request matches what we are talking about, I will sometimes go ahead and play the song for them. It is pretty amazing how the  mood of the class changes with this little bit of music as students enter. If the music is reflective or somber, students will typically enter the same. If the music is more high energy, student's energy level also increases.

I tell students that "America's Music is a glimpse into its soul." I don't know if I heard that someplace, or I just  made it up but I feel it's pretty true. I have found music is a great way to help start discussions on how Americans are feeling about a topic or era, their attitudes, or American concerns. It makes for a great way to start a topic: Why do you think Mr. Mosier picked this song today? What do you think we might be talking about today? etc.. For some of my students music is a motivator to get to my room earlier so they can listen to the music that is being played that day.

I have gotten most of my music from our textbook resources CD and some from free Website resources. I always follow copyright, so I don't download illegal music. If I can't find something I typically buy it from iTunes or look for it on Spotify.

Here are some places for free music:

Free Music Archive: A variety of music that is free to use under Creative Commons.

Old Radio World: Not really music, but some popular radio shows from the 1930's & 40's to get a glimpse of pop culture.

Library of Congress- National Jukebox: Recordings that are in the public domain.

Manufacturing Memory: American Popular Music in the 1930's: A good sampling of music from the 1930's.

Music in Slave Life- PBS: Slavery and the Making of America: This is a great resource in general on slave life in America, but the music can also be a place for students to hear the type of music slaves sang. I usually talk about that this music becomes the foundation for Jazz, Rock & Roll, and R&B.

Civil War Songs from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (These are as free iTunes downloads) - Soldiers' Songs (Civil War Songs): The Battle Cry of Freedom , Goober Peas , Just Before The Battle Mother , Tenting on the Old Campground , Aura Lee , When Johnny Comes Marching Home 

Music I purchased in iTunes or bought the CD because it works well in my lessons:

I probably don't want to add up the music I've bought the past several of years. At least it's good music and diversifies my iTunes Library some.

Westward Expansion

The Civil War

(All of these are good songs to play on various days in our unit on the Civil War. I also play a lot of songs from the Gilder Lehrman Institute from the links above.)



Progressive Era

World War I

1920's & 30's

World War II

Cold War

Civil Rights Movement

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