Why Music and History Works In The Class!

“Try to imagine life without music. No rock ‘n’ roll, no blues, no country, no classical, no rap, no jazz, no folk. No way! Music does not just entertain or refresh us, it also helps to establish who we are. According to ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl, “One cannot really understand a culture without taking into account the almost inevitably great importance of its music.”

(Alex Zukas article is HERE )

Have you ever tried live music and story as a way to teach Social Studies, History (US and Minnesota), even Geography, Economics, and Civics?

Consider that music forms an integral and intimate part of your students’ lives.  Consider also that music draws one in, it acts on emotions, and throws open the gates to different ways of perceiving and organizing information.  As Alex Zukas writes, “What makes music a wonderful primary source for students to investigate is its accessibility, especially if the instructor provides historical context and some questions to guide their inquiry.”

That’s where I come in!  I create programs for all grades and I support K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies as well as Arts.  I specialize in teaching history—especially Minnesota history—through music, song, and story.

I present a wide variety of legitimate folk music, some of it, like “En Roulant Ma Boule” (an old voyageur song), over six hundred years old.  I also write music about Minnesota history based on first person accounts like “Don’t Make No Fuss Over My Remains,” based on the obituary of Margaret Stitt, an African-American woman who passed away in 1901.  I read, research, write, and explore voraciously.

I’m as passionate about history as I am about music.  I love to tell the stories behind the songs and the context (e.g., immigration, the Civil War, industrialization) within which the song rests.

More than mere entertainment, I represent a very different way of helping your students dig into history and social studies.  I would love to talk with you about a program for your class.  I can tailor it precisely to your needs based on what standard or code you are covering in a particular curriculum.

Call me and you and I can make sure my program meets your students where they are.  As Lukas writes again, “The music helps the ideas stick.”

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