In first grade, students will get an introduction to folk music, some of its most prolific songwriters, and the genres within it. We will explore Pete Seeger's "We Shall Overcome," a powerful song used during the Civil Rights Era, and begin learning the famous black spiritual "Get on Board, Little Children."
Second graders are completing their maps based on the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd," and once they are finished we will put them on display for the class to observe, compare, and critique. Students will have the opportunity to critique each other's maps using constructive and positive comments.
The folk music theme continues in third grade where students are reviewing what they learned about Woody Guthrie from the previous week and learning the Black National Anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing."
The last few weeks have been very analysis-heavy, both in terms of listening and lyric analysis. I believe it is just as important for children to learn how to listen as it is for them to learn how to sing, and through these listening opportunities they are being introduced to people, genres, styles, and recordings which will broaden their scope of music. Last week while listening to a 1940s recording of Woody Guthrie (with his cavalier Oklahoma accent), one of our classes learned an important lesson about respecting people who are different from us. Music class, after all, is not just for learning about rhythm, meter, and pitch. It's about learning what music means to us; hearing how it differs by person, culture, and time period; and exploring how much it truly matters for humanity as a whole.