With her poetry of words, Amanda Gorman’s “Change Sings” uses a story full of music vocabulary to invite children to be the change in the world with acts of kindness. Here are songs that fit into that theme.
Written for younger singers, this song reinforces the act of kindness themes in Amanda Gorman’s book, “Change Sings.” With lots of repetition and sequencing, this easy-to-learn song is a perfect concert selection. The resource includes suggested movements and opportunities to create your own movement.
I Dream A World by Andre Thomas
This gorgeous melody set to Langston Hughes’ words is in 2-parts which could easily be adapted to a single melody line. In “Change Sings” Gorman writes, “I scream with the skies of red and blue streamers. I dream with the cries of tried-and-true dreamers.” Hughes writes, “”I dream a world where man, no other man will scorn. Where love will bless the earth and peace its paths adorn.”
*Resources African Drumming/Dance, Music History Is Black History, Culture Bearer-Namibia, Black Stringband music, History of We Shall Overcome, African American Women and Rock and Roll, Paying Royalties, American History through the lens of Black American music (Diaspora)
A composed song about important black leaders and the power of one.
Musician & Song Database
I’ve tried to use songs written by Black artists that are accessible to children. There is a multitude of current songs (or within the past 10 years) that could be used as well that I haven’t added to the list. Also, there are SO MANY amazing Black performers who weren’t composers that you can highlight as well.
African Drumming & Dance
In this series, dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena and drummer Farai Malianga show you how to dance traditional African dances and drums and their place in African history. This is a YT playlist from the Kennedy Center.
Music History, Is Black History
This resource page by Reverb has lots of information about Black musicians who were innovators and had groundbreaking achievements.
Teaching Idea: Let students choose a musician to research, putting all the research together into a timeline of Black music history.
The final student product could be online or hard-copy. ONLINE-a Google slide, Flipgrid video presentation HARD-COPY-poster board, report on 8.5 x 11, info on record-shaped album
Namibia Culture-Bearer, Garth Prince
Prince is a musician, vocalist, drummer, and educator who has knowledge of traditional folk songs of Namibia.
Black Stringband Music
This resource, by musician Jake Blount, has some essential and relevant information about Stringband music but other information about Black music and musicians. Mr. Blount has such thoroughly researched information.
A History of We Shall Overcome
A fascinating and thorough search of the evolution of this famous song. After watching, I definitely subscribed to Genie Deez’s channel because he is amazing!
His YT playlist on Culture & History includes great information on Funk, Civil Rights, syncopation, and so much more.
Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll.
“In Black Diamond Queens, Maureen Mahon draws on recordings, press coverage, archival materials, and interviews to document the history of African American women in rock and roll between the 1950s and the 1980s.”
AMAZING video. I highly recommend watching for teachers and upper middle school/high school students.
The United Parish in Brookline introduced a unique program to help carry on the legacy of this music in Roxbury, and they’re hoping to be a model for others.
“There was growing discomfort around how to use Negro spirituals, appropriately and respectfully,” said the congregation’s minister of music Susan DeSelms.
Black Music of the African Diaspora
This blog post is from two educators who created a new seminar that looks at American history through Black American music. The greatest thing is that they have shared their playlist on Spotify!
At the bottom of the slide, click on the 3 dots to find the ENTER FULL-SCREEN link. I’ve never tried embedding a Google slide, so please let me know if you have any problems with it. Comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a fresh and engaging song arrangement about Martin Luther King, Jr in a presentation featuring Orff, Kodaly, and optional recorder sections for your teaching for MLK Day, Black History Month, or any time of the year.
Lyrics about MLK’s dream have been set to the tune of the two-chord (F, C7) “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”, perfect for beginning ukulele players, with a newly composed “B” section that can be used as a harmony partner song for the big finale.
I always hated it when an administrator told us at the beginning of the year to have our class create essential agreements.
It made sense for the classroom teachers because they had, uh, ONE class. But really, what are music teachers going to do with multiple grade levels and sections within a grade level? Post 30 Essential Agreement posters around the room?
I’d make an attempt to do it with each class and homogenize it into one poster but then I kept thinking it was false and homogenized and served no purpose. EVERYBODY comes up with essentially the same things-be kind, be respectful, be safe, be responsible, be patient, be caring, etc.
I thought about what were the biggest overarching problems in my music room and how could I address them. I came up with the below poster. It’s beautiful, right? As I always told the kids, “This is why I am not your art teacher.”
I kept this poster up for years and at the start of every year, I’d call the agreements out one by one and ask for a show of hands, who agreed. Then when I needed to remind them about something, I’d say, “Didn’t we all agree that beginnings and endings are quiet?” It was like a handshake. WE AGREED! Let’s do it!
One year I put each class into six groups and assigned each group one of the essential agreements. I gave them three minutes to talk about why it was important and then each group shared.
A lot of the essential agreements address children who are attention-seeking and many of the agreements are about great practices in performing and learning about music.
A student seeks attention by playing the xylophones overly loud. Rule: Respect our Instruments and Play Beautifully.
A student seeks attention by being louder than everyone else while speaking a speech piece or poem or singing during a song. The above poster actually was changed to read: Sing, Speak, and Play Beautifully!
During a quiet movement activity, two students talk. Rule: Move Silently
While playing instruments, a student taps another one with a mallet. Rule: Hands to Yourself
At the end of a song, instrumental piece, or activity, everyone starts to talk. Rule: Beginnings and Endings are Quiet!
The group falls apart during a song, instrumental piece, dance, or other activity and some people stop, start talking, complain, etc. Rule: NEVER stop! After a while, I didn’t have to use this one much because they were so used to figuring out how to keep going and when they did, I would PRAISE them forever about their professionalism. I’d say, “Tyrese knew that we forgot the repeat, but kept that next line going and got us all back on track! YES! Good job, everybody!” That’s what performers do-they keep going.
I wish I had started this “musical” essential agreement idea sooner in my teaching career. I hope it sparks an idea for you and you can turn it into a meaningful tool for classroom management and learning.
This game, and version of the familiar musical chairs game, is so much fun and easy to set up. I only play it with classes that can follow rules.
What You Need
One textbook (or book) for every student
Music (I made you some Spotify playlists at the bottom of the page)
Students who are willing to play by the rules
How to Play
Start with a circle of chairs with the seats facing OUT.
The example class has 30 kids, so 29 chairs in a circle, right? Get a stack of textbooks or 29 books of any kind and after the first person is out, you put one book on any chair. I originally used textbooks because they are sturdy, were readily available in my classroom, and if a chair gets bumped, won’t fall off.
There is now one person out and they are in charge of putting the books on the chairs after each elimination. They get in the middle of the circle with the books. You start the music again. I tell the person in the middle to put ONE book on any chair AFTER the music begins again. As soon as they’ve put a book on a chair, you can stop the music whenever because the number of available chairs will fit how many are still in the game, minus one. Unlike the original, there is NO moving of chairs and a student is in charge of the books which allows you to keep your eyes on the game more consistently.
I put a playlist together and just let it roll and only use my mute button to turn the music “off and on” so that my eyes are constantly on the gameplay. Of course, you can stop and start the song, too.
It is SO fun. It is safe as long as you are firm on the rules and if it doesn’t work or you fear someone will get hurt, end the game and move on to something else.
If you touch anyone you are out.
If you stop moving or run you are out.
If you touch a CHAIR you are out. (this prevents pinched fingers and general cheating)
You may NOT sit in a chair with a book in it.
I (the teacher) am the official. I have to catch people who break the rules and whatever I say RULES.
Evolution of Dance has lots of great dances and might be appropriate for some classes. Please review it before showing.
Women Rock! Day-January 3
My ❤️ FAVORITE rocker-H.E.R.
December 6—Walt Disney Day
Walt Disney Day-December 6
The first Monday of December (12/06/2021)
Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 and began as an illustrator. One of the first characters he helped create was Mortimer Mouse who later was renamed Mickey Mouse. He is known for the animated features The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, and Mary Poppins. Disney was a pioneer in animation and introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.
Minnie & Mickey
Disney’s 2021 Release Movie-Encanto
National Violin Day-December 13
The violin, also known as a fiddle, is a wooden chordophone in the string family. It is the highest-pitched instrument in the family, has four strings, and is played by plucking or bowing.
Pictured is a violin from 1658.
Early stringed instruments came from the Greeks, Central Asia, and the Middle East and influenced the violin that we know today which emerged in the 1500s in Northern Italy.
Songs: Columbia, Mi Encanto (C, F, G) Earth Day Is Ev’ry Day (C, F, Am, G) Walking On Sunshine (C, F, G), Let It Be (C, F, G, Am), Bring U Down (G, F, Am, Dm), Another Brick In the Wall (C, Dm, F, G) Counting Stars (C, F, G, Am, Dm), If I Didn’t Love You (F, G, Am, C), Someone You Loved (C, G, Am, F, Dm), You Belong With Me (G, D, Am, C) MORE SONGS COMING SOON!