Amanda Gorman Music Resources and Ideas

Music Resources & Ideas for the works of Amanda Gorman.

Change Sings

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.

The Change Is You

Amanda Gorman’s book, “Change Sings”, inspired this new 3-part round song that uses an African proverb to begin the journey of a call to action to be the change in the world.

Change the World, With Kindness

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.”

I’ll Make the Difference by Moses Hogan

The Dream Keeper by Rollo Dilworth

Black History Month Songs & Curriculum

Lift Every Voice for Black History Month curriculum resources.

On This Page

  • *Song Info Lift Ev’ry Voice, Sister Rosa, Bessie Jones documentary, What Can One Little Person Do?
  • *Musician & Song Database Google Sheets database
  • *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)
  • *Bulletin Boards

Song Info

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)

Kings Return

Sister Rosa by The Neville Brothers

Documentary About Bessie Jones

What Can One Little Person Do? by Sally Rogers

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.

Paying Royalties

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!

Bulletin Boards

Super (RONDO) Bowl

Google Slide Presentation ⬇️

Click to Begin or Enter Full Screen & Begin

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

Learning About MLK Through Music

Image by John Hain from Pixabay.

His Life*Songs That Tell His Story*Resources

There is a mixture of videos for all ages, K-8.

His Life


A FABULOUS video is by NUMBEROCK. It tells his story through music.

Songs That Tell His Story

Resources to Make Music In Your Classroom

Martin’s Dream of 1963

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.

Dr. King Had a Dream

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.

How to Play Musical Chairs (With a Twist)

Same game but with a twist!

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

  • Classroom chairs
  • 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.

The Rules!

  • 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.

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Find Kids’ Songs By Subject In The Big Database

Does your concert have a theme? This GROWING database currently has songs categorized by subject and includes animals, food, geography, numbers, positivity, and The 80s. Many more coming soon!

Current Subjects: animals, Black History Month, bugs, colors, food, geography, love/valentines, numbers, places/travel, positivity, The 80s, westerns/cowboy, World Music.

Theme & Title Ideas Below

Concert Theme Ideas & Titles

  • Broadway
  • Decades (50s, 70s, etc)
  • Patriotic
  • Candyland (candy and treats)
  • Colors
  • Seasons “One Spring Day”, “Time and Seasons”,
  • Water
  • Worksongs
  • Spirituals & Freedom Songs
  • Jazz “And All That Jazz”,
  • Connections (songs about other school subjects)
  • Emotions “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Ocean “Octopus’ Garden”, “Under the Sea”, “Songs of Land and Sea”
  • Movies “A Night at the Movies”, “Pass the Popcorn”
  • Global “Around the World in Song”, “The Global Beat”,
  • Animals “We’re Going to the Zoo”, “Creatures of the Earth”, “I Went to the Animal Fair”
  • Boy Bands
  • Space “Out of this World”, “Journey to the Moon”, “Big Blue Ball”,
  • Journeys/Road Trip/Geography/Travel “Where’s Waldo?”,
  • Music (songs with music in the title) “
  • Silly Songs (songs with nonsense words)

In the News

Special Days Celebrated With Music

April 30 International JAZZ Day

April 22 Earth Day

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

April 3 National Film Score Day

Music of John Williams

Sneak Peak at Next Week’s Special Day

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

March 29 World Piano Day

March 21 World Poetry Day

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day

March 10 International Bagpipe Day

March 4-Marching Music Day

Blue Devils Drum Corps

Southern University Marching Band

US Marine Corps Band

The History of Military Marches

February 26-National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

February 15-National Gumdrop Day

February 7-World Ballet Day

Misty Copeland

Coming Soon!

January 28-National Kazoo Day

January 24-National Peanut Butter Day

January 17-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Follow the above link for LOTS of MLK resources!

International Choreographer’s Day-January 9

International Choreographer’s Day

Mambo from West Side Story

Thriller by Michael Jackson (shortened)

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

Aretha Franklin
Joan Jett

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.

The Kanneh-Mason Family

Braimah Kanneh-Mason on violin

Ultimate Ukulele Chords That Take You Beyond the Basics

  • How to Play G video
  • 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!
Comparing ukulele chords and learning how to play the G chord.

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)

This is a beautiful video with added melody.

Riff for Bring U Down Playalong (below)

Another Brick In the Wall (C, Dm, F, G)

Bring U Down (G, F, Am, Dm)

Counting Stars (Am, C, G, F, Dm)

If I Didn’t Love You (F, G, Am, C)

Someone You Loved (C, G, Am, F, Dm)

D Chord

You Belong With Me (G, D, Am, C)