Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music

Integrate literature into the music class with these lesson plans for Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens and illustrated by Monica Mikai. This book is based on the song of the same name and is the story of what happened to enslaved Africans after the Emancipation Proclamation.

  1. The Review
  2. Official Video of the Book and Song
  3. NPR Book Interview with Rhiannon Giddens
  4. Rhiannon Giddens & Yo-Yo Ma Play “Build A House”
  5. Breakdown-The Song
  6. Lesson Plan
  7. Buy the Book
  8. I Will Not Be Moved
    1. Links for “I Will Not Be Moved”
  9. The Whitewashing of African American Roots Music
Continue reading “Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music”

The Best Children’s Literature for the Music Classroom

A list of books from newly published to classics for the music classroom with links, music connections, activities, and lesson plans!

A growing compilation of great books and musical connections that work with them!

Books Reviewed + music connection ideas

Continue reading “The Best Children’s Literature for the Music Classroom”

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

  1. Song Info
    1. Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)
      1. Kings Return
    2. Sister Rosa by The Neville Brothers
    3. Documentary About Bessie Jones
    4. What Can One Little Person Do? by Sally Rogers
  2. Musician & Song Database-Searchable
  3. Resources
    1. Carnegie Hall African American Music Timeline
    2. African Drumming & Dance
    3. Music History, Is Black History
    4. Preservation Hall Lesson Plans
    5. Namibia Culture-Bearer, Garth Prince
    6. Black Stringband Music
    7. A History of We Shall Overcome
    8. Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll.
    9. Paying Royalties
    10. Black Music of the African Diaspora
    11. Black History Month Songs for Kids
  4. 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-Searchable

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.


Carnegie Hall African American Music Timeline

There is SO much to discover in this resource.

  • a physical timeline showing origins and connections for black music genres
  • LOTS of music links on every page that play Apple music snippets, just enough to be perfect for the classroom
  • beautiful images of musicians and historical events on every page

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

Preservation Hall Lesson Plans

What an amazing resource! Just to name a few lesson plans: Learn the song Blue Monday, Bourbon Street Parade, Brass Bandbook, Congo Square, El Manciero, and TONS more.

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!

Black History Month Songs for Kids

Bulletin Boards