Folk Music in American History…and the Music Classroom

Folk Music in American History…and the Music Classroom

As Fourth of July weekend festivities continue across America, I was drawn to the folk music that symbolizes our great freedoms here in America. One cannot look far in the folk music tradition without encountering Pete Seeger, a true icon of this music in the 20th century. Pete passed away this past January, but his impact on the traditional music of our country will last for generations to come. As a tribute to Pete’s legacy, enjoy this video from January 2009 of Pete performing “This Land is Your Land” with his grandson and Bruce Springsteen.

During the school year, what ways do you incorporate folk music into your classroom lessons? I believe that it is important to give students a healthy balance of music from other world cultures and music from their “home” culture.

Share your ideas with us! Comment below with repertoire and lesson ideas that incorporate traditional folk repertoire in the music classroom!


Justin Caithaml

Justin Caithaml teaches 7-12 Choral Music at Midview Local Schools in Lorain County, Ohio. He completed his Orff-Schulwerk Certification at Baldwin Wallace University, Villanova University, and University of the Arts. Caithaml recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baldwin Wallace University, and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of SMART360, an organization dedicated to strengthening elementary students' reading fluency, social skills, and cultural diversity through a creative musical experience. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

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