Using Music To Teach History And Social Studies

When music is mentioned today, most people immediately call to mind the latest tunes. However, music has a long history that goes back thousands of years and in more recent history, wars and social uprisings. For instance, propagandistic songs during the two world wars were sung by both sides. In addition, you would be hard pressed to find a social justice movement that was not accompanied by songs. To this end, the teaching and learning of history and social studies are rife with songs. This makes music an excellent way of getting students to think about the past. Read on for some suggestions on how you can do so.

How Music Develops

To start with, get students to think about the genre of music they like and how and when it developed. Many music genres that exist today are tied to a particular historical period and even cultural or ethnic group. Why is that so? How has this music developed? How has popular music changed over time and how has that affected what we listen to?

Protest Songs

All throughout history, people have been writing protest songs. Sung as a way to rally support and build camaraderie amongst protestors during the civil rights movement, the American Revolution and more, music is as much a part of history as these protests themselves are. Get students to have a think about the lyrics as well as the tune they are set to. What do they tell you about the past and the circumstances these people lived in?

Propaganda Songs

With protest songs come propaganda songs. Government and military influence would have attempted to cut down on the activity of protestors and to that end, they would have rallied supporters to their own cause. Another set of songs would have emerged. Similarly, picking apart the tunes and lyrics will enable students to get a better idea of the socioeconomic circumstances of the time and enhance their understanding of history through this valuable primary source.

Walk Up Music

If there’s one way to engage with students, it’s to meet them where they are. Think about the music that is played when MLB players walk to the plate, and when NBA players are introduced. Play a few songs from the corresponding era to students and ask them what they think the walk up music of famous historical figures would sound like.

Enhance History and Social Studies Learning with Mind Muzic

Looking for a fun and effective way of teaching history and social studies? Look no further than Mind Muzic’s wide range of educational resources. From historical topics to war lessons, we publish new monthly videos to help your child learn and remember key facts. Our videos are designed to help students achieve better grades and improve retention rates. To this end, all our subscriptions come with personalized playlists and quizzes to enhance learning.

If you have any queries about our educational videos or subscriptions, please feel free to contact us.

Leave a comment