Sing and Shout! The Study of History and Culture Through Song

December 18, 2013


Sing and Shout! A History of America in Song is a unique approach to a general education course that combines the study of American history with the singing of songs that represent critical times, significant events, and unique cultures in our shared past. A primary goal is for students to understand the use of folk songs as a force for social change, as an expression of spirituality, and as means to build community in the lives of underrepresented populations, thus broadening and enriching their understanding of American history and culture. The communal singing process, the oral transmission of songs, and improvisation and creativity are woven into the instructional process in an effort to provide a comprehensive experience built around authenticity and culture. This article explores content, structure, and modes of instruction enhanced by personal reflections that may assist others in developing community of learners with a deeper understanding of and sensitivity to cultural diversity.


It's a Monday morning and the class is large and noisy. A group of six highly animated university students are standing in a circle surrounded by their 50 classmates. They begin to sing their unique version of the children’s singing game “London Bridge is Falling Down” that blends elements of contemporary dance music and hip-hop with the traditional melody. They add foot-stamping, off-beat clapping and hip gestures to the singing-game movements. Their classmates respond enthusiastically with shouts, responses, and rhythmic clapping and affirm their efforts by applauding loudly at the conclusion of the game.

It’s Monday morning. What just happened? What brought this vigorous engagement to students who typically sleep, text, or tweet during lectures? What could possibly bring joy to 18 to 22 year-olds singing and acting out children’s songs in a university classroom? What could they possibly be learning?

These students are a part of an innovative general education course, Sing and Shout! A History of America in Song, at the University of Connecticut, that shifts some of the content delivery from the presentation of sequential lectures to creative expression using one of the oldest forms of communication, the song. The idea is to integrate academic study, performance, and song writing in order to develop a deeper and richer understanding of our shared history and cultural diversity. American folk history is as varied as it is rich with clearly defined features.1 Communal singing, that includes songs and singing styles transmitted via the oral tradition, and improvisation grounded in creativity are woven into the instructional process to provide a comprehensive experience built around authenticity and culture. This article explores course content, structure, and modes of instruction, enhanced by personal reflections, which result in new perspectives for the students and the instructor.

So, who are these students? Where does music fit into their lives? How can one structure a course to meet their changing needs? How can we ensure that the instructional experiences students receive will accurately reflect the realities of the cultures studied?


Many of the students enrolled in American universities were “millennials,” a term for those born in or after 1982.2 Raines described millennials as “sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and achievement-oriented.”3 They also were digitally connected and accustomed to very high degrees of sensory and mental stimulation. As the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital media, they spent an average of six and a half hours a day juggling multiple data points from cell phones, MP3 players, computers, and televisions.4 They created their own “virtual communities” through social networking sites and “virtual environments” to form vast libraries of information, music, video, and art, available to them with the touch of a finger or the click of a mouse.

This “new student” brought with them new challenges for those of us in higher education who taught them. Lectures, rote-memory exercises and single-media learning have been useful in the past and can still be useful, at times, today. However, the “new student” learning style may require that traditional teaching methods be modified or abandoned.5 These modified approaches to instruction tend to shift focus to a learner-centered approach that also incorporates active-learning strategies6 aimed at expanding the breath and depth of student learning.7 Rendón suggested that learning should strive to be authentic, collaborative, creative, and reflective,8 thus fostering skills that the National Center on Education and Economy stated are needed in the 21st century.9 This sets the tone for some new thinking about what we do as professors and how we do it. So, where does music in higher education fit?

To be fair, many of us, both individually and collectively, have tried to adapt to changing needs by updating and modifying our instructional techniques. However, with minimal research being published on teaching music in higher education, there are few models to follow.10 Don, Garvey, and Sadeghpour suggested that there might be several reasons for this. For example, those involved in music education were leading the way in research on music teaching and learning, but their efforts primarily were geared toward elementary and secondary education. Other music faculty might choose to publish in their area of expertise or have time-consuming careers as professional performers. Furthermore, not all terminal degrees in music address scholarly inquiry. And, they noted that overall, scholarship in teaching and learning in higher education was a relatively new field.11

There is, however, an interesting light emanating from one sector of the academic music community. Recent publications by theory faculty have focused on “modes of instruction that foster creativity, including cooperative and collaborative methods, compositions assignments and use of improvisation in the classroom.”12 And, the recent book Teaching Music in Higher Education by Conway and Hodgman addresses these and other facets of music teaching from the studio to the general education course with sections on “Course Planning and Preparation” and “Issues in Teaching and Learning.” My own teaching experiences fall within these parameters.

For the first 15 years of my academic career I taught courses in vocal music education to upper-level undergraduate music majors and graduate students. The philosophic approach that I used emphasized the importance of the voice as the primary instrument13, the value of singing for all ages and the use of traditional songs to broaden the cultural-studies approach to music education.14 Three features were critical to this approach: (1) Students learn to develop music skills by immersion, imitation, and sequential music reading; (2) they weave historical, cultural, and performance constructs together into a whole; and (3) collective teaching methods must facilitate opportunities for creative expression, analysis, and reflection. These have been the skills required to meet the National Standards for Music Education.15

Over time, I realized that I wanted to create a new university course that would use singing as an artistic means to develop cultural understanding and to make this experience available to all university students, not just music majors. To do this, it became immediately clear that relying solely on the traditional lecture-oriented approach would be inadequate since music-making is rarely included in this format.16The task of music-making usually falls to performing ensembles that are concert-oriented; however, ensembles often limit participation through auditions that define an exclusive group, many of whose members have benefited from a strong high school music program, private instruction, or both. The challenge was how to integrate lectures with music-making in a way that would be informational, experiential, and engaging.

In 2005, with support from a university grant for the development of original general education courses, I created the course: Sing and Shout! A History of America in Song. In Sing and Shout! all students were welcome, regardless of previous musical experience or skill. Students participated actively by making music in every class, and writing and sharing their own music. The musical content had to be accessible to all, and American folk music—especially folk songs—seemed to be the perfect choice.

The goal for Sing and Shout! was not simply to learn a collection of folk songs. Far more important was to have students gain experiential knowledge of the various diverse cultures and events in American history by their active participation in music-making. University students were familiar with many types of music, but few were aware of the wealth of American folk songs, of family or community singing traditions, or of the oral traditions of their ancestors; therefore, singing these “musics” in class became the core of their experience. But there were other benefits, benefits that extended beyond the boundaries of intellectual fact. Experiential learning, in this case singing repeatedly over the course of the semester, introduced students to the emotional impact associated with the songs they were singing. This provided a context for understanding how people responded to events and conditions in history, how music was connected to contemporary life and social justice, and how new songs were created in traditional styles. These strategies formed the basis for an active-learning culture.

Content and Structure

Sing and Shout! was a seminar, a participatory performance class, and a songwriting course all in one. Historical material was presented with a wide-angle lens, through lectures, videos and readings. Music was experienced intimately, through group singing, listening, moving, and responding. The creative heart of the course was two songwriting projects built around traditional folk genres and styles. At every juncture, reflective practice was included. Goals and objectives were broad and addressed knowledge, skills, and understandings (see Figure 1).

a-figure1Figure 1. Goals and objectives of Sing and Shout!























The course satisfied two general education requirements: (1) Arts and Humanities and (2) Diversity and Culture. There were no music prerequisites. All, however, were expected to sing. Enrollment was capped at 60. Classes met weekly for a two-hour lecture-demonstration and in groups of 20 for a one-hour discussion class led by a graduate assistant. Evaluation was distributed between projects (50%), assignments and examinations (40%) and participation (10%).

The course content blended cultural streams from the British Isles, Europe, West Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Native American traditions. There was no textbook for the course; readings came from a variety of sources (see Figure 2). Recordings and videos, for example, were available from the online Blackboard site or websites such as “YouTube” or “Folkstreams: A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures” ( The song types included ballads, singing games, play parties, work songs, spirituals, corridos, calypso, and son, with powerful messages that represent important periods in history or underrepresented cultural groups.17

b-figure2Figure 2. Selected course readings.






















Active-learning strategies based on the folk tradition under study included (1) oral tradition – the transmission of songs from person to person and generation to generation; (2) communal singing–that eliminate the division between performer and audience; and (3) improvisation/creativity–outlets for personal expression within a communal tradition. A critical component of the entire process was having students to reflect on the content, experiences, and instructional process in their group projects, final essays, teacher-constructed formative evaluations and university-sponsored course evaluations.

Oral Tradition

In The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA, McLucas asserted that, “the power of American music exists chiefly in its oral traditions.”18 For the most part, American folk songs were transmitted orally, without the use of notation, because they tended to be “short, simple, concise and repetitive.”19 Teaching the “oral tradition” also linked past practice with current music learning styles, since most young people have learned to sing their favorite songs by ear and were rather good at it.

The class began with students tapping, moving, clapping, and singing along with Bruce Springsteen on “Pay Me My Money Down.”20 For the final chorus, singing continued as the recording was muted and voices fill the room. Next was “Over My Head,” an African American spiritual, sung in call and response style.21 This group-singing tradition was familiar to many and the comfort level rises. Some boldly accepted the challenge to create new lyrics and harmonies. A positive energy filled the room, which set the tone for the rest of the semester.

Learning songs orally, either from a person or from field and commercial recordings, made it easier to imitate the vocal quality of the source, whether it be nasal, pure, rich, or whatever its timbre. Oral transmission from an authentic source also helped to develop vocal styles particular to a culture that include sliding and bending tones, anticipation of notes, and addition of embellishments, as well as other adjustments. As one explored the vocal styles of different cultures an awareness of the power of the voice and its ability to express a full range of emotions developed in a variety of ways.

There were several reasons why notation was not used, either as a part of the oral tradition or in the course. First, notation provided only a snapshot of the song, sung in a certain way, at a given time. Some may think it was the “correct” version, thereby limiting the singer’s proclivity for improvisation and the understanding of how folk songs change over time. Second, notational systems rarely represented well the subtle aspects in folk performance that were integral to the style, thereby ignoring the expressive elements of the tradition. Perhaps most important to this course was that notation potentially could create boundaries between those who could read music and those who could not, thus defeating the premise of the course by restricting participation to a select few.

Instead, lyrics for longer songs were written on electronic slides with sustained words or syllables underlined to provide a feeling of meter and rhythm (see Figure 3). Grades were based on participation and knowledge of song lyrics rather than on accuracy of singing. When unencumbered by the constraints of notation, pitch accuracy, or assessment, the voice emerged more freely as an instrument for expression and exploration. For example, one young man sang a gospel solo for the class. His tonal center shifted and the melody fluctuated, but his singing was heartfelt and elicited an enthusiastic response from the class. To them, the emotional commitment to the song was more important than pitch accuracy.

c-figure3Figure 3. Sample lyric sheet.







Communal Singing

Communal singing, also known as community singing, occurred when a number of people sang familiar songs together in an unrehearsed way.22 Communal singing might take place during religious rituals, celebrations, patriotic ceremonies, sporting events, family gatherings or other formal or informal occasions. These participatory experiences were often quite powerful as voices were united in song for a specific purpose based on shared values, behaviors, or beliefs.

The communal singing of folk songs was the perfect vehicle for giving a voice to underrepresented minorities, enabling singers to reflect on their status and circumstances. These voices included those of women, African Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans and others. Many of those who have been successful at doing this agree. Bernice Johnson Reagon, renown singer and social activist, believed that: “You cannot sing a song and not change your condition.”23 Likewise Arthur C. Jones argued persuasively that the “very power of singing—any singing—to support the process of emotional transformation” allowed people to express their attitudes and feelings and strengthens their common bonds.24

In Sing and Shout!, communal singing provided a means to recreate the music of another period or culture, to develop as sense of community with peers and to experience firsthand the feelings of inspiration, kinship, and joy—to be emotionally transformed—when voices were joined together in song. By inviting participation right from the start, the class immediately became lively and interactive. As an icebreaker activity, students recalled lyrics to nursery songs, camp songs, and other songs from the past to create a common repertoire. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” a song they all remembered from childhood television, was sung with great enthusiasm. The experience of uniting their voices in a familiar song from their own past provided part of the foundation for learning about music from other periods and cultures.

As the semester progresses, students were engaged in varied active-learning experiences built around communal singing. For example, one class session focused on Anglo-American singing games that traditionally have been an important part of childhood culture such as “Farmer in the Dell,” “London Bridge,” and “A Tisket, A Tasket.” Continuous singing was needed to keep the game moving in order to move through the sequence of actions needed to reach “the end.” “Winners” were cheered while “losers” were teased, in a friendly way. It appeared that all were reliving the joy of childhood—but many never have played these, or any other singing games, before.

Another class session focused on play parties, a unique American folk tradition that came about in the mid 19th century. According to Spurgeon in “Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party,” play parties appealed to teenagers and young adults who were seeking alternate activities due to religion restrictions against dance.25 He explained that play parties typically were more sophisticated than singing games, have more verses and might replicate square-dancing movements. Course readings provided students with a basic understanding of the play party tradition. However, by singing “Skip to My Lou” and “dancing” with a partner or several, they began to appreciate the play party as a means of entertainment both for young adults in the past and those in the present.

Participation in African American ring plays provided a deeper understanding of African American culture and also strengthens bonds. Students learned that the roots of ring plays were found in traditions from West Africa and from enslaved African Americans that included call and response, syncopation, and improvisation.26Ring plays in America provided a means for those suffering from slavery or its aftermath to be liberated in play. For example, in “Little Johnny Brown,” the lead singer directed the interaction between the circle (i.e., the community) and the center player, who moved freely according to the lyrics, enticed a partner, and improvised motions.27 This collaborative interplay united members as they worked through dramatic confrontations and concerns with joy, humor, and an element of seriousness to make it “all come out right.”28

As we engaged in ring plays in class, students quickly realized that more was expected of them here than in Anglo-American singing games or play parties that had a prescribed sequence of actions. Ring plays, on the other hand, required spontaneous thinking and creative ideas as students acted out roles and improvise lyrics and body movements. For some, this role was liberating, for others, terrifying; but whoever was in the center felt somewhat vulnerable; therefore, affirmation from the community was needed. It was interesting to watch as students in the center became stronger, more liberated and more creative with community support. No one yet had ever made teasing or disparaging remarks during this transformation. Why not? Because the students understood that the ring play was not just a light-hearted game but a unifying cultural experience that connected people from two continents over several centuries. By experiencing the ring play, they were more apt to respect this tradition, the people who created the tradition and each other.

Through communal singing and engaging in singing games, play parties, and ring plays, the class developed a sense of community based on trust, respect, and support, much like the communities they study. Embedded in these activities was the realization that communal singing as experiential knowledge was equally as valuable as textbook knowledge as a means to develop an awareness and understanding of a particular culture. Sometimes songs were sung first to inspire the students to complete the reading assignments. At other times, readings provided a context for the singing experiences. Ultimately, however, there was the recognition that songs have an inherent social significance reflected in their history, musical structure, and lyrics that united the community, making members feel supported and connected and provided a means to explore cultural values and traditions.

Creativity and Improvisation

A folk song might change over time as it was molded by new generations of singers. Many folk songs tended to be “short, simple, concise and repetitive,” qualities that made them easy to memorize.29 By learning songs orally, it was easy for a song to be adapted, either by choice or through incremental “forgettings” and substitutions. Folk song variants were created by these circumstances. Variants might develop over a short or long period of time and for a variety of reasons, including the broadening of geographical boundaries and acculturation of the song into new styles.30 However, this tendency was not universal. Some cultures strived to maintain unadulterated musical traditions. Thus, the stylistic elements for each tradition were studied to differentiate between those that included improvisation and those that did not, and to respond accordingly.

In the class, creativity was embraced from the beginning. Writing new lyrics, improvising harmonic and melodic variations and constructing song endings were all exploratory experiences designed to build scaffolding that supported trust. They also laid the foundation for creative energies in and for two cooperative group projects, one based on the broadside ballads tradition and the other, singing games, and play parties.31

Broadsides developed in the mid-sixteenth century in the British Isles where stories and opinions about current events were set to familiar ballad melodies. For this project, each group wrote a contemporary broadside ballad about an issue or current event of interest set to one of three ballad tunes. Topics were chosen cooperatively within the group and lyrics were developed in brainstorming sessions, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages. These broadsides were then published either in traditional style, on a single sheet of paper with illustrations, or electronically, on slides. Song sharing and group reflections were the final steps in the project.32

The second project was based on the premise that folk songs changed over time. The goal was to create a contemporary variant of an Anglo-American singing game or play party. Each group updated a traditional singing game (e.g., “Little Sally Water”) or a play party (e.g., “Skip to My Lou”) using a contemporary musical style, with the lyrics and games that reflected contemporary life. A log documented the creative process, which concluded with song-sharing and group reflections.


One goal of Sing and Shout! was to acquire a deeper understanding of the history and culture by participating in folk singing traditions in an academic setting. Participatory music-making and the associated creative activities required a substantial amount of class time; therefore, less content was covered than via traditional methods in lecture-based courses. However, the act of being actively engaged in recreating cultural traditions seemed to motivate learning (see Figure 4A), enriched understanding of people and their circumstances (see Figure 4B), and deepened understanding of the role of music in uniting people (see Figure 4C).

d-figure4Figure 4. Sample final examination responses.

















Group projects provided the rare opportunity for students in a general education course to collaborate on an artistic product. The broadside ballads have ranged from clever and funny—such as parking challenges at the university—to poignant and moving on subjects such as sexually transmitted diseases, suicide, and drunk driving, with chilling statistics incorporated into the lyrics or slides. As this process unfolds, students learned to discern between events that provided lasting stories and those that disappeared quickly and to share their point of view in a way that engaged and moved their colleagues. Group singing fostered both an intellectual and emotional response that strengthened that commitment to an issue (see Figure 5).

e-figure5Figure 5. Sample group ballad reflection.










The variant project has been an overwhelming favorite, every semester. This was due, in part, to the students’ familiarity with contemporary music styles and the issues addressed (e.g., hip-hop, country, pop, heavy metal, etc.). By playing the original game or play party repeatedly students learned to let changes emerge organically, an approach that replicated how changes happen over time in the original cultural context. By negotiating timing, tempo, rhythm, lyrics, melody and movements, a unique singing game or play party was created that appealed to a wide age group. Logs provided a record of the creative process as new ideas emerged, with some saved and others discarded, but all treated with respect. The singing game, “A Tisket A Tasket” became a hip-hop song “A Laser A Tazer,” about the latest cell phone at the time and “Little Sally Water” became “ Sally Dance” when blended with Justin Timberlake’s “Rock My Body” (see Figure 6).

f-figure6Figure 6. Sample variant projects.

























Reflective writing provided a means to “articulate what was learned.”33 As a part of reflective practice final essays addressed whether or not perspectives about a specific culture have been modified as a result of participation in the course. Students shared their assumptions about one culture covered in class (e.g., Anglo American, Counter-culture, African American, Tejano, Native American, Cuban, or Trinidadian) and then described how their perspective might have been influenced by readings, lectures, and experiences.

Sadly, although the “institution of slavery” was taught in numerous high school and university American history classes, information about “slave culture” seldom was shared. Yet the culture was what defined the people. Culture included music, arts, customs, and beliefs, all of which were interrelated. For example, learning that slave traders sought Africans who were skilled in specific farming techniques such as rice cultivation brought another level of awareness (see Figure 7A). The coded messages in African American spirituals changed perceptions of slaves from being victims to being incredibly resourceful people who devised intricate ways to communicate under dire circumstances (see Figure 7B). The preservation of cultural traditions from Africa and adaptation of these traditions to reflect current circumstances gave new meaning to the importance of cultural identity (see Figure 7C). And awareness of the Gullah people brought about a respect for their numerous contributions to African American culture and our American society (see Figure 7D).

g-figure7Figure 7. Sample final essays.
























Instructor Reflections

In developing Sing and Shout! I recognized immediately my own need to develop new pedagogical and musical skills. Initially, I worked closely with the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Connecticut to organize content, structure, and assessments, and studied “Understanding By Design” to create course experiences that “make ideas real” through authentic music-making, group assignments, and reflective practice.34 Participation in the Natural Voice Workshop Leadership Training led by Frankie Armstrong at Kinnersley Castle, Herefordshire, England broadened my vocal ability so that I could more accurately reflect diverse folk styles.35 In addition to these studies, I learned how to organize seamless electronic presentations that integrate course content with audio, video, and other visuals for weekly lectures.

When I developed Sing and Shout! colleagues questioned whether students who were not music majors would actually sing and any males would join. I, too, had these concerns. However, the first class of freshmen students welcomed every music activity with energy and enthusiasm, which set the standard for subsequent classes (see Figure 8A). Course enrollment typically is at capacity, with 40-60% males—who sing.

h-figure8Figure 8. Sample formative assessment responses.











Each semester there were students who struggle with pitch--some sing softly, others in full voice. However, all were embraced regardless of skill. Those more experienced students openly encouraged and assisted the novices. Assessments have not indicated that anyone has felt marginalized for lack of singing ability. Quite the opposite, some have mentioned finding their voices for the first time (see Figure 8B).

On a personal level, if I were to model behaviors that would encourage sensitivity and awareness, I had to examine my own fears, habits, and biases. I openly shared that we were on this “journey” together as a community of learners to explore American history and culture through song. I tried to be flexible, open-minded, supportive and understanding (within reason) because then students were more apt to ask questions, offer ideas, take risks and work to meet the academic and artistic standards for the course. And, once students discover the fascinating relationship between song and history in America, their curiosity tended to increase.

I ended with an “essential teaching question”: What difference does this course make in the lives of my general education students?36 So far, the results have been greatly encouraging and justify the basic premise of the course—that participatory musical experiences can inspire learning about and understanding of American history and culture. Equally important, these experiences seem to be “valuable for the processes of personal and social integration that make us whole.”37 With sincerity and joy, the students have shared their musicality and creativity, bringing a new dimension to a general education course by becoming a genuine community of learners who have deeper understanding of themselves, more respect for others, a broader awareness of history and more confidence in their creative abilities. And thus, the folk tradition known as “communal re-creation” continues in a large university classroom with twenty-first century millennials.

To this day, Sing and Shout! has remained one of my most influential and creative classes (Gabrielle Reynolds, unsolicited email message to author, May, 9, 2013).

Acknowledgements: Funding to design this course was provided by a University of Connecticut Provost General Education Course Development Grant.



1“American” is used in the pan-American sense rather than relating solely to the United States.

2Howe and Strauss, Millennials Rising.

3Raines, Connecting Generations, 172.

4Gallagher, Rapt.

5Conway and Hodgman, Teaching Music in Higher Education. Frand, “The Information Age Mindset,” 14-24. Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do.

6Bonwell and Eison, Active Learning.

7Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design.

8Rendón, Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy.

9National Center on Education and Economy. Tough Choices or Tough Times.

10Conway and Hodgman, Teaching Music in Higher Education, xi.

11Don, Garvey, and Sadeghpour, “Signature Pedagogies in Music Theory and Performance,” 93-94.

12Ibid, 88.

13Lois Choksy. The Kodaly Method I: Comprehensive Music Education.

14Dunbar-Hall, “Colliding perspectives? Music Curriculum as Cultural Studies,” 33-37.

15Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, National Standards for Arts Education.

16Music-making refers to “singing, moving, chanting, playing instruments, listening, composing, creating and improvising” Conway and Hodgman, Teaching Music in Higher Education, 123.

17The corrido is a narrative song about current events (similar to a broadside ballad) sung in Spanish. Son is the quintessential Afro-Cuban musical form that refers both to a song and dance style. Calypso is a style of Afro-Cuban music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago and also a song in this style.

18McLucas, The Musical Ear, 1.

19Nettl, Folk Music in the United States, 32.

20Springsteen, Bruce. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (SONY BMG Music Entertainment, 2006).

21Cadwell, African American Music, 37.

22“community singing” Miriam-Webster, accessed January 15, 2012 from

23Pellett, The Songs are Free.

24Jones, “Sweet Chariot: The Story of the Spirituals.”

25Spurgeon, Waltz the Hall, 6.

26Price, Kernodle, and Maxile, Encyclopedia of African American Music, 347.

27Jones and Hawes, Step It Down, 92.

28Ibid., xv.

29Nettl, Folk Music in the United States, 32.

30Ibid., 33.

31Cooperative groups work on instructor-designed projects; collaborative groups work by consensus. Elizabeth Barkley, et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques, 5.

32For more information on the broadside ballad project see Junda, “Broadside Ballads.”

33Conway and Hodgman, Teaching Music in Higher Education, 121.

34Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design, 233.

35For more information on the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, see

36Ciccone, “Forward,” xiii.

37Turino, Music as Social Life, 1.




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Bonwell, Charles C., and James A.Eison. “Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom.” AEHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: Jossey Bass, 1991.

Caldwell, Hansonia. African American Music: Spirituals, 3rd ed. Culver City, CA: Ikoro Communications, 2003.

Choksy, Lois. The Kodaly Method I: Comprehensive Music Education, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Ciccone, Anthony A. “Forward” in Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind edited by Regan A.R.Gurung, Nancy L.Chick and Aeron Haynie, xi-xvi. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2009.

Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. National Standards for Arts Education. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1994.

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Dunbar-Hall, Peter. “Colliding Perspectives? Music Curriculum as Cultural Studies. Music Educators Journal, 91(4), 2005, 33-37.

Frand, Jason L. “The Information Age Mindset: Changes in Students and Implications for Higher Education.” EDUCAUSE Review Magazine 35(5), 2000, 14-24.

Gallagher, Winfred. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2009.

Howe, Neil, and William Strauss. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.

Jones, Bessie, and Besss Lomax Hawes. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs and Stories from the African-American Heritage. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Jones, Arthur C. “Sweet Chariot: The Story of the Spirituals.” The Spirituals Project, (2004).

Junda, Mary Ellen. “Broadside Ballads: Social Consciousness in Song,” in General Music Today, 26 (3) (2013): 18-24.

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National Center on Education and the Economy. Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006.

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Pellett, Gail (Director). The Songs are Free: Bernice Johnson Reagon and African-American Music. Public Broadcasting System, 1991.

Price, Emmett G., Tammy L. Kernodle, and Horace J. Maxile. Encyclopedia of African American Music, vol. 3. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011.

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Turino, Thomas. Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Wiggins, Guy, and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2005.


9334 Last modified on March 6, 2019