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  • Finally!  America is settled enough as a country that they can start creating and identifying their work as "American made"!


    The country is loosely divided into two areas - lots of people & civilization in the East, and uncivilized, not-as-many-people in the West.  The music reflects that.  


    Western music is easy to learn; chord structure is based on 3 easy chords that any guitar or banjo or easily-transportable instrument could play; lyrics are simple and not necessarily religion-based.  Because people were so spread out and it could take a day or two of riding to get to the neighbor’s house, gatherings were cause for celebrations.


    Eastern music was more England-influenced, such as Washington’s favorite minuet.  Strict guidelines for courting were in place, so getting physically closer on the dance floor was more than frowned upon.

    That's as far as I got before I left to go to the doctor!

  • When I was teaching 5th grade I used so much of this music to trace the progression from Froggy Went A Courtin' to Yankee Doodle to The World Turned Upside Down and, finally, The Star Bangled Banner compared and contrasted to The Battle of New Orleans. Next year, with 3rd Grade, I will still use the concept of songs reflecting daily life, but it will be songs about going up the river every year to hunt moose, berry picking songs, etc. Students can compare village songs recording the small events of daily life to the patriotic songs rousing people to act.

  • "Building a country; which traditions do we keep, which go?"

    Elizabeth said this as she introduced this era and it struck home. I like the easy movements and counting sequences with the waltz. The notion can be applied to the birth and growing up of America. In both the waltz and the"growing pf our nation", there were rules to follow but plenty of room for individuality.

    I would use the waltz often. Teach the basics and then as we move through a certain time period, students could find a song which reflects that period and waltz to it. We could develop a playlist "Waltzing through the Ages". 

    I can see using the Jefferson & Liberty dance as an active ice breaker team building activity. I would divide the class in half, give each group a few copies of the printed dance step instructions, and cut them loose. In 5 minutes, I would play the music (Campbells are Coming) and see what happened. I would then debrief the activity with the following questions:

    What did you just do?

    What skills did you use?

    How did you contribute to the groups success?

    The intent is that each group will identify the need to communicate, actively participate, and have fun! I would then connect these attributes to the time period. Another activity to add to my bag of tricks!

  • I had done a bit last year on Yankee Doodle, and included that it was originally an English melody. After the presentation this morning, I thought it would be neat to expand that and add a few more songs.  I also really liked learning about Chester, as I didn't know it was the first National Anthem. My primary students learn (and the older ones practice) singing the National Anthem every fall, so I will definitely add in the history of the National Anthem and start with Chester.  The Jefferson and Liberty dance is great! It is simple, and a great introduction for reels and for square dancing movements (right/left hand star). I have done the waltz with some of my students before, and some of them love to do it. I want to work more with all of the students, and like the others, get the students "hooked" on the idea that it is ok to dance in a closed position with a partner. I think the waltz, along with a few other dances, is most important for the students to know as they never know when they might have to dance at a wedding or celebration of some sort. If they know the basic steps, they can always come back to it and pick it up again quickly.

  • I had a number of "ah-has" from this session.  I did not know that hoops for skirts/dresses were made from whale bone.  I had never heard of the writer/composer Billings or that our first national anthem was called "Chester."  Crazy!!  Another "aha" I had was that-at least for my school-I don't think the waltz would be a good dance to go with.  Finally, the Jefferson & Liberty was really a fun dance!!

  • I would like to teach the dances we covered and actually have already taught the Virginia Reel to several classes of second and third graders, which is very similar to the Jefferson and Liberty Dance we learned today in class. The Waltz we learned today, or other "hold" dances could be part of a long term dance and music curriculum over the course of a semester or a year, giving time to help all the students learn and grow into the fun of dancing and learning. Also, as a music teacher, I use songs that are to be sung as well as danced to, to expand the students learning   

  • Compared to the last era, I found the waltz much more approachable and enjoyable.  Perhaps that is an interesting point in itself, as it seems to mirror the transition from dancing for the king and queen or as a way to show of your skills and social caste into the "down-home" more relaxed setting of the quadrille from the next era.  The waltz is formal, yet approachable, and I can definitely see it as a waypoint in the evolution of dance in the United States. 

    I could see myself using the Jefferson and Liberty Waltz as a way to lighten the drudgery of the lead-up to the Revolutionary War.  After going through the various molasses, sugar, and stamp acts, why not throw a classroom ball to lighten the mood and get a little movement going?  I think it would be fun to have my more musically passionate students bring in contemporary music waltzes (like the Lifehouse song) that we could practice the steps to.  This would be an easy and fun way to allow them to put their personal stamp on the process. 

    One of the coolest facts I learned from this time period was about George Washington's diplomacy policy mirroring the reel steps.  I want to look more into this!

  •      In these two eras I saw two different forms of dancing: a more individual/partner style and then a group/social style.  Between these two, I am definitely more drawn to the group style.  The waltz was enjoyable, but I definitely think that my second graders will be more drawn to the group dances.  The group dances don't have as much pressure and individuality requirements to them.  I also like the idea of not necessarily having to have a specific partner with the group dances.  This eases that tension of who is going to dance with who.  I can see myself using the Jefferson dance as a team building activity with my students.

  • I accidentally posted my reflection on pre-colonial in this section.  Here's the reflection that truly belongs to this time period:  :)

    As I was reflecting on the class during lunch with a friend who's currently taking the class with me and a colleague who took the class last year, I was thinking about how I might use other parts of the music and dancing (besides Alaska Native history) in my class.  

    Last year I started a "Dancing Fridays" activity where the kids free danced for about a song or two after turning in their math test.  I think it would be fun to tie in aspects of this class with that.  That would require adding more teaching time with the teaching of the dances, but the kids would love doing the waltz with the more modern songs.  I'm sure my subconscious recognized waltz beats in current music, but I never thought about the fact that the time in the same until now.  

    Elizabeth did a "play party" with Colonial type dances at our school last year and people LOVED it!  I would like to try to incorporate what she's teaching into my regular classroom with the Dancing Fridays even if it doesn't necessarily apply to our specific social studies curriculum in third grade.  I'm looking forward to expanding the Dancing Fridays activity next year.

    I find the history of our National Anthem fascinating.  I never knew any of that before.

  • I'm very interested in the resources from ASD to use in my classroom to teach the Alaska studies curriculum that we teach in third grade.  The music from the period has lots of rhythm and repetition.  That should be good for a first time music lesson (on my part) for my students.  

    Renaissance and Baroque Era is an interesting and fun time period to learn about.  The fashions match the music and the style in their level of sophistication.  I enjoy listening to and dancing to the multiple layers of harmony in the pieces from those periods.  

    The contrast of the Native American music to the European Renaissance and Baroque Era is significant.  Having only learned the basics of music history 20 years ago in college, it is fun to re-explore this genre with dance involved as well.

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