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U.S. Civil War Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Music soothes the soul, even during times of war. This lesson plan examines the music of the American Civil War. Students will explore the concept through a text lesson and quiz, discussions, and a musical activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • describe how music affected soldiers during the American Civil War
  • identify and explain the purpose of specific instruments in the war
  • discuss four categories of Civil War songs

Length

60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

Materials

Instructions

  • As students enter the classroom, play the audio clip of American Civil War music.
  • Ask them why they think music was important during this time frame.
  • Then explain that they will explore American Civil War music, its history, and impact on society.
  • Distribute the American Civil War Music: History, Songs & Instruments text lesson. Choose a volunteer to read the 'Importance of Music in the Civil War' and 'History and Purpose' sections out loud, and then ask the following discussion questions:
    • Analyze the quote from the New York Herald: ''All history proves that music is as indispensable to warfare as money; and money has been called the sinews of war.''What does this mean?
    • How did music help soldiers in the Civil War?
    • What was the purpose of regimental bands?
  • Select another student to read the 'Instruments' and 'Songs' sections, and pose these discussion points:
    • Identify the three main types of instruments played during the war.
    • Based on the question above, identify when each instrument was utilized in the war.
    • Describe the dual role musicians played during the war.
    • List and explain each song category.
  • Have students read the 'Lesson Summary' independently.
  • Now play another portion of the music audio clip and ask students to identify the instruments; then discuss how they believe the music impacted the soldiers.
  • Pass out the lesson quiz and have students complete it in pairs. Review answers to ensure understanding.

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