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


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.



  • 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.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account