Elementary School Music

Values & Social Justice

Posted in Repertoire, Values & Social Justice by P. Conrad on May 20, 2006
Teaching music is partly about social studies, whether or not this aspect is made explicit in every lesson. Songs composed especially to deliver a lesson about social values are sometimes weak choices for children’s music, both lyrically and musically — and sound like summer-camp songs from the 1960s. Here are a few exceptions:
  • Family Tree by Tom Chapin and John Forster is wordy, but fun to sing and think about. MP3 sample at amazon.
  • Yo quiero comes from the Inter-American Children’s Institute. The IIN multimedia page has animated video and lyrics (see “I Wish”) but our translation of  Leonardo Croatta’s lyrics are a little better. There’s also a YouTube version. Both videos use the recording by Uruguayan candombe star Ruben Rada (he’s the 2011 Lifetime Achievement award-winner of the Latin Recording Academy). The MP3 is a little hard to find as a download, but it’s worth looking for.
  • Don’t Laugh at Me is the centerpiece of an anti-bullying curriculum called Operation Respect.
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