History of American Popular Music

History of American Popular Music

Susan Minor
[email protected]
Nashoba Brooks School of Concord

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Information Processing


Middle School


General Music




45 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

How to use key words to do research on the Internet.
Library skills.

NAfME Standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standard of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

NAfME 2014: Responding 

NAfME Standard of 1994: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
NAfME Standard of 1994: Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture

NAfME 2014: Connections


record/tape/CD/video/DVD players


To make history “come alive” by researching popular culture iby decades, from present day, back to mid-1800s.The objective is to see how popular music reflects the times from which it comes, and we can get a glimpse of the past through hit songs of the day.

Each student (or pair of students) is assigned a decade they will research for the following: major world events, cultural climate in US, popular books, plays, dances, and of course, popular music.


Each student presentation takes an entire class.We start with the present and work backwards in time. Students design posters/videos for visual presentation. Popular snngs are listed, listend to, and often sung. Then, discussion on how music has changed from the previous decade: lyrics, melodies, style, tempo.


Evaluation is based on how the student(s) followed the rubrics set up in the assignment.

Students also evaluate each other’s projects.

Follow Up:

Classical music composed in each decade, beginning with today and working backwards.

Prepare and perform music from each decade.

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