My inspiration for Learning History Through Music came from the frustration I have felt at our increasingly dysfunctional and gridlocked government that no longer seems “of the people, by the people, for the people.” I truly believe that we need the vast majority of people – the everyday people, the “We the People” – for our democracy to survive. To be able to vote is not just a right but a responsibility that gives every person a voice. I want to encourage kids at an early age to understand the important moments of our past so that they, our future leaders, will understand our democratic ideals and be engaged in the process as lifelong participant. Kids never forget the lessons they learn if it comes with a tune they can’t get out of their heads. I have created high quality educational and entertaining materials some of which can be viewed free online and inexpensively accessed by anyone. And the kids have really liked the songs and the rap sections, often finding the songs themselves on YouTube (“We The People” has over 400,000 hits).
The three important historical moments include the Constitution and Preamble, Gettysburg Address and equality, and the important message of the Statue of Liberty to the millions of immigrants who came to this country looking for freedom. These topics are politically front and center today. The book Learning History Through Music for grades K-8, is designed for teachers of Civics, History, Social Studies, English and Music, and includes historical highlights, core–aligned lesson plans, sheet music, 8 different documentary videos and 3 CDs. This helps teachers impart these lessons to their students and start meaningful conversations that are important and relevant today. And these materials can be used across the curriculum, can be performed or simply viewed.
There are over 2 million kids who have no music program in their school. I have spent a great deal of my own time and money creating and producing materials I feel are important for our kids and our democratic future. I am hoping to find a corporate sponsor who could underwrite this program that promotes democratic literacy, particularly for at risk schools. Kids are our future leaders. We need them to understand the fundamental rules of our country by understanding important moments of our past, so they, at an early age, can participate and be engaged in the process.
Check out videos below:
Check out videos below:
“We The People” sings the Preamble to the US Constitution in an uplifting, non-partisan, American Anthem suitable for 6 years old and older to sing. Each element is designed as a teaching or performing tool. All elements are downloadable or available in video, cd, and sheet music formats.
“Four Score And Seven Years Ago” sings part of the Gettysburg Address, deals with questions about equality and the importance of being involved in the political process and touches on Lincoln, the 13th amendment, and the Civil War, voting and taking responsibility for our own lives.
“She Still Carries A Torch” is a song about the Statue of Liberty and immigration, recognizing that Lady Liberty is an important symbol of our democracy and liberty for all those who have come to this country from other lands searching for freedom.
NEW: “Happiness”, a song about the Declaration of Independence.
Welcome to Sandy Wilbur Music and thank you for your interest in Learning History Through Music! I have tried to create exciting music that kids would love to sing while at the same time, teaching them about important moments in our history and important concepts of our American culture and democracy. These songs are not easy, short little pieces. They don’t "talk down" or "sing down" to kids. Rather, they are contemporary and sophisticated. Nevertheless, with "We The People," we learned that children as young as four were not only learning the song but the rap as well - online! We heard from teachers that the kids loved the song and from students that they begged their teachers to play or perform it.
Because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback I have received, I have added two more songs to what I hope will be an ongoing program, "Four Score and Seven Years Ago" which sings part of the Gettysburg Address and teaches about the Civil War, Lincoln, and equality for all Americans, and "She Still Carries A Torch" which speaks to one of the greatest symbols of our freedom – the Statue of Liberty – and the immigrant experience that has been the bedrock of our democracy.
This has truly been a labor of love and I have insisted on the highest quality while at the same time providing teaching materials at the lowest possible cost so that teachers could afford them even when their budgets don’t allow and kids could learn the songs – and their important messages - for free online.
I hope you like these educational music videos and, if you do, please “like” them and pass them on to your teacher friends and any others you think would appreciate them.
Sandy Wilbur, Composer / Producer
Dr. Bisselle has been the head of the K-8 Maple Street School in Manchester, VT for nine years and will take over as head of the Hathaway Brown School in July, 2016. She holds a BA in History from Boston College, an MA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in History from Wesleyan University; and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a concentration in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from the University of Vermont. She is also a trustee of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools that oversees 1800 schools in the US)
Chris Stevenson is a teacher and freelance writer living in New York City. Currently working as a 4th grade associate teacher at Collegiate School, Chris received his B.A. in History from Middlebury College and is now working on his M.A. in American Studies at Columbia University.
Jason Wilbur is CEO of Brave Labs, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. He had been head of Advanced Design for Honda Automobiles and also the creator of the Devon Tread 1 belt-drive watch.
Leon (Pen) is currently director / conductor for the Saturday Night Live band. This takes up a great deal of his time, However, he has made time for these educational projects and others such as his recent credit as string arranger on Katy Perry’s song “The One That Got Away” found on her award winning album “Teenage Dream.” He also mixed the final audio on all three projects at his studio in Westchester County, New York.
The four singers were chosen after a lengthy audition process. They were in third grade when doing “We The People,’ fourth grade for ‘She Still Carries A Torch,” and fifth grade for “Four Score And Seven Years Ago.” All four girls – Katie Kelly (who sings solo), Carrigan Boynton, Madison Greene, and Audrey Anglum are from Vermont.
The rapper, Malachi Best, performed on “We The People” when he was in sixth grade and “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” when in eight grade and comes from New York State. James Reilly, a Vermont eighth grader, joined Malachi for the rap section on “Four Score and Seven Years Ago.”
Dottie’s enthusiasm for the song started this whole project rolling. She taught the music to her fifth grade classes and conducted the premier performance of “We The People” in April, 2011. She is also the music teacher of Malachi Best (rapper). Erin, a professional singer herself, is the music teacher and vocal coach for the four girls who are the singers in both the recording and video. She also conducted in the recording sessions.
Erik Ewers is an Emmy Award winning film editor who has worked with documentary Director Ken Burns for over 20 years. Erik is also Director of his own production company, YourStory Productions, LLC. YourStory's talented staff specializes in capturing the essence of human emotion- a very simple but powerful filmmaking premise- and applies it to all types of visual media: advertising, promotional, educational, internet video and documentary-styled programming. For more information go to www.yourstoryfilms.com.
Bryant Naro has worked on feature films, music videos, live performances, commercials, and television shows. He has worked as an Apprentice Editor at Ken Burns’ Documentary Production company, Florentine Films, and is a member of the Motion Picture Editor's Guild. To see his portfolio, visit www.bnaro.com.
All vocal recording sessions were done at Gary Henry’sNorthern Track Studio in Wilmington, VT.
Julie Coffman is a Graphic Designer with experiences in the last 20 years spanning large scale print and advertising campaigns to more personal touches - creating logo development for small businesses as well as individuals. She also uses her creativity as the Graphic Artist and Producer for YourStory Productions, LLC.