Patriotic Songs at the White House

Opportunity is ripe in this election year for you to share the history of music in the White House with your students.

Music has been an important part of special events at the White House, the official home to the United States presidents and their families since it opened in November 1800. At this stately mansion, music accompanies gala dinners, concerts, dances, caroling groups, lighting of the tree at Christmas, receptions, and other ceremonial occasions.

Patriotic Songs at the White House lesson plan offers background on three patriotic songs that have long been heard in the halls of the White House. While it was written as a general music lesson for middle-level students, you can easily adapt it for younger or older students. Also, some of the music, such as Ruffles and Flourishes, can be adapted for band or orchestra students.

The lesson covers National Standards 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, and includes lots of history and interesting stories for each song’s procedures. Ideas for extension lesson plans (for social studies, musical composition, essay project) are also in the lesson plan.

Supplemental resources include sheet music for The Star Spangled Banner, Hail Columbia, Ruffles and Flourishes, and Hail to the Chief.

Read more about this lesson     Original Author: Marilyn Copeland Davidson


My Music Class, NAfME’s lesson plan and teaching tip library

Music in the White House – current listings/videos

Videos of Past Performances at the White House

List of past shows at the White House from the 70s to today

Web  exclusive clips and entire broadcasts of past performaces from the “In Performance at the White House” series.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, speaks on the importance of arts programs for young people
VIDEO of the event 
(TRANSCRIPT of the speech is underneath the photo image on the above page; it has great quotes for advocacy!)

—Sue Rarus, January 25, 2012, © National Association for Music Education