Cello There: The Funny Side of Music Education

Music Education has a whimsical side to it. Music teachers and student musicians get to see the funny in class and rehearsals. Cello There takes all of this and puts it in one place where we can see a new set of Music Education Funnies every weekday by Gregory Pavliv and MusicTeachingGuru.com

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Labor Day Lesson Plan for Music Teachers and the Forgotten Massacre

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Labor Day Lesson Plan for Music Teachers and the Forgotten Massacre

This entire activity can be a great opening year activity for music class. Start with the overview discussion, share the music and use the video if you wish to expand. This is a wonderful opportunity for music teachers to complete a cross-curricular lesson. And if you add a five minute writing prompt such as ‘my musical choices for the real Labor Day’, it’s meeting all your requirements. TIP: start at the bottom of this page and watch the Smithsonian video on the music of the American Labor Movement which gives the perspective needed to lead the discussion with your music students.  Here are talking points to serve as the basis of a discussion regarding the origin of Labor Day. 


Simply, Labor Day is a holiday that celebrates the American Labor Movement. The little spoken of background to our annual day off is a little darker. President Grover Cleveland first created the holiday to occur on May 4th as of 1886. And it was in commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre. The massacre (sometimes called the Haymarket Affair) occurred during a peaceful protest in Chicago where laborers were protesting for an eight hour workday. A dynamite bomb exploded, killing 11 and wounding countless others.  The date of our holiday was later switched to September and in so doing, we’ve forgotten


Play the beginning of each song and stop whenever ready to prompt a discussion on how the music (and lyrics) serve the memory of Labor Day versus the actual purpose of the song.

Dolly Parton, "9 to 5"


Sam Cooke, "Chain Gang"


The Kinks, "Get Back in Line"



Joe Glazer discusses music in the American Labor Movement (Smithsonian Folkways Video)


Question for YOU, what are some modern songs your students know that we can tie to the Labor Movement?

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Guest Tuesday, 20 November 2018

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