Thank you, Grandpa Jeff, for visiting with your guitar! And . . . traveling musicians and maps (continued).
Jeff - We brought our guitar and we have a lot of songs we can sing together and some things to talk about. We're going to talk about folk music today. Folk music is made up by normal folks like you and me. It comes from all over the world. But we'll talk about American folk songs today. Somebody just makes up a song and decides to sing it to relatives and friends and then some of their friends and relatives sing it and it keeps passing along by word of mouth. Then they think they could add this to the song and this and so it changes. We're not sure who makes up the song but we know it's passed by word of mouth. It tells a story - normally about what was going when they were living. Before there was even electricity, if you wanted music - you didn't have CDs and iPods - you had to sing it yourself and that's why folk music was so important. It was entertainment. One of the most famous things going on in our country was when steam engines or locomotives were invented. Then they needed to build tracks so all the cities were connected and one of the famous songs to come out of that time was "I've Been Working on the Railroad." They were out there shoveling, driving railroad spikes and laying tracks, working all day, and sometimes they sang songs to keep them going.
We sang "I've Been Working on the Railroad."
Jeff - How about another folk song? We got these trains going across the country; there was only one track and it was so far. The cowboys raised the cows in the Southwest part of the country and they had to get them off to the railroad tracks in cars, so they had cattle drives. They'd stop at night and it was dangerous because they didn't have any kind of fence. The cows could escape and so they sang quiet songs around the campfire to keep the cows still. One of them you probably know is "Home on the Range." Then Jeff played "Wagon Wheel" because he knew it was one of our most favorite songs to sing and dance to.
Willa travels on her map.
This was the second day that Willa, Lila, and Grace worked on their maps . . ."a map for places to play music at - a music story." (Lila) Other maps, including one of Washington, DC, were then laid on top of theirs on the overhead projector. Lila said, "two maps, like this!" These maps added complexity; e.g., roads and places of interest like hotels and parks for picnics.
Hadley, Prater, and Ellee soon joined and friends took turns forming bands. They used Mac's guitar, Melanie's ukelele, Joci's guitar (as a stand-up bass!), and various shakers and maracas. Skills like negotiation and listening were practiced as they decided on which songs to perform behind the shadow screen. At one point, while the Brown Room children watched outside our door, Brown Room teacher, Lisa, invited us to "travel" to their classroom to perform.