Education/Outreach: Grades 9-12
All of the music presented could potentially be used for performance or for the study of musical history and style. For example, pieces in the Ragtime Collection could be used to teach this style of American popular music. Students could explore the differences between ragtime music, art songs of European tradition, or various dance forms, relating the material to different historical and cultural traditions. Students could read, sing, or play from these pieces of sheet music, using topical areas of interest as motivation. See the themes below for ideas on selecting or programming music for performance. Additional materials will be posted in the future to assist the teacher in finding specific songs to use in these areas.
Colorado State Facts
Several pieces of sheet music reflect state pride through using Colorado emblems and symbols in their texts and cover art. They might be a useful aid in teaching state facts and reinforcing Colorado's heritage. A listing of Colorado's emblems and facts is available from the Colorado State Archives website.
State Song: "Where the Columbines Grow" by A.J. Fynn (Colorado Collection) was adopted as the official state song on May 8, 1915. An MP3 Audio file of the song is also available from the Colorado State Archives website. The song is probably within the performance abilities of students in grades 5-8.
State Flower: The illustrations and texts of the following songs focus on the columbine, the state flower. Denver's own musician Henry Houseley composed "Sweet Columbine" (Colorado Collection) in the early 1920s. An earlier example is "Just a Little Spray of Columbine" (Ingram Collection) from 1905.
Two main themes of the Colorado Collection's music are the state's beauty and history. The following two songs offer a musical introduction to the discussion not only of Colorado's natural beauty, but also to the exploration and development of the state.
Pike's Peak: An 1893 expedition to Pike's Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write her most famous poem, "America the Beautiful." Set to music by Samuel A. Ward, this song has become one of our nation's most beloved patriotic songs. Bates' Colorado inspiration is a source of state pride. The music is readily available in most general music textbooks. Click on the link above for a four-part choral arrangement.
"Old Pike's Peak" (Colorado Collection) is a less known song inspired by the same mountain. Its cover and music depicts the excitement felt nationwide regarding this new, previously unknown terrain.
"Our President Roosevelt's Colorado Hunt" (Colorado Collection) from 1908 relates in music one of Theodore Roosevelt's many hunting trips in the West. This song could be used as an introduction to Roosevelt's role in creating the National Forest System, including the Roosevelt National Forest, or conservation of the state in general. See also "When Teddy Hits the West" (Western Trails Collection) for another example.
The lyrics of this song were written by Rosemary "Silver Dollar" Tabor, the second daughter of Horace and Elizabeth "Baby Doe" Tabor. She also published it herself and dedicated it to her father's memory. The song could be used as an introduction to Horace Tabor's incredible life story, the Colorado mining boom of the later nineteenth century, or to Douglas Moore's opera "The Ballad of Baby Doe". Silver Dollar Tabor met Theodore Roosevelt in 1910.
Geography of the West
Several songs about other states in the West could be used to make geography lessons for young students a bit more exciting.
History of Business in Colorado
Much of the music in the Colorado Collection was published in the state, and all of the music in the Ingram Collection was published in Denver. The music provides a local musical context to entrepreneurship in the state in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Publishing: The Ingram Collection contains music published by Tolbert Ingram in Denver during the years from 1900 to 1912. Located far from the major publishers of Tin Pan Alley, Ingram published popular vocal and instrumental music, much of which had a strong local appeal. Publishing ca. 150 titles, his most famous publication is "Where the Silv'ry Colorado Wends Its Way." For more information on this Denver businessman, see the article by Nancy F. Carter, "Early Music Publishing in Denver: The Tolbert Ingram Company." (pdf, 5 MB)
Advertising: "The Girl I Loved Out in the Golden West" is an early Ingram publication. This song could be one of many used to discuss advertising in past times. Notice that an advertisement for another piece of sheet music appears on every page except the front cover, including short one-line ads at the bottom of each page of music. It could be useful to examine this turn-of-the-century source for comparison to advertising today.
Ethnicity in America
African Americans, Native Americans, Creoles, and other minorities have all been portrayed in biased ways in published media. Sheet music is no exception. A lesson on the stereotyped portrayals of some ethnic groups could be enhanced by sheet music illustrations from this collection. Numerous pieces in the Ragtime Collection have cover illustrations which can be used as examples, while others also have lyrics that demonstrate the prejudices against various ethnic groups in history.* While this is important for every grade level to help students learn to avoid bias, appropriate pieces should be selected carefully for younger students. The following are a few examples:
- "Jim Crow Rag" (Rag Collection)
- "Eskimo Rag" (Rag Collection)
- "Creole Belles" (Song version) (Rag Collection)
- "May Irwin's Bully's Song" (Rag Collection)
- "Tony: The Cowboy Whop" (Western Trails Collection)
* The sheet music on this site is presented as a part of the historical record. The topics, illustrations, and language reflect the attitudes and beliefs of earlier times. The University of Colorado does not endorse the views expressed in these collections that may contain materials that are offensive to some readers.
The examples below could be used to enhance history or social studies lessons on the corresponding historical events.
- "Border Blues Rag" (Rag Collection) represents the patriotism that was encouraged by the U.S. government during the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916, aimed at acquiring new lands in the Southwest. The cover depicts only the brightest red, white, and blue, while the lyrics demonstrate the longing of soldiers to be taken back "to good old home sweet home...for I sure have got Them Border Blues." This song demonstrates the American perspective of this event, and could be used in a lesson that examines this part of America's history.
- "The Field of Monterey" (Western Trails Collection) laments the hundreds who died in the Battle of Monterrey on 21 September 1846 in the US Mexican War.
- "The Burning of Frisco Town" (Western Trails Collection) explores the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 in song.
The following examples represent more negative views of the profits and perils of moving West.
- "California As It Is" (Western Trails Collection) portrays the plight of those less successful in the gold rush in this comic song, which is one of the earliest in the Collection.
- "Forged by the Glitter of Gold" (Western Trails Collection) is another look at one who "sold his life for gold."
- "Ten Thousand Cattle Straying" (Western Trails Collection) laments the problems of an unsuccessful cowboy who winds up "dead broke."