Education/Outreach: Grades K-4
All of the music presented could potentially be used for performance and the teaching of music fundamentals. For example, pieces in the Ragtime Collection could be used to expose students to this style of American popular music. 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 too difficult to sing at the K-4 level.
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.
Other States in the West
Several songs about other states in the West could be used to make geography lessons for young students a bit more exciting.
Trains to the West
Several songs and piano pieces about trains (and their title page illustrations) can help bring alive travel on the rails for younger students.
- "Railroad Jim" (Western Trails Collection) Lyrics include train sound effects for kids to sing and speak.
- "Route of the Great Big Baked Potato!" (Western Trails Collection) Includes dining car illustrations.
- "San Francisco Bound" (Western Trails Collection) By Irving Berlin; the first verse is most appropriate.