Ah, Country Music. My grandpa loved country music and I grew up in Nebraska where you can’t avoid country music, so I know some country music. (But honestly, I am a much bigger fan of Blue Grass). How about you? Do you like country? I feel like people either love or hate it.
While I like country, since it isn't my go to I wasn't exactly sure where to begin. I wanted to give justice to some basics of Country this week, so I started researching. Y’all. It’s 9:40 on Saturday night. I am suppose to have this done Monday morning. And I try to not work on the weekends. I fell down the rabbit hole of “The history of Country Music- the 16 part series” HARD. And then I COULD NOT decide what was most important! It's all important! Country music has gone from “Hill Billy” music with Jimmy Rogers, the Carter family… to Western Swing, Nashville sound, Outlaw country with Willie Nelson… and So. Much. more. And then, there are the BA women like Kitty Wells, Jean Shepard, and Patsy Cline who helped pave the way for artists like Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and more! I just keep staring at my list of important people, reading articles, and watching more and more and more…
Then my husband pulled me out of my hole and we settled on the 3 artists you will see here. They had a huge impact on Country music while also having their own distinct sound. I hope you enjoy our week on Country.
Monday: Country Music and It’s Instruments!
Let's talk a bit about what country music is! Country music (sometimes called Country & Western) is a form of music that has been enjoyed by people all over the United States for decades. Famous singers from this genre include Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, the Judds, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie and Toby Keith.
Country music's strongest appeal is with American rural and small-town populations, but many American cities have a large audience. The music also has listeners in Canada, in England, and worldwide. The popularity of Country comes and goes with each decade. Sometimes a new movie (like Midnight Cowboy or Urban Cowboy), hit record (like "She Believes In Me" by Kenny Rogers), or new performer (like Randy Travis in the 1980s) raises new interest. " (This is from Kids Encyclopedia Facts, Click HERE to finish the article and see pictures!)
Back in our Back to the Classics blog, we learned about the instruments in the orchestra. This week, we are going to learn about the INSTRUMENTS used in country music. (This link also has music clips for each one!)
Questions to ask
Which instruments are the same
Which are similar to ones we have learned about?
How would you describe their sound?
Activity: Make your guitar and harmonica!
We are going to make our instruments sooner this week so you can try playing along with the music for the WHOLE WEEK (Mom’s, I know you are excited )
HERE is how to make a harmonica!
Tuesday: The Grand Ole Opry.
We can’t learn about country music and singers with out talking about The Grand Ole Opry and it’s place in Country Music history.
“The Grand Ole Opry is one of the oldest and most revered music institutions in the United States (and located within walking distance of the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum). It is kind of a countrified version of the Metropolitan Opera.
This live Nashville-based radio program debuted on Saturday, November 28, 1925, on brand new radio station WSM. Commercial radio itself had started only five years earlier.
WSM was founded by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company of Nashville as a way to advertise its insurance policies. And if you ever wondered what the WSM call letters stood for it was the company’s slogan, “We Shield Millions.”
The show was originally called The WSM Barn Dance, and the first performer heard on the show was a 77-year-old fiddler known as Uncle Jimmy Thompson. Over the next several decades, the Opry would help expose a wide range of other musical talent to the public, including such country megastars as Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Marty Stuart, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood..." "...WSM and the Opry played major roles in establishing the mainstream popularity of country music throughout the United States, as well as in turning Nashville into “Music City USA.” And the history of the Opry is a window to the history of country music itself." (From the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum)
To finish reading the article click HERE
In honor of The Grand Ole Opry, we are going to learn to square dance, just like they used too! But if that’s not your thing, so worries, I gave you options.
I have a couple options for you! Now Square dancing was the original dancing they did at the Grand Ole Opry, but I threw in a few other classics to mix it up:-)
Square dancing for Littles (once they already kinda know)
Hannah Montana! The Hoedown Throwdown
Wednesday: Johnny Cash
"Johnny Cash (born John R. Cash, February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a Grammy Award-winning American musician, actor and author. He is considered one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. He is well known for his country music, his music spanned many other genres, including gospel, folk and rock and roll. Because of this, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. "(Kids Encyclopedia Facts)
HERE is a bit about his life, career and photos.
Now Johnny Cash actually wrote a lot of his big hits himself, and today, we are going to learn how to write song lyrics for ourselves! The Count Music Hall of Fame has a step by step guide to help us out.
Older kids: Check it out the explanation HERE, then follow the links to the booklet (You can’t download it, so you have to stay in that “slide show format”, not the most user friendly, but I LOVE how it explains the parts of a song!
Younger Kids: Start HERE (a song about the parts of a song) Now this project is geared towards older students, so parents, if you have younger, you will have to do most of the work with a little help here and there to come up with rhymes, ideas of what feelings or what story to write about and such.
Thursday Dolly Parton!
Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American, Grammy Award-winning country music singer/songwriter, composer, author, and actress. She has become one of the most successful female country artists in history, with 25 number-one singles (a record for a female country artist) and 41 top-10 country albums (a record for any country artist).
Her 1967 song "Dumb Blonde" was heard by country singer Porter Wagoner, and he asked Parton to be a part of his television show. Her single "Jolene" reached number one in 1974, becoming a solo artist, though still performed and recorded with Wagoner.
Parton is one of the most famous country artists in the world. (This is from Kids Encyclopedia Facts).
Click HERE to read more about her life and career.
HERE is a fun little Interview she did! As you watch it, notice her big hair and makeup. Dolly always wanted to look glamorous and put a lot of thought into her look: Nails, hair, makeup, and outfits. And that’s what you get to do today!
Activity: Design your Album Cover and Costume!
To start, I want you all to pretend you are a famous country singer int he 50's and 60’s. Yesterday, we wrote lyrics to your very own song, and today, I want you to think about your that song (Your number one best seller!) and what type of picture you would want on the front of it’s Album Cover. You can Design it HERE
Now that you have done that, can you design your outfit/ costume? Give it a shot HERE!
Friday: Garth Brooks
Born February 7, 1962, Garth Brooks is an American country music singer and songwriter. He uses rock elements into his recordings and live performances. Brooks was successful in the country singles and country album charts and later also proved popular in the mainstream pop arena, exposing country music to a larger audience.
Brooks has had one of the most successful careers in popular music history, with over 70 hit singles and 15 charted albums to his credit. Throughout the 1990s he broke records for both sales and concert attendance. (This is from Kids Encyclopedia Facts).
To read more click HERE
Fun Food: Biscuits and Gravy
I don't’ know about you guys, but all of this country music made me crave biscuits and gravy. So that’s what we are having this week!
Garth Brooks is doing “Live Request Monday” concerts! You can watch this past weeks HERE, or tune in next Monday to watch it live!
Book Lists: At the button of this page is a book list with music as a theme for Elementary School, Middle School, and Young Adult
History: I fell down the rabbit hole and watched most of this 16 part series on The History of Country Music. All my history nerds will love it. Each section is about 15 min long.