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Patriotic Music Lesson


Patriotic Music & Poems

A country's music can tell you much about the country. Music can shape one's emotions, sense of nationalism, and give a feeling of pride of one's home. Our leaders and other countries share national anthems and other patriotic music in diplomatic events to show individuality of each country and at the same time show unification of a person's culture and people.

How exciting it is to watch the award ceremonies of the Olympics! As the three flags go up, and the gold medalist's national anthem is played, the love for one's country is obvious! The smiles, the cheers, and the emotional tears give honor not only to the champion, but also their countrymen and women.

As we've been studying our nation's beginnings and it's important documents, we thought it important to also learn about music that tells of our country's honor ~ Patriotic Music!!

Find below videos of many of our favorite American patriotic songs, descriptions of the song's stories and their composers, and educational materials for teachers and students!

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. ~ Psalm 33:10-12

  • Patriotic Music & Sing-Alongs
    Find free MP3 and wav downloads for the following patriotic songs and performers at above link: ~ America the Beautiful by Ray Charles and Elvis Presley ~ God Bless America by Celine Dion, Leann Rimes, and Kate Smith ~ God Bless the USA by Lee Green
  • Patriotic Music
    Information on many songs.
  • *Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music
    In two categories 1820-1860 and 1870 - 1885 from the Library of Congress ~ Free sheet music from the time period to download!
  • *Popular Songs in American History
    Listed by years and events ~ a short history of the piece, lyrics, and some recordings ~ 1800's listings: War of 1812, Early 1800's to the Civil War, Civil War, Post Civil War, Gold Rush & Western Journey, Cowboys
  • Patriotic Midi Music
    Listen to a large assortment of patriotic songs here.
  • Patriotic Songs
    Midi's and lyrics
  • America
    Patriotic and Inspirational resources for learning
  • National Songs
    "Learn the words and history of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful. Your child will create collages to illustrate the Pledge and America the Beautiful, as well as design his or her own starry banner. A bookm
  • Patriotism
    "Learn the meaning of patriotism and ways to show patriotism. Children will also hear stories about Americans patriots that left lasting marks on our country, email a thank you note to an American soldier, and make patriotic crafts to share with fami
  • Patriotic Songs for the 4th of July!
    Check out these great summaries and videos of modern country and rock Patriotic songs by ThomasC at WebNuggetz!

Songs of the USA

The Star Spangled Banner - America's National Anthem

Star Spangled Banner - Francis Scott Key / John Stafford Smith

Originally entitled "Defense of Fort McHenry", this stirring poem was written by Georgetown lawyer Francis Scott Key after observing the Battle of Baltimore between the British and American forces during the War of 1812 in Baltimore, Maryland on September 13 - 14, 1814.

Mr. Key had been sent aboard one of the British battleships to help free a civilian prisoner. He was successful, but was not to be released until after the battle because the British knew he could ruin their surprise attack plans. Therefore he observed the long battle from the British side. After seeing the "rockets red glare" and hearing "the bomb's bursting in air" "through the night" he was not aware of the condition of "what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming" (flag) through the smoke and confusion. He knew if the Americans were defeated, the flag would be down, but if it were still "streaming gallantly", the Americans had survived the hard battle. Imagine his excitement when he saw "by the dawn's early light", the "broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight" and it "gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there"! The battle was won and "that Star Spangled Banner yet" waved, "o're the land of the free, and the home of the brave"!

English composer John Stafford Smith titled the tune we use for the SSB, "Anacreontic". Composed while Smith was in his teens in the 1760's, its original lyrics and meaning are completely different than how we refer to the music today. The tune's lyrics had been changed several times over the years, and the tune was a popular one at the time in America. It was Mr. Key's brother-in-law, Judge Nicholson, who put the tune and the lyrics together the first time.

The original garrison flag sewed by Mary Pickersgill and her team of seamstresses was to be displayed 90 feet in the air and seen at very far distances. The dimensions of this humungous flag were 30 feet by 42 feet with each star being 2 feet in diameter and each strip12 feet long! The fifteen stars and stripes were to represent the original 13 colonies plus Vermont and Kentucky. The flag that we now know as the "Star Spangled Banner" was delivered to Fort McHenry in August of 1813. That original flag from the battle is displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, USA for all to see.

Stars & Stripes Forever

Stars & Stripes Forever

The Stars & Stripes Forever

John Phillip Sousa

"Hurrah for the flag of the free.

May it wave as our standard forever

The gem of the land and the sea,

The banner of the right.

Let despots remember the day

When our fathers with mighty endeavor

Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,

That by their might and by their right

It waves forever."

From the talented pen of John Phillip Sousa comes this national favorite always played at every 4th of July celebration, parades, and fireworks displays! What American doesn't feel that sense of exited pride well through them hearing the brass, percussion, and winds on one of the most familiar tunes in the country? It's bouncy, enthusiastic beat truly makes one want to march along with the military and marching bands. Featured at the end is the mightiest of piccolo solos and the flood of an unforgettable counter-melody in the trombone section.

The original sheet music for the piece may be viewed and studied from the Historic American Sheet Music webpage.

PBS has a wonderful biography of Mr. Sousa, a list of his compositions, and an excerpt about Stars & Stripes at A Capitol Fourth.

I wonder what the composer would have thought about this Muppet Version of his music!

You're a Grand Old Flag!

Composer George M. Cohan wrote the story line, lyrics, and music for the musical production of George Washington, Jr.. This musical, which ran during the spring of 1906 and 1907, was premiered at the Herald Square Theatre in New York City. One of the most popular songs from George Washington, Jr., "You're a Grand Old Flag", became a huge hit and set a musical record by selling over one million copies of its sheet music.

"The original lyric for this perennial George M. Cohan favorite came, as Cohan later explained, from an encounter he had with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg. The two men found themselves next to each other and Cohan noticed the vet held a carefully folded but ragged old flag. The man reportedly then turned to Cohan and said, "She's a grand old rag." Cohan thought it was a great line and originally named his tune "You're a Grand Old Rag." So many groups and individuals objected to calling the flag a "rag," however, that he "gave 'em what they wanted" and switched words, renaming the song "You're a Grand Old Flag." "

~ from Performing Arts Encyclopedia from the Library of Congress

  • Free Sheet Music for "You're a Grand Old Flag"
    Find a publication of the song from 1906 along with a few other pieces. Click on "PDF for Printing" on the left side to see the whole piece, or "Page Turner" to view individual pages.
  • It's a Grand Old Flag
    Instrumental music of the song, lyrics, and information about the US flag and Flag Day!

Yankee Doodle Dandy

George M. Cohen composed the song "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" for the musical Little Johnny Jones. It was premiered at the Liberty Theater on Broadway in November of 1904. The storyline of the musical revolves around Johnny Jones, an American horse jockey created by Cohen, and his adventures with his horse named "Yankee Doodle".

The fun, upbeat piece "borrows" several sections of other well known American songs such as good old "Yankee Doodle". Cohen not only composed the music, but also penned the lyrics, wrote the story, produced the show, and starred in it!

  • George M. Cohan 101
    Learn many fascinating facts about this energetic composer! Was he really "born on the 4th of July"? Find out about his musical family ~ Jerry, Nellie, and Josephine. They, along with George, formed "The Four Cohans" who toured the country performing
  • Yankee Doodle & I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy!
    Instrumental animation and lyrics to the two songs!
  • George M. Cohan Was Born
    Read a little blip about Cohan at America's Library.

Yankee Doodle

Did you know that the song "Yankee Doodle" was meant to be an insult to the colonial American soldiers during the American Revolution in the late 1700's?

"Yankee" ~ derived from the generic Dutch name "Jahn" (yawn) or "John" that the Dutch settlers in America called the English speaking colonists in the mid-1600's who they felt were behind in culture and education. The ending "ke" was a Dutch way of changing the name from John to Johnny ~ therefore "Jahnke" were the English settlers.

"Doodle ~ when Britain had taken over New York in the 1700's, the city folk referred to the country farmers and frontiersmen as "doodles" meaning a silly, unmannered, uneducated person.

Put the two together to come up with a term that wasn't exactly flattering!

Macaroni ~ High fashion for gentlemen in England during the time was referred to as "macaroni". The soldiers were implying that the Americans were so unstylish that their best attempt to imitate European fashions were to stuff a feather in their plain everyday hats.




America the Beautiful

Battle Hymn of the Republic

God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood

For the President of the United States of America

Sir Walter Scott first the first lyrics as a poem intitled "The Lady of the Lake". James Sanderson music was put to the poem in 1812, but it wasn't intended for the Chief Executive then. It wasn't associated with the president until 1815 when it was used as an honorary song remembering President Washington and celebrating the end of the War of 1812. Find out more about it at the link above.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Patriotic Sheet Music - Enjoy playing and singing songs of America yourself!

Do you have a favorite patriotic song that gives you national pride? - I hope my international friends will leave their choices, too!

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on September 17, 2014:

Thank you, Favored! Just listening to the these tunes, I swell with patriotic pride. I hope others enjoy them, too.

Fay Favored from USA on September 16, 2014:

I'm so pleased to see this lesson. Kids don't know these songs because they aren't being taught. Some of my finest memories in grade school are of learning songs like these in music class.

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on January 31, 2013:

@FastSecrets: Thanks! Hope it is. :)

FastSecrets on January 31, 2013:

Great lens! That is the kind of info that should be shared around the net.

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on January 03, 2013:

@DLeighAlexander: Thank you! I really love my country and the military who work hard to protect it.

DLeighAlexander on December 28, 2012:

Returning to say this is a favorite lens of mine. Thank you for paying tribute to America and to our military who fight for our freedom.

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on October 11, 2012:

@Ann Hinds: I'm glad you will be using the materials in your homeschool and hope it will be helpful. Thank you for your "blessing"!

Ann Hinds from So Cal on June 26, 2012:

Thanks for putting together this great lens. I just pinned this so we can start working on it for summer. We homeschool and this is not only a great way to learn about the music but the history behind it. Blessed.

DLeighAlexander on June 14, 2012:

This is a wonderful lens giving tribute to our great country. Thank God for America, our beautiful flag, our national anthem, and for all those courageous Americans serving our country in the military. America has been blessed greatly and we have much to be thankful to God for. May God continue to bless our great nation. Your lens is especially appropriate for today as we celebrate Flag Day with millions of American Flags flying high and proud. ... Angel Blessings

PatriotDesigns on March 08, 2012:

Amazing lens!

Adrijan on February 07, 2012:

great lens

anonymous on January 12, 2012:

well done lens! truly inspiring, I'll have to come back and visit this again before July 4 hits.

JoyfulPamela2 (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on November 09, 2011:

@waldenthreenet: Music can be so powerful on our emotions to help us remember brave loved ones. Thanks for your thoughts - hope to "talk" with you again. =D

waldenthreenet on November 08, 2011:

This is a valuable lens and topic. Thank you. I like to explore with you from a historic perspective this topic, both from the folk music traditions of the 60's ("This land is your Land, This Land is my Land" is still being sung by folk musicians today ), and also the Civil War period music. There are 100,000 Yankees and Confederates are still lay in cemetries between the Potomac River and Petersburg, VA. The Civil War cannot be forgotten. The music cannot be forgotten. I just discovered a Joan Baez Song about Dixieland that is touching and remembers the suffering that ordinary Americans had to bear in Dixieland. My Memoryland Virginia 1864 ! Thank you again. Hope we can continue this dialogue in future.

madhu2219 on November 08, 2011:

Love Vande Mataram (Indian patriotic song)- true spirit of unity!!

MyFairLadyah2 on July 05, 2011:

Not especially a patriotic song with words that may be sung

But the music of Aaron Copeland honors America with a quiet tongue

GrowWear on July 05, 2011:

Very inspiring. And thank you for the nice surprise of recommending my July 4th country music lens. Very proud to recommend Patriotic Music Lesson in kind. :)

DuaneJ on June 26, 2011:

Vaande Mataram - an Indian patriotic song :-)

lasertek lm on June 01, 2011:

great links!

Take a peek at my lens, Homeschooling 101: Guide to Free Curriculum and Other Resources.

ccorrig on May 29, 2011:

Great idea for a lens! Great read. I especially enjoyed the lessons!

Shannon from Florida on February 15, 2011:

I just love these lessons! Thank you for making this lens!

anonymous on January 31, 2011:

What a wonderful and very patriotic lens Pamela! I enjoy listening to national anthems and hope they inspire patriotism in all of us.

Jamie-Isherwood on September 22, 2010:

wow what a great lense, I have never seen any thing ever like this patriotic music lense very interesting and what a nice layout too.

I just created one on learning to play the drums

Teacher Adez7 on September 19, 2010:

If ever there was a time for this lens to go viral, it is now! What a great message to send to the world and especially to our young children about their heritage and history of this great nation!

ohcaroline on September 18, 2010:

I really enjoy hearing patriotic music. Being an American is a privilege we should never take for granted. These songs remind us what it's all about!

tandemonimom lm on September 15, 2010:

Music can add so much to a patriotic study, or any historical study! Great lens!

TheresaMarkham on September 14, 2010:

Lots of great info here! Thanks for taking the time to put it all together!

Brookelorren LM on September 11, 2010:

Great choice of songs here!

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on July 04, 2010:

Another interesting lens. Loved learning the truth about Yankee Doodle.

anonymous on July 03, 2010:

I enjoyed reading through your lens and listening to the wonderful music!! Thanks and Happy Independence Day!!

reasonablerobby on July 03, 2010:

Some great tunes here. Mind you even the English have some Rousing Music and Songs too :) such as Land of Hope and Glory, Elgar's Nimrod and The Dambusters!

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on June 18, 2010:

I love all the patriotic music. Wonderful lens and thumbs up. Lensrolling this back to my Patriotic and Fireworks Gifts lens..

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on May 31, 2010:

America the Beautiful is my favorite Patriotic song. Lensrolled with my American Flag lens. Thanks! :)

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on January 08, 2010:

I love to listen to Patriotic Music and this is a super lens. Lensrolling to my Freedom Fest lens.

HorseAndPony LM on November 25, 2009:

My daughter loves to study patriotic music.

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