Welcome to teachwithmusic.ca

Isn’t learning so much more interesting if it comes along with a catchy beat? 

Welcome to Teach With Music, a site devoted to helping teachers who wish to use music as a teaching tool in their classrooms. 

For generations, oral histories were passed down using forms of music.  The success of these oral histories was due to the fact that the rhythms and melodies enhanced the listeners ability to memorize the material.  The message of the songs became ingrained  in the consciousness of the audience.  

As teachers, we can use this tool to embellish our own teaching practices.  It seems that somewhere along the way (through the advent of mass publishing, TV, movies, and the internet), we have somewhat abandon the concept of using music to teach (with the obvious exception of perhaps Ra Ra Rasputin, by Boney M).   Perhaps it's time for us to reinvest in this rich medium.

Music belongs in our schools.  Students of all ages thrive on music.  No other group in our society consumes as much music as they do, so it makes sense to use the their tools of pleasure to enhance their learning. 

We could tell students about a given subject until we are blue in the face, however, something changes when they hear a song about it.  Students are engaged by music, and they will retain information presented in song long after the images and words of the textbooks have dissolved from their memories.

Teach With Music  - Watch Them Come Alive!

As a reference point, a list of engaging songs and the issues the deal with are listed below.  For more in-depth information, go to the "songs" section.  My favourite songs to teach with are written in maroon text.

This is an unlinked list.  Go to the "songs" section for more detail.

Anti War / Violence
John Brown - Bob Dylan
God on Our Side - Bob Dylan
Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan
Masters of War – Bob Dylan
Cortez the Killer - Neil Young
Gulf War - Moxy Fruvous
Revolution - The Beatles

Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2

It'll Be a Long Time - Offspring
For What it's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Vietnam – Country Joe and the Fish (language warning)
Abraham, Martin, and John - Dion
Where's the Love - Black-eyed Peas (& J. T.)

Cookie Jar – Jack Johnson
Civil War – Guns and Roses
Rich Man’s War – Steve Earle
Too Many Puppies – Primus
Where Have All the Flowers Gone – Pete Seger
Universal Soldier – Donavon / Buffy Sainte-Marie
One Tin Soldier - Coven
Brother’s in Arms – Dire Straits
BYOB – System of a Down
BOOM! – System of a Down
Revolution – Tracy Chapman
Peace Train – Cat Stevens
The System has Failed – Megadeath
Bombs Over Bagdad - Outkast

Christmas in the Trenches - John McCutcheon
Franco-Unamerican - NOFX

Rationalizing War / Violence - Support the Troops
Fighting Side of Me – Merle Haggard
Ballad of the Green Beret – Barry Sadler
Good Old USA - Toby Keith

Taliban - Toby Keith (great for discussing stereotyping)
American Soldier – Toby Keith
Believe - Yellowcard
Soldier - Shawn Hlookoff

Poverty / Homeless
Keep on Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
Stranger than Fiction - Bad Religion
Punk Rock Song - Bad Religion (language)
Burned Out Car - Junk House
Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
Runaway Train – Soul Asylum

Environmental Action
Kyoto Now! - Bad Religion
Yer Not the Ocean - The Tragically Hip (written as a response to Harper’s “Clean Air Act”)
I Need To Wake Up - Melissa Etheridge
If a Tree Falls  - Bruce Cockburn
Last Frontier - The Eagles
Dreamer - Ozzy Osbourne
Excuse Me Mr. - Ben Harper
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
The Truth Comes Out – Corb Lund
How Are We Going to Save Tomorrow (The PCB Song)– Pete Seger
What’ca Gonna Do About Me - Quicksilver

Increase Awareness of Global Issues
1- Tears are not Enough - Northern Lights (get students to compare these three songs)
2- We are the World - Band-Aid
3- Do they Know it's Christmas - Band-Aid

Farmer’s Song – Neil Young
What’s a Simple Man to Do? – Steve Earle (maquiladoras)
Rocket Launcher - Bruce Cockburn (language)
Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil
It Could Be A Wonderful World – Pete Seger 
Immigrant Workforce – Bedoiun Soundclash

What It's Like – Everlast
Brick – Ben’s Fold Five
Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana (cryptic but interesting.. see write up in the "songs" section for more info)
Heart-shaped Box - Nirvana 

The Horizon has Been Defeated – Jack Johnson
What's a Simple Man to Do? - Steve Earle
Alleytown – Billy Joel
Trickle Down – Ani Defranco
Industrial Dance – Dire Straits
Telegraph Road – Dire Straits

Communism / Unions
The World isn’t Fair – Randy Newman
The People Have the Power – Patty Smith
Lisa’s Protest Song from the Simpsons
When the People Lead – Ben Harper
Which Side Are You On? – Pete Seger
Imagine – John Lennon

Amerika V 6.0 - Steve Earle

Capital Punishment
Ellis Unit One - Steve Earle
Dead Man Walking - Bruce Springsteen
Mercy Seat - Nick Cave

Plea - The Weakerthans (the real name of the song is "Plea From a Cat Named Virtue", but if you call it that... it will give away the mystery of the song)

Human Rights / Legal System
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Buffy Sainte-Marie
Hurricane – Bob Dylan
Wheat Kings - The Tragically Hip (about David Milgaard)

Canadian Shield - Sam Roberts (about Vietnam Draft Dogers)
Democracy’s Coming to the USA – Leonard Cohen

Great Nations of Europe – Randy Newman
Political Science – Randy Newman
Cortez the Killer - Neil Young
What’s a Simple Man to Do? – Steve Earle (Mexican Drug Smuggling)

Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
Don’t Drink the Water – Dave Matthews
Bullet in the Blue Sky – U2

Pier 21 – John Wort Hannam
Immigrant Workforce – Bedoiun Soundclash

History (World)
Rasputin – Boney M
Protest (Reign of Terror/Bush) – Anti-Flag
Done With Bonaparte – Mark Knopfler
Passchendaele (WWI) – Iron Maiden
Green Fields of France (WWI) – Eric Bogle
No Man’s Land (WWI) – Eric Bogle
Waltzing Matilda (WWI -Gallipoli) – Eric Bogle
Sink the Bismarck (WWII) – Johnny Horton
The War - Angels and Airwaves (D-Day)
Kenji – Fort Minor
(Japanese Internment)
Kiera’s Piano (Japanese Intern.) – James Keelehen
99 Red Balloons (Cold War) – Nena
Leningrad (Cold War) – Billy Joel 
Russians (Cold War) - Sting
Manhattan Project (Nuclear War) – Rush
We Didn’t Start the Fire (various issues)– Billy Joel
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – G. Lightfoot
Take it From Dr. King – Pete Seger
History was Made by Stupid People – Arrogant Worms
Good People (Winnipeg General Strike) – Maria Dunn
Horse Rider! Horse Rider! - Corb Lund (retrospective on the role of cavalry)
Canadian Shield - Sam Roberts (about Vietnam Draft Dogers)
Drugs - Rights / Issues
Cochise - Audioslave
Needle and the Damage Done - Neil Young
Burn One Down - Ben Harper
We Be Burning – Sean Paul
What’s a Simple Man to Do? – Steve Earle (Mexican Drug Smuggling)
Master of Puppets – Metallica
Angel – Sarah McLaughlin (about a drug overdose!)

Equality & Empowerment     
            (Race/ Religion/ Gender/ Sexual Identity/ Stereotyping)
Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley
Redemption Song – Bob Marley
Losing My Religion – REM
People Have the Power – Patti Smith
I Could Have Been You – Melissa Etheridge
Right Now – Van Halen
I Am Women – Helen Reddy
Power of Equality – Red Hot Chili Peppers (language)
Imagine – John Lennon
Misunderstood – Pink
Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron
Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil
Times Are A Changin' - Bob Dylan
We Shall Be Free - Garth Brooks
Southern Man – Neil Young
(in retaliation for this song, Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote Sweet Home Alabama)
It’s Like That – Run DMC
Mr. Cab Driver – Lenny Kravitz (language)
With My Own Two Hands (responsible citizenship) – Ben Harper
Sister Rosa Parks – The Neville Brothers
Strange Fruit – Billie Holiday

This is an unlinked list.  Go to the "songs" section for more detail.

Native History
Thanadelthur - Mike Ford
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Buffy Sainte Marie

Northwest Passage – Stan Rogers

Les Voyageurs - Mike Ford
Northwest Company - John Spearn

Acadian Driftwood – The Band

The United Empire Loyalists
United Empire Loyalists – The Evaporators

The War of 1812
The Battle of New Orleans’s – Johnny Horton
The War of 1812 – Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie
Laura Secord            Secord’s Warning – Tanglefoot

                                    Rebecca’s Lament – James Keelaghan
Tecumseh                 When Tenskwatawa Sings – Michael Longcor
                                    Tecumseh - Canadabis
The Rebellions of 1837-1838
Turn Them Ooot! - Mike Ford
La Patroite - Mike Ford

Sir John A. - Mike Ford

The Railroad
Canadian Railroad Trilogy – Gordon Lightfoot
Ribbon of Broken Dreams – John Spearn

The Flyin’ CPR – Stompin’ Tom

The Canadian Frontier / Immigration
No Roads Here – Corb Lund
Annabelle – John Wort Hannam
Five Dollar Bill – Corb Lund   
Canada Needs You - Mike Ford
Pier 21 – John Wort Hannam

Louis Riel
Red River Rising – James Keelaghan
Riel (The Batoche Campaign) – John Spearn
Louis and Gabriel - Mike Ford

World War I

Christmas in the Trenches - John McCutcheon

Roy Brown & Wop May  
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron – The Royal Guardsmen
Roy Brown & Wop May – John Spearn

Vimy Ridge      
Vimy– Tanglefoot
Creeping Barrage - Mike Ford
Ten Thousand Guns - John Spearn

World War II
Dieppe Raid                           
Nautical Disaster – The Tragically Hip
Dieppe – John Spearn


This is an unlinked list.  Go to the "songs" section for more detail.

Canadian Identity / Regionalism
I Am Canadian - Joe Canada (Jeff Daniels)
Canadian Idiot - Weird Al

Je Suis Quebecor
I Am A Newfoundlander
The Newfie Stomp
I am an Albertan
Let's Go To Canada - Five Iron Frenzy

Canadian Geography
I've Been Everywhere - Stompin' Tom Connors
I’ve Been Everywhere – Mike Ford
Oh Alberta - Elliot Brood

Industries of Canada

Fisherman's Son - John Wort Hannam
I’se the Byes that Builds the Boat

Roughest Neck Around - Corb Lund
Alberta's Crude - Tim Hus


Hillcrest Mine – James Keelaghan
Above Ground - John Wort Hannam
Eddy Fitzgerald - John Wort Hannam


Dynamite and Dozers - John Wort Hannam
Sons of the Soil – John Wort Hannam
Bud the Spud – Stompin’ Tom
Bigger Than Anywhere Else – Connie Kaldor