Classroom Activities: 

Home      Elementary      Middle School      High School

American Sheet Music Published in America, 1870-1885

Lesson Overview

Overview: Using primary source information, the students will learn about American Sheet Music from the years 1870-1885. The students will view examples of how printed music was produced as well as see the copies of that music from the time period. Students will analyze the differences in publishing styles by visual recognition. Audio samples from the time period will also be used to help students understand how music was being performed in the time period.
Grade Range: 9-12
Objective: After completing this activity students will be able to:
  • Recognize a particular work as early American Sheet Music.
  • Recognize differences in how that music was produced/written/copied/recorded.
  • Be able to compare it to present day methods and be able to discuss what visually is different about sheet music production of today. 
Time Required: Four class periods of 40 minutes
Discipline/Subject: High School Music Theory
Topic/Subject: Performing Arts, Music
Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900



Illinois Learning Standards:
Common Core Standards:

                                   5. Reading and notating music.
                                   6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
                                   7. Evaluating music and music performances.
                                   9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture. 



Analysis Tools: American Sheet Music Analysis Worksheet (available on PDF)
Rubric: American Sheet Music Analysis Grading Rubric (available on PDF)
PowerPoint Slides: Available on PDF
Library of Congress Items: Music for a Nation Introduction
  Friends from the Stephen Foster Era
Other: Smart Board of LCD Projector



1. Present the PowerPoint presentation that discusses the history of the Library of Congress Music Section. Library of Congress Items
2. Present students with guidelines for the analysis project. Information is contained in the PowerPoint presentation. Analysis Tool
3. Present the Friends of Stephen Foster Sample presentation. Sample presentation only includes history and one song analysis. You may choose to complete more samples if you desire. Library of Congress Items
4. Allow students to work on project in class for as long as you deem necessary to complete the project.  
5. Student's present their findings to the class.  
6. Assess the student's quality of work with the included assessment rubric. Rubric



Student learning will be evaluated by completion of the presentation in class by the guidelines outlined in the grading rubric.