Pitt to Host 'Voices Across Time' Summer Institute for K-12 Educators

Issue Date: 
January 31, 2011

Songs can be like time capsules, filled with messages from times gone by. That’s the idea behind “Voices Across Time: Teaching American History Through Song,” a summer institute for K-12 educators to be held June 27-July 29 on the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus. Teachers, school administrators, parents who homeschool, and graduate students in K-12 education have until March 1 to apply for the program. Those selected to participate will receive a $3,900 stipend to cover their costs.

“Voices Across Time” trains educators to use American music as a tool to teach young people about American history and other subjects. Funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the institute has a diverse faculty of musicologists, performers, and historians to provide educators with materials and techniques they can use to weave American music into existing curricula, allowing students to learn about the life, language, and history of the nation through music.

For example, the song Go Down, Moses can help to educate young people about slavery. Billy Joel’s Allentown can enlighten them about changing economic conditions in urban centers. And I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier, from 1915, helps students understand that war protest songs didn’t originate in the 1960s.

The institute, developed by Pitt’s Center for American Music in partnership with the Society for American Music, has been held during three previous summers at Pitt with successful results. Past participants have reported that when music was included in their class work, students responded with enthusiasm that surpassed expectations.

Those interested in applying for the institute should visit http://www.voicesacrosstime.org/Institutes/Institute.htm. For additional details, call 412-624-4100 or e-mail amerimus@pitt.edu.