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With the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Mount Vernon and the Fairfax Network have partnered to provide schools with engaging and FREE distance learning broadcasts.

Mount Vernon Estate

George Washington’s
Mount Vernon Estate,
Museum & Gardens


Mount Vernon's Education Department Lesson Plans

American Colonist Protest Song
Students write a protest song

George Washington in Song
Students investigate the significance of “Yankee Doodle.”

Additional Resources

About Early American Music
From the Colonial Music Institute

Juba and Djembe: Music Helps Interpret Slavery
From Colonial Williamsburg

Music during George Washington's Life
Songs and music played during George Washington's lifetime

The Music of George Washington's Time
Overview of music in Early America

Songs of the Revolution
Lesson plans and activities


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Video Gallery

Watch video clips from previous programs.


History Notes: The Music of Washington’s World

April 14, 2010 · Grades 6-9 · 45 minutes

For thousands of years, music has provided history’s soundtrack. From ballads of love, songs of protest, dance tunes, and hymns of praise to operas, concertos, and rousing marches, music reflects the times and cultures in which it is created. Throughout time, the youngest children and the oldest adults have connected to music and the feelings it inspires. Music reveals history.

History Notes: The Music of Washington’s World explores the soundtrack of George Washington’s 18th century world. It was a time of amazing change—a time that saw the creation of a new nation through a revolution based on the foundation of independence in government and ideas. These ideas were highlighted and revealed through song. 

Your students will discover the music of Pre-Revolutionary America that reflects the Colonists’ growing revolt against the tyranny of England as well as the traditional songs of African slaves. They will hear music written about George Washington as well as learn the music that George Washington would have heard on the battlefields and in the ballroom. 

Join our student hosts as they travel to such 18th century sites as Gadsby’s Tavern for an 18th century ball and a conversation with General Washington; Pohick Church to hear 18th century hymns sung by the West Potomac High School Colonial Singers; and Mount Vernon where the United States Army Old Guard introduces you to music as a form of communication on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Also, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra performs concert music popular in Washington's time. Historians David Hildebrand and Larry Earl introduce students to a new understanding of 18th century America revealed through music. 

The song "War and Washington".

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Watch Online
The streaming video is provided by the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. The Virginia Chamber Orchestra has additional resources at VCO Education Programs.


Virginia Fine Arts
Standards of Learning

The student will identify similarities and differences in dance styles from various cultures and historical periods

The student will research the role of social and folk dance forms in American history

The student will identify dance as a form of expression, communication, ceremony, and entertainment

The student will investigate musical sounds, forms, styles, and genres through listening, discussing, writing, and performing

The student will investigate the role of music in society

National Standards For
Arts Education—5-8

Dance Content Standard 5
Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods

Music Content Standard 6
Students analyze the uses of elements of music in aural examples representing diverse genres and cultures

Music Content Standard 8
Students describe historical and social events and movements chronicled in or influenced by musical works

Virginia History and Social Science Standards of Learning

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the factors that shaped colonial America.

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes and results of the American Revolution.

National Social Studies and History Standards

Era 3: Standard 1A
The student understands the causes of the American Revolution.

Era 3: Standard 2C
The student understands the Revolution's effects on different social groups.