This school year, 10th graders at Hathaway Brown will get to deeply examine connections between music and world history throughout their curriculum.
The History-Music Collaboration began as a pilot project in 2014-2015 to enable students to dive deeper into the content in a meaningful and experiential way. In this collaboration, students will see firsthand how arts and culture can help tell the story of world history.
The program, funded in part by a catalyst grant, enables students to dive deeper into content in a meaningful and experiential way, seeing firsthand how arts and culture help tell the story of world history. Providing students with opportunities and skills needed to see the connections between different disciplines increases their understanding and inspires further exploration.
- The Industrial Revolution (Beethoven, Romanticism, the effects of the politics of the time and Napoleon, and the creation of new instruments)
- The Russian Revolution (Stalin, the dictator vs. Shostakovich, the composer)
- The Holocaust (Violins of Hope and The Children of Willesden Lane)
Students will explore the material in class and are given opportunities to increase their understanding outside of the classroom for a more personal and poignant lesson. This includes book readings, special guest visits, and field trips to museum exhibitions, and concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra.
Each intersection point includes book readings, special guest visits, field trips, museum exhibitions, and concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra, to help tell the story of music’s role in history and history’s role in music.
Upper School World History Teacher Libby Stineman will teach the course with Primary and Upper School Music Teacher Laura Webster, who will weave in musical connections throughout the individual units.
Both alumnae of Hathaway Brown School (Stineman [née Seidel] – 2003, Webster [née Main] – 1991), have personally benefited from passionate HB teachers who forced us to think deeper about the material. As educators, their goals are to spark conversation, make connections between culture and politics that often go unrecognized, and most importantly, cultivate a deep engagement in the study and love of history and music.
Testimonials from pilot program students:
“Connecting music to the history I was learning about really helped me gather a better understanding of the culture, as well as the conflicts we discussed in class,” said Alex Wiebe ’17, who took the course last year. “Composers, Shostakovich specifically, responded to the tough times they were presented with by writing music to reflect their current situation. As someone with a deep understanding for music, this helped me connect to the issues of the time.”
"I liked this [Holocaust] unit because I learned a lot about the Holocaust that I did not know before. I thought that the way they used music and propaganda was interesting,” Bridget Leneghan ’17, who took the course last school year. “The [Children of Willesden Lane] book gave a lot of details about the lives of children. IT was important to see how the families felt. I liked Lisa's story because it was personal. Many of the children in the book were our age during the war. I think that all the things we talked about gave us a better understanding of life during WWII."
Stay tuned to the HBlog for updates from the course throughout the school year!