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Northeast Times | October 20, 2021

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University of Pittsburg to Host “Voices Across Time” Summer Institute for K-12 Educators

University of Pittsburg to Host “Voices Across Time” Summer Institute  for K-12 Educators

Local 4th Grade Teacher, Lorraine Ramos, from Bellaire Elementary in HEBISD will join teachers from across the United States to learn how to use American music as a teaching tool.

“From immigration to work and from wars to life at home, songs can be like time capsules” as Institute co-director Deane Root describes them. That’s the idea behind “Voices Across Time: Teaching American History Through Song,” a Summer Institute for Teachers funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and The Center for American Music. This is the sixth year for this institute to be offered since 2004. Each year, NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Hundreds of teachers at schools across the United States have applied for this intensive five-week program but only 25 were chosen to participate in this summer.

Voices Across Time was created to help teachers harness the power of song as primary source to supplement any American Social Studies, Language Arts, and Music curriculum. Aided by historians, musicologists, and teaching performers, Summer Scholars strengthen their skills as historians and develop innovative strategies to integrate music into their teaching. Students learn about the life, language, and history of their nation through the lens of music. The songs are appropriate to enhance discussion of any major holiday or historical anniversary. “They help us understand the lives of the people who created, performed, and consumed them. Songs help us understand our history and each other. As we look forward to our next Institute we thank everyone who has helped us make them such wonderful experiences.” Wrote Mariana Whitmer, Ph.D., Project Co-Director.
During this six-week Institute, scholars will expand upon the materials and concepts of the resource guide, exploring topics in American music through the lens of music from two distinct yet complementary angles. First, analysis of popular songs as primary source documents offers fresh material to enrich the understanding of social studies and language arts. Second, field trips and authentic performances offer a uniquely engaging evocation of an historical context.