Educators Resource Materials

This section was researched and written by Lynn Arthur Koch, a vocal music teacher at Cincinnatus Central School in Cortland County, a composer and arranger of church music, and author of Folk Songs of Upstate New York, KinderFolk Music Publications, 1990.

The Education Section of this website is designed for use by a variety of people involved with teaching in many subject areas and at different levels.

Teachers of history, language arts and music will find a vast trove of material to use with many  grade levels. We have included some broad suggestions in conjunction with guidelines from the New York State Learning Standards in the above-mentioned disciplines to assist teachers in using the material appropriately and effectively.  One sample lesson plan for each discipline is provided as a suggestion as to how this material might be incorporated into the curriculum. The music itself is presented in a useful format called Scorch, which is explained here, as well as in standard PDF files.

Many of these songs and tunes survived for centuries by being shared person-to-person by word of mouth, in what is known as the ‘folk process.’ Their survival itself is indicative of the intrinsic worth of the music and poetry. They were part and parcel of daily life in the Adirondacks (and elsewhere in rural New York) throughout the first two-thirds of our nation’s history. Modern technology and changing lifestyles have long threatened the viability of these songs and tunes as an oral tradition.

We are most fortunate that people like Marjorie Lansing Porter and Frank and Anne Warner had the interest and foresight to seek out this music and record these ancient voices for us to hear. It’s up to all educators of children – parents, teachers, friends and caregivers – to bring this wonderful tradition of music to life, to make these old songs and tunes relevant to young people facing a daily barrage of technology-based information sources, and to enrich the lives of children with this vitally important part of our cultural heritage.

The following article is a general introduction to teaching folk music, written by Lynn Koch.