Quaver uses Music to Bring History to Life

Celebrating Black History Month Beautifully

By Kristin Clark Taylor

“ … Like a bird without wings”

At the heart of history itself sits a creative force that helps us embrace our collective past on a deeply human level: Music.

Music, then, helps us understand and appreciate history on a deeply human level.

We know, for example, that music and song helped guide and galvanize the nation during the Civil Rights Movement.

Congressman John Lewis once said, “If it hadn’t been for music, the Civil Rights Movement would’ve been like a bird without wings.”

Music gives us wings, indeed.

By using songs, lyrics, and living lessons to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of black Americans everywhere, QuaverMusic is creating a learning environment where the wings of history can continue to soar.   

If you’re looking for a single resource that will allow you to touch the depths and roots of black history while soaring to its highest heights simultaneously, then you’ve found your resource right here.  

Here are a few of the lessons and songs that will help bring Black history to life in your classroom.

Let’s click on ClassPlay and let history unfold:

“We Shall Overcome”

Take your students back to one of the most enduring songs of the Civil Rights movement, “We Shall Overcome” — as hopeful and healing today as the day it was first performed.

Teach your students more about the history, lyrics, and living legacy of the song itself.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Click on ClassPlay and explore every aspect of this inspiring favorite that moved and motivated the nation. A sampling of what you’ll find:

  • “About the Song” – The history, lyrics, music, and legacy of the song itself. Listen to the lyrics and even discuss their significance!
  • “About the Music” – Meet the performers, learn more about the gospel music traditions, and delve into how music was used to move an entire nation to action.
  • Printables – Print the lyrics, the score, and the individual parts, or create fun and engaging worksheets for your students!
  • “Piano Performance” – Watch a moving piano performance and respond to what you see and hear!  

He Had a Dream”

A Quaver creation, already inspiring millions of students across the USA, that teaches us more about the famous speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Also available: “Welcome to He Had a Dream”

A very useful primer that offers guidance on how best to use “He Had a Dream” in your classroom. Includes an overview, objectives, and key words to help guide your teaching journey.

The purpose: To learn about the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and understand how he inspired the composition of the song “He Had a Dream.”


Indeed, Black history is deeply rooted in music and music is deeply rooted in the Quaver curriculum – a perfect and powerful combination that offers teachers the opportunity to share and celebrate this essential part of our nation’s history – not just in February, but throughout the year.

Music is the medium through which we can teach – and touch! – history in a way that resonates with our students at a deeply emotional level.

But music is more than just a medium.

World-class trumpeter Louis Armstrong once described it on a far more expansive scale:

“Music is life itself.”

Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.

For more QuaverMusic lessons and songs celebrating Black history, go to Resource Manager. Under “Holidays, Seasons, and Celebrations” in the Topic Index, find “Black History Month” and explore the various songs, lessons, and screens.


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