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Music and Messages from the Past: Tuning into History

Susie Burroughs (Mississippi State University)
Dwight Hare (Mississippi State University)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 1 July 2008

Issue publication date: 1 July 2008



For many students, studying history is a boring and irrelevant endeavor. Traditional, teacher-centered teaching strategies contribute to this unfortunate reality. While the lecture method and textbook readings can and should be used in the teaching of history, these methods should not be used to the exclusion of student-centered, engaging strategies. One strategy which has been theorized to motivate and instruct students is the use of popular music in the classroom. The following paper examines the use of popular music in the history classroom and the various ways in which its use can engage, motivate, and instruct students. It is suggested that the use of popular music can serve to capture students’ attention, create a positive classroom atmosphere, introduce and illustrate a time and place, generate interest in history, and enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of history, specifically that of the Vietnam War and the era surrounding it.


Burroughs, S. and Hare, D. (2008), "Music and Messages from the Past: Tuning into History", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 68-78.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Publishing Limited

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