John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was one of 10 children going to a family of Portuguese and German immigrants in Washington DC in 1854. His father played the trombone in the US Marine band and was Sousa’s role model in music study. Sousa learned the violin when he was six. During Sousa’s lifetime, he spent 20 … Continue reading John Philip Sousa

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was a poet who was born in Indiana countryside in the mid-nineteenth century. He wasn’t a very good student because he preferred to be outside reading books he chose creating rhymes and walking in his neighborhood. He quit school when he was 20 and did all sorts of strange charms from … Continue reading James Whitcomb Riley

James Abbott McNeil Whistler

James Abbott McNeil Whistler (1834-1903) was an American artist who first developed an interest in art as a child living in Russia. Whistler was born in Massachusetts, but his family moved to Russia when he was eight years old. He returned to the United States in 1849 after his father died. Since his art career … Continue reading James Abbott McNeil Whistler

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was born in West Africa and came to the New World on a slave ship. She was both purchased and eventually freed by Boston commercialist John Wheatley. Phillis was part of a group of refugee slaves who were too young or frail for rigorous labor. She did housework for the Wheatleys. They … Continue reading Phillis Wheatley

Justin Morgan and Isaac Watts

During the colonial period, there was a lot of work to do everywhere, and people worked very long hours every day, though most tried to rest on Sunday. Even on the day of rest, there was still the work of feeding both people and animals. Justin Morgan’s life was no different. He was born in … Continue reading Justin Morgan and Isaac Watts

George Gershwin

George Gershwin, 1898-1937, was one of the most well-known pianists in history. He turned out an enormous amount of music before his life was cut short by a brain tumor. Lucky for us, he was one of the first musicians for whom we have recorded video of him playing. While you can probably find better … Continue reading George Gershwin

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is a poet of the Harlem Renaissance who portrayed the lives of ordinary, working-class African Americans. He was the first African American poet to earn his entire living from his writing and speaking. He has all sorts of poems depicting life in his time. You can read more about Langston Hughes here: … Continue reading Langston Hughes

Winslow Homer Picture Study

Winslow Homer (February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910) painted landscapes and made prints. Often he used his working vacations to produce new art in either oil paint or in watercolors. Eventually, he was employed as a commercial illustrator for popular magazines. Homer studied art on his own, and he developed new skills and techniques. You … Continue reading Winslow Homer Picture Study

Adding Beauty: Music Appreciation

I’ve had people tell me that “Classical music is boring and pretentious.” I strongly disagree. Actually, when I’ve been told this, I’ve asked, “What classical music have you listened to?” Typically, the person declaring that classical music is boring has rarely listened to it. So, how do we grow a love for this source of … Continue reading Adding Beauty: Music Appreciation