Ford said those attending the institute will study songs as primary source documents and analyze how culture influences American music and vice versa. Participants will also take music-related field trips, including one to Gettysburg to study Civil War music and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ford said the institute, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be conducted by music professors and historians. All types of American music will be covered, Ford said, everything from spirituals to jazz all the way up to hip hop.
“I’m so excited,” Ford said, because the institute will give her greater insight into American music that she can then share with her students. Ford said she will also be giving workshops on what she learns to her fellow teachers, particularly language arts and social studies, so that they can integrate the information into their curriculums.
Ford said her students already make some associations between music and their other subjects. “They sometimes make a connection between a story they’re reading in language arts and the music we’re talking about,” she said.
Teachers across the country applied to attend the five-week institute, and Ford was one of only 25 selected. The institute will begin July 7.
Ford said the institute is going to take up a lot of her summer but she thinks it will certainly be worth her time. “It’s just such a valuable opportunity,” she said.
Ford was named 2008 West Virginia General Musical Teacher of the Year at the West Virginia Music Educators Conference, as well as the 2008 Hancock County Teacher of the Year.
Anne Ford (right) is presented with a plaque for being named 2008 West Virgnia General Music Teacher of the Year by Martina Norman, president of the West Virginia Society for General Music. Ford was selected to attend a five-week institute at the University of Pittsburgh this summer entitled Voices Across Time - the Study of American History Through Music. (Submitted photo)