Folk songs used to top the lists of school music classes. Now it’s rare to find a student who has even heard many of our country’s folk songs. Why not celebrate them in a recital?

This is my second article in a series of ideas from my sister Vicky Dresser, maker of magical music recitals.  And as I’ve shared hers, I’ve gotten a few of my own. You’ll probably think up even more as you read. I invite you to share them with MTH readers in the comments below.

Organize Songs by Type or Genre:

  • Old colonial Times
  • River songs and Sea Chanteys
  • Spirituals
  • Wartime songs
  • Novelty songs
  • Camp songs
  • Old time religion
  • Mountain music
  • The old west
  • Patriotic songs
  • Good old folk tunes (plain and fancy)
  • Hi-brow
  • Modern folk
  • Mining songs from the gold rush

This type of recital practically begs for variety. [···]

Read More


For Christmas, I bought my husband a set of Conga drums. He was really excited, since this is something he has always wanted to do. The catch is that he is not a musician, and I agreed to teach him. Let me tell you it is hard to teach your family! I’ve only tried this once long, long ago with my sister and it was a disaster. It is so easy to show your frustration in this situation both as a teacher and a student. Luckily, I had that experience with my sister in my memory when we had our first lesson. Sure enough, he became super impatient super fast. Much faster than most of my students. I wasn’t surprised. He is very comfortable with me, so it makes sense that he would be comfortable letting his frustrations be known. The most important thing for me to do was to take several (quiet) deep breaths and tell myself over and over again that it’s hard to be in such a vulnerable position in front of someone you love. This helped me to stay patient with him. I will admit, it was very annoying at first, but once he became confident on a drum beat I showed him, we were able to jam out a song while I played the piano! What a great way to spend time together! If you have a close friend or family member who wants lessons, try it out, but just mentally prepare yourself of all the annoying things that are going to happen. There is no way around it and you are going to have to take the lead as the patient one in the duo. Good luck!

Read More