Education Activity Suggestions:

Students should review the Rock and Roll Beat exhibit before completing any of the following assignments. Students may work in groups or individually.


Option One:

A Presidential campaign’s efforts to energize voters does not end with speeches and rallies; rather, many campaigns have a theme song that is played at their events to further boost morale. For President Clinton, his campaign chose Fleetwood Mac’s song “Don’t Stop”. In this group activity, students will select three songs used by Presidential candidates of past or current elections and analyze the ways in which the song would or would not energize voters. Student groups should select three reasons to support their conclusions for each song and present their findings to the class. 

Teacher resource: Trax on the Trail  

Extension Activity/Informed Action Component:

Once students have identified those elements that make a successful campaign song, student groups should set out to write a campaign song of their own. After selecting a local candidate who is running for office, students will write their own song that addresses the campaign goals listed on the candidate’s website. The songs can use existing melodies or the students can create their own. When completed, the students should present their song to the class. 


Option Two:

During President Clinton’s eight years in office, many musicians from a wide array of personal and musical backgrounds were invited to the White House. Students should research these artists before selecting 3-5 of them and writing a paragraph for each artist that addresses the reasons that President Clinton invited them. 

Extension Activity/Informed Action Component:

Students will consider popular artists today and choose one that they believe should be invited to the White House. Students should write a letter to the White House to formally recommend their choice. The letter will address why they think the artist should be invited, what the student thinks they should perform, and if the artist would be considered controversial. 


Option Three:

From time to time, President Clinton would bring out his saxophone and join performing artists on the stage. For many, the President’s playing an instrument seemed novel at the time; however, President Clinton was not the only President to play a musical instrument. Students should conduct research on one such President and learn about how they came to learn to play a musical instrument, if they wrote any original pieces, and if possible find a recording of the President playing. Students will present their findings to the class. 

Extension Activity/Informed Action Component:

Students will consider the issue of music education in the nation and consider whether or not additional funding should be set aside for it. Students will conduct research on the benefits of music in the classroom before penning a letter to their state representatives informing them of their findings and recommendations.