Singing Songs of Social Significance: Children's Music and Leftist Pedagogy in 1930s America

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In their shared goal of communicating left-wing principles to children through music, Marc Blitzstein's Worker's Kids of the World (1935), Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane (1937), and Alex North's The Hither and Thither of Danny Dither (1941) exhibit a fundamental unity of purpose that binds them both to each other and to the extensive leftist pedagogical efforts of their time. By observing the parallel relationship among these three children's works and contemporary youth organizations, summer camps, and children's literature, their cultural objectives and stylistic idiosyncrasies emerge as expressions of a continuously evolving educational tradition. Whereas Worker's Kids comes out of ... continued below

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Haas, Benjamin D. December 2008.

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  • Haas, Benjamin D.

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In their shared goal of communicating left-wing principles to children through music, Marc Blitzstein's Worker's Kids of the World (1935), Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane (1937), and Alex North's The Hither and Thither of Danny Dither (1941) exhibit a fundamental unity of purpose that binds them both to each other and to the extensive leftist pedagogical efforts of their time. By observing the parallel relationship among these three children's works and contemporary youth organizations, summer camps, and children's literature, their cultural objectives and stylistic idiosyncrasies emerge as expressions of a continuously evolving educational tradition. Whereas Worker's Kids comes out of the revolutionary Communist aesthetics of the Composers' Collective and the militant activism of The Young Pioneers, The Second Hurricane and Danny Dither reflect the increasingly accommodating educational efforts of the American Popular Front.

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  • December 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 9, 2009, 2:31 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2009, 11:36 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Haas, Benjamin D. Singing Songs of Social Significance: Children's Music and Leftist Pedagogy in 1930s America, thesis, December 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9777/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .