History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

(In School)

A History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

Provider Type
Program Type
Audience / Populations
Integrated Curriculum
Literacy / Reading
History / Social Studies

Program Scheduling Details

Max # of Participants
1 Full Assembly Room (Gym, Auditorium, etc.)
Program Duration
45-50 minutes
Tech Requirements
Where possible, a video projector (and screen or backdrop) for Powerpoint slides is preferable.
During School Hours
a half-day (up to three classes) is $125; all day (up to six classes) is $250
Special Considerations
Prior discussion with the teacher/principal is preferable, to get a sense of how familiar the students are with the National Anthem, and whether this topic has previously been discussed in music, social science, or other classes.
Scheduling / Booking Contact
Steven Smartt
Program Activities / Description
This program includes an oral presentation, with visuals, on the history of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The presentation concludes with a performance of the National Anthem on solo trumpet, with a sing-along by the students. Content subjects include the War of 1812; the British attack on Washington in August of 1814; the subsequent attempt to take Baltimore the following month at Ft. McHenry; the role of Francis Scott Key and his front-row seat as a witness to history; the inspiration for his poem; the immediate popularity of the poem when paired with a familiar song melody; and how the song became — 117 years later — our U.S. National Anthem. Also included is a section on how to show respect for the flag during the National Anthem. A four-line poem is written for each performance. Singing the unfamiliar poem as a group to the tune of “Happy Birthday” or “Old McDonald” demonstrates how a new poem can quickly be learned using a familiar melody, as did “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A one-page educational handout, appropriate to the grade-level of the audience, is provided. Feedback from the teacher(s) is used for continuous improvement in the program.