Arts in Education

Lee Murdock’s research into the Great Lakes and the role of the waterways in setlement of North America is a natural for enhancing the study of regional history. Addressing learning outcomes in history, social science, music and language arts, Lee offers an interactive experience of music and storytelling that places history in the “first person,” and inspires listeners to visualize the history that lies on the pages of their textbooks.

This 50 minute educational presentation integrates the arts with curriculum in music, history, language arts, and environmental education, at any grade level. (Although it is ideal at the 3rd or 4th grade level in the study of local history, it can be adapted for junior high and advanced students). The program traces the history of the settlement of the Great Lakes region, including both maritime history and songs and stories about the people who settle on the Great Lakes shores. Includes songs from farming, lumber trades, shipping, building of the canals, women’s roles, family life, legends and heroes.

Some of the songs are well over 100 years old, but Lee’s fresh new arrangements reach across the years to provide a living link with the heritage of the Inland Seas.

Not all of the songs are old songs, of course. Folk music is a living, ongoing process which takes place wherever people sing and write about their most essential human feelings and beliefs. In Lee’s performances, traditional songs are complemented by the works of contemporary folk writers and by Murdock’s own finely-crafted historical ballads.

Research on these songs and stories comes from many sources: books and recordings, stories collected from family members and older adults, historical society records and museum archives. Murdock’s outstanding musicianship, combined with his knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject, will make this a memorable educational experience for children at all grade levels.

Lake Rhymes: Folk Songs of the Great Lakes Region
ISBN 978-0975866900

The CD and illustrated songbook Lake Rhymes, Folk Songs of the Great Lakes Region, was created as a study guide for Lee Murdock’s performances. Only 3000 copies were issued, and the book has gone out of print. However, Murdock makes the CD available with an E-Book, with all 148 pages scanned in high-resolution, making it even easier for teachers to share the book with its highly rated lesson plans and reproducible exercises.

The CD and EBook is also available for stand-alone purchase, at and a few used copies can be located on where it’s also possible to “Look inside the book.”

“Lee Murdock deserves a place with other great singers of folk songs for children such as Pete Seeger, Tom Glazer and Ella Jenkins.”
—School Library Journal

“As a singer, instrumentalist and historian Lee offers a presentation that is one of the best examples of interdisciplinary education I’ve seen.”
—Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 Illinois

“Thank you for coming to Lincoln Junior High School. You have brought a whole new different image of folk music to me. I think that it is pretty catchy music … The day after you came to my school I got that Erie Canal song stuck in my head and all I could think about was traveling sixteen miles on the Erie Canal.”
—Matt L, 7th grade

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