The Birth of Folk Music

From its origins, folk music has been the music of the working class. It is community-focused and has rarely enjoyed commercial success. By definition, it’s something that can be enjoyed by everyone, something that everyone can understand. Folk subjects include war, work, and civil rights to nonsense, parody, and love.  

Using the handout, you can write your own authentic Folk song! 

Learn new vocabulary:Blue Collar, Civil Rights, Mainstream Culture


Step 1: Look online for different Folk artists and songs. One popular Folk artist during the peak of Folk music was Woody Guthrie. 

Step 2: Analyze the music by asking yourself the following questions: What makes the music they are singing different from what we hear today? What makes the songs similar? What topics do they cover? What instruments are mainly used? Makes notes on how they sing about the topics they cover.  

Step 3: Using the handout, write the lyrics to your own Folk song using the spaces provided. Once you write them, come up with an exciting name for your new folk hit.

Group Activity: Sing your new song to your friends and family, or just show them the lyrics if you’re stage shy. What do they think of your song? Can they relate to what you wrote? Can they think of any lyrics they would want to add?

Extend Your Journey:If you are musically inclined, you can try playing traditional Folk music on an instrument of your choice, the guitar being the most common. If you are not as musical, try and find some more modern folk music that you might want to add to your own playlist. My personal favorites are The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons.