Who’s ready for a 15-Minute Music Lesson on Hamilton the Musical? This one is for elementary students (although everyone will love it). See the lesson before this one that’s focused on upper grades: Hamilton the Musical Projects for Teens.
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15-Minute Music Lesson on Hamilton the Musical
Warning: Let me start with a caveat for those of you who aren’t familiar with Hamilton the Musical. This musical isn’t written for children, it has lots of profanity (which is worse in the stage version and soundtrack than the version streaming on Disney +), and has adult themes such as adultery, war, and murder (through duels). I will only post videos below that do not have any of these elements. However, the second video does mention that Alexander Hamilton’s cousin committed suicide.
This first video gives a synopsis of the musical Hamilton in 3 minutes. Lin-Manuel Miranda (who performs here) is the author and composer of Hamilton the Musical. He was also the first to play the role of Alexander Hamilton in it on Broadway.
Download a free printable to use with this lesson below.
Who is Alexander Hamilton?
The first song in the musical, “Alexander Hamilton,” gives some background to this man who now has an entire musical written about him. Notice how there is rapping mixed back and forth with singing. Try sitting on the floor when you hear rapping (speaking in rhythm), sitting on a chair when you hear singing all on one pitch, and standing when you hear lyrical singing–a melody with different pitches.
Next, I want you to listen to the same song “Alexander Hamilton” again, reading the lyrics on the screen of the video if you can. (By the way, I didn’t create this video. I’m so sorry that there are a number of misspellings and a few incorrect lyrics, but it’s still good enough and cleaned up so I wanted to post it.)
Write a list of 10 things you learn about Alexander Hamilton’s childhood before he arrived in America. (See the end of the lesson for some suggested answers.)
After listening to “Schuyler Sisters,” answer these questions: (answers are at the end of this lesson)
- What city do they live in?
- What historical document do they refer to?
- Who wrote it?
- What line do they quote from it?
- What book is Angelica reading?
“You’ll Be Back”
“You’ll Be Back” is sung by King George and is purposely in a different style than the other songs in the musical. Since King George is British, not American, his song is in a British pop style, reminiscent of the Beatles, and contains no hip-hop, rap, or jazz, like most of the songs sung by “Americans” in the show.
Let’s end our 15-Minute Music Lesson on Hamilton the Musical with this beautiful song sung by two fathers: “Dear Theodosia.” Aaron Burr sings to his daughter Theodosia, and Alexander Hamilton sings to his son Philip.
What are some things they say to their children?
Write a list of 10 things you learn about Alexander Hamilton’s childhood before he arrived in America. Here are some suggested answers: son of a Scotsman, from the Caribbean, grew up in poverty and squalor, grew up without a father, was sick with the same disease as his mother–she died of it, worked hard, was a self-starter, moved in with a cousin, worked as a clerk, at age 14 was placed in charge of a trading charter, read every book he could get his hands on, lived through a devastating hurricane, wrote a poem about that hurricane, a collection was taken up to send him to America (New York) to get an education.
- What city do they live in? New York City
- What document do they refer to? The Declaration of Independence
- Who wrote it? Thomas Jefferson
- What line do they quote from it? “We hold these truths to be self-evident
That all men are created equal”
- What book is Angelica reading? Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Get a Free Printable to Use with the 15-Minute Music Lesson for Hamilton the Musical
- Intro to Musicals online course for elementary students
- Top Ten Musicals to Watch with Younger Kids
- Why You’ll Love the “American Music for Elementary” course
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